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How-To DIY STEM at Home: Crater Time!

Ever wonder how the moon got all the dents and craters in it? Let’s find out! 

STEM At Home

CAUTION: Mess Express! The experiment has the potential to be messier that other experiments, but is so worth it! 

Tip: This is a good activity to do outside. 

Experiment Materials: 

  • Flour 
  • Cocoa Powder 
  • Large Rectangular Baking Dish (About 2 inches deep is best) 
  • Paper towel tube 
  • Meteors (These could be: Bouncy ball, rock, golf ball, etc.) 

Crater Time Materials

Experiment:

Step 1: Fill the baking dish about 1 inch deep with flour. Making sure to make a flat even surface. 

  • Tip: You can gently shake the baking dish back and forth to help to even out the surface. 

Step 2: Cover the surface of the flour with a thin layer of cocoa powder so that no white shows. 

Step 3: If you prepped the backing dish on a table, gently move the baking dish to the floor in an area you do not mind getting dirty. Try not disturb the cocoa powder and flour. 

Step 4: Standing above the baking dish hold the paper towel tube at a slight angle to create a ramp. Place a “meteor” in the tube and let the “meteor” fall into the baking dish.  

Step 5: Repeat step 4 3-4 times with different sized “meteors” and trying to aim them into different places with in your baking dish. 

Step 6: Gently remove the “meteors” from their “impact craters” in the baking dish. Trying not to get your fingers in the flour.  

  • Tip: This might be a step for an adult or older sibling. 

Step 7: Examine your “impact craters.”  Are some bigger than others? What happened to the flour around your craters? 

Science Behind It: In space there are bits of dust, rock and ice that have been left behind by comets and asteroids. These are what we call meteoroids. Meteoroids can range in size from a speck of dust to just smaller than an asteroid. When meteoroids drift close enough to a planetary body’s gravity they become meteors. As they travel through our planet’s atmosphere, they leave a trail of light, this is what we call shooting stars. Sometimes the meteors will hit a planetary body, when this happens, they form an impact crater. An impact crater is a round, bowl shaped indentation often surrounded by a ring, that is made when a meteor hits a planet, moon, or other space body. Often a meteor will explode on impact, leaving nothing but the impact crater behind.  

Share your results and pictures with us! #portdiscovery

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We hope our at-home play ideas have been helpful to you! If you are able, please support Port Discovery Children’s Museum by renewing your membership, purchasing a gift membership for someone, or making a contribution of financial support.

Port Discovery's At Home Play Tips & Resources is generously sponsored by M&T Bank

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