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Moon Craters Lab

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Keywords: moon craters, digital camera use, podcasting, scientific method
Subject(s): Technology, Podcasting, Writing, Information Skills, Photography, English/Language Arts, Science, Math
Grades 3 through 12
School: J. B. Wilmeth Elementary School, McKinney, TX
Planned By: Robin Keating
Original Author: Robin Keating, McKinney
1. In a plastic shoe box, layer about 10cm of flour. Lightly pat it smooth using the back side of a spoon.
2. Lightly coat it with cocoa powder. This allows the depth of the crater to be seen more easily.
3. Students need to find the length, width, and mass of a rock (have a variety of sizes available). Tie a string around the rock to make it easier to remove it from the flour once it has been dropped.
4. One student will hold a measuring stick even with the surface of the floor. Another student will find 5cm on the stick and will drop the rock from that height. Record the depth of the crater. Do this three times, and find the mean of the measures.
5. Repeat step 4 from a height of 10cm and again from 100cm.
6. Students need to make a data table/chart to record the depth of the crater from each height.
7. Students need to make a graphic representation (graph) of their data.
8. Students will draw a conclusion about the relationship between the height of the drop point and the depth of the crater.
9. Take many photos of each group as they are progressing through each step of the scientific method.
10 Create a power point presentation or use photo story3 to create a "movie" of the students conducting this lab.
11. Students write the narration for the pictures and them record it.
12. Post it as a podcast on the school/teacher's website or download it to a ipod/mp3 player for students to watch during station work or freetime.
13. Share it with parents during open-house.

Interesting notes/pitfalls:
This is a messy activity. Flour pretty much gets out of the box.
Lots of room for oral language development and "communicating scientifically".
They all seemed to want to stand on the tables and drop the rock from their full raised-arm height down to the shoebox on the floor to see the depth of the crater it would make.
They were very motivated to produce an informative "movie" so it was a sneaky way to practice expository writing with science curriculum!
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Can do this with any concept in any curricula area---just let students write and create what they want to teach to others.
Materials: Digital Cameras, Digital Voice Recorders, MP3 Players, Microphones, Microscopes, Computer Accessories, Power, Keyboards, Mice, Flash/USB Drives, English/Language Arts, Reading, Literacy, Writing, Math, Elementary, Middle, High, Science, ESL, Word Processor, Podcasting, Keyboarding, Web Page, Integrating Technology