Lunar and Planetary Institute

Activities about Impacts and Craters

Impact Craters--Holes in the Ground!
This lesson allows students to create impact craters in plaster of Paris or layered dry materials. They perform controlled experiments by varying the velocity or mass of an object and observing and measuring the effects.

Searching for Meteorites
Water balloons filled with flour and pebbles help students model the distribution of materials after meteorite impacts. The flour simulates the ejected crater material and the pebbles represent the meteorite fragments. Students will use the model to
draw conclusions about where it would be easiest to find meteorites.

Crater Hunters
After viewing images of craters on other planets, the Moon, and Earth, students will locate impact craters on Earth using longitude and latitude and various maps. Students will locate potential sites of impacts, and plan the necessary research to verify their observations.

Mud Splat Craters
Students observe crater formation in mud and identify the distinctive features of impact sites.

What Can Craters Tell Us About a Planet
Students examine images of Martian craters and speculate about what caused them, then they model the formation of an impact crater, examining the effects of each impact and the features each impact creates. Student create hypotheses to try to explain a feature not seen in their models, a mud-flow-like ejecta blanket.