Investigating earth and moon surface impact craters gas news australia


This activity is appropriate for an upper intermediate (Gr.5) class of 20- 30 students working in small groups of 3-5. The physical experiment could also be done as a demonstration with the differentiated worksheets given to the appropriate groups. It has been prepared as a differentiated lesson in which 3 levels of academic learning are challenged. ELL students would most benefit from the middle or average group worksheet as they would neither move too fast or too slowly for a child with limited understanding of scientific terms in English, but can converse fairly well with peers. (See lesson activity description). It could also be given as a take-home activity for independent experimenting. From beginning to end, the class would need no less than 50 minutes. This includes the clean-up and a short wrap-up discussion before worksheets are turned in. The last part of the worksheet (further investigations) could be done in another class period or as a take-home / extra credit assignment. Pre-planning and preparations are necessary to be certain all lab materials are available and students are in predetermined ability groups.

As Earth’s nearest neighbor in space, the moon was the first object in the Solar System that people studied. They observed that the moon’s surface was very different from the Earth’s surface. One difference was the large number of craters on the moon. In this investigation you will make a model of the moon’s surface and perform an experiment to infer how the moon’s craters were formed. In your experiment you will find out how the height from which a marble is dropped (representing the speed of the object) onto a soft surface affects the size of the impression it makes.

• Carefully remove the marble and, with the smaller ruler, measure the outer width of the impression in the flour paste. Record your measurements on your Experiment Data sheet. Move the meter stick to a new spot and do steps 4 and 5 two more times. Average the three trials and record the average on your data table.

Impact Craters: Differentiated Experiment Worksheet X/High (Microsoft Word 42kB Jun1 11) Impact Craters: Differentiated Experiment Worksheet Y/Middle (Microsoft Word 43kB Jun1 11) Impact Craters: Differentiated Experiment Worksheet Z/Low (Microsoft Word 45kB Jun1 11) Student Instructions for Activity (Microsoft Word 27kB Jun1 11) Teaching Notes and Tips

• This flour paste is made from white flour and water. Use a ratio of 1 cup flour to 1/2 cup water. This is an extremely gooey mixture. Try using more flour for a firmer paste. The original directions were to have the kids mix the flour and water right in the pan, but I prefer to do this ahead of time. It is necessary to coat the surface well with flour so the marbles can be easily retrieved. I have not tried it, but a plastic spoon onto which the marble can be rolled may work better than young fingers plucking out the marble and consequently further pushing it into the paste. Also, instead of flour paste, some modeling clay could possibly be used, but I have not tried this.

• Expansions on this: Demonstrate or have students drop the marble into very watery flour paste and move the pan around simulating weathering on earth. They could also drop the marble into a cup of water showing that no impact craters are left on Earth’s ocean surface. Simulating an object’s trip through the atmosphere could be done by rolling the marble down a paper tube at different angles, then measuring the impact (could be hard to measure any differences). I have not tried these ideas, but they are mine.

There could be a lot of different things going on in the classroom at one time and kids are bound to compare worksheets, especially if frustrated. Larger groups may help, but 5 is the upper limit. If not using the differentiated worksheets (Experiment Data Form), I recommend using the middle group (Y) page as it is closest to what I would expect from a 5th grade class.