Stem Challenge: Moon Craters Challenge

Tomorrow 5/7 is National Space Day, and we are going to do a space-themed STEM and sensory activity for this week’s #CMMSSTEMChallenge! In this activity, we are going to see how craters on the moon are created using household ingredients. As an extra bonus, you can play with the cloud dough that we are going to create after the initial experiment. It will last up to a week if you store it in an airtight container!

Visit our blog every Thursday to see our latest STEM challenge and share your creations on social media using #CMMSSTEMChallenge or by emailing marketing@childrensmanor.com. Be sure to submit your photos to us by Monday, May 10, 2021!


To make cloud dough:

      • 4 cups of flour
      • 1/2 cup of baby oil (can substitute any kind of oil for the baby oil – for example, vegetable oil, but please note that the dough will smell of vegetable oil.)
      • Round cake pan
      • NOTE: If you would not like to make cloud dough, you can try using playdough and pressing the rocks into the dough to create different sized craters.

Other materials:

      • Small pebbles or rocks that are different in size and weight. You can also use small balls or other objects.
      • Towel or sheet (if conducting experiment indoors)
      • Ruler
      • Moon Crater Challenge Worksheet
        1. To begin, print out our Moon Crater Challenge Worksheet, and collect the materials listed above.
        2. Combine the flour and the oil and mix together in a round cake pan to create your cloud dough to use for your experiment. You may want to lay down a towel or sheet under the pan if you are going to do this experiment inside!
        3. Trial #1 – To begin we are going to drop three different mass rocks from the same height. You can try dropping from the height of your knee, chest or head! Your choice!
        4. After dropping the rocks, measure the depth of each crater in centimeters and the distance the rocks traveled after each impact. Record your results on the data chart.
        5. Trial #2 – Repeat the above sequence with your rocks from different heights for each rock. Record your observations and measurements on the chart and compare your results from Trial #1.

Why do you think the crater size, depth, and distance changed based on the height and size of the rocks? It all has to do with mass! The greater the mass of the impactor (rocks), the greater the size of the crater. Our rocks in this experiment represent meteorites in space. A meteorite is a rock, iron, and/or icy body that hits another body in space. The Earth’s atmosphere causes most meteors that are headed our way to burn up before they can hit our planet. The moon doesn’t have an atmosphere to protect it from meteors. Because the moon doesn’t have an atmosphere there is also no wind on its surface, so craters and even astronauts’ footprints from 40 years ago are still there!

We can’t wait to see your results! Don’t forget to send your photos of your results to marketing@childrensmanor.com by Monday, May 10th!

Activity Credit: I Can Teach My Child