


This material was developed for the Live From Mars project
by Passport to Knowledge. Live
From Mars was a precursor to Mars Team Online.
Name__________________________ 
Date__________________ 
Activity 3.2  STUDENT WORKSHEET
Impact Cratering
Materials: (for each team of 3/4 students)
 Images of craters on Mars, Earth, and Moon
 Box, lined with trash bag, with sides at least 4 inches high (lid
to
 photocopier paper boxes is perfect)
 Flour to fill box to ~3" deep
 Three balls of the same size, about 1", of differing weight (e.g.
a ball
 bearing, a wooden ball, and a Styrofoam ball)
 Three marbles of different size
 2 dark colors of dry tempera paint, e.g. purple and green  you will
need 2
 colors besides the white flour
 Metric ruler
 Safety goggles (one for each student)
 Scale to weigh projectiles, or known weight of projectiles
 Meter stick
 Plant sprayer (optional part)
 Plastic shovels or cups (for scooping flour)
Part 1: Formation of Impact Craters
How Mass Affects Impact Craters
Procedure:
[Note: If a scale is not available and the mass is unknown, just use numbers
to rank the masses, e.g. 1,2,3 for the light, medium, and heaviest masses.]
 Fill the tray with flour, about 3" deep.
 Smooth the flour out with the meter stick or ruler, sprinkle a thin
layer of tempera paint on top, enough to cover the flour.
 Fill in the mass of each object in the table below, ask your teacher
the mass of each object or weigh it yourself if scales are available.
 Drop your first ball into the box, measure the distance across the
crater, which is called the diameter, and record it in the chart.
 Smooth the flour out with the meter stick or ruler, sprinkle a thin
layer of tempera on top, enough to cover the flour.
 Drop the second ball into the flour, measure the diameter of the crater,
and record it in the chart.
 Smooth the flour out with the meter stick or ruler, sprinkle a thin
layer of tempera on top, enough to cover the flour.
 Drop the third ball into the last area, measure the diameter of the
crater, and record it in the chart.
OBJECT 
OBJECT TYPE 
OBJECT MASS 
CRATER DIAMETER

BALL #1 

g 
cm 
BALL #2 

g 
cm 
BALL #3 

g 
cm 
OBSERVATIONS/CONCLUSIONS:
 Compare your 3 craters  which crater is the largest?________
Which ball created it?____________
 What's the only difference in the way you made the craters?
________________________________________________
 Finish this statement: The (bigger/smaller) the mass, the (bigger/smaller)
the crater.
How Speed of Meteorites Affects Impact Craters Procedure:
 Take out the big marble.
 Smooth out the flour with the ruler, sprinkle a thin layer of tempera
on top, enough to cover the flour.
 Drop the marble from a height of 10cm, record the crater diameter
on the chart
 Smooth out the flour with the ruler, sprinkle a thin layer of tempera
on top, enough to cover the flour.
 Drop the marble from a height of 1 meter, record the crater diameter
on the chart
 Smooth out the flour with the ruler, sprinkle a thin layer of tempera
on top, enough to cover the flour.
 Drop the marble from a height of 2 meters, record the crater diameter
on the chart
 Smooth out the flour with the ruler, sprinkle a thin layer of tempera
on top, enough to cover the flour.
 Ask your teacher to throw the marble into the flour, or ask you teacher
for permission to throw it. Record the crater diameter.
Drop # 
velocity 
height 
crater diameter

1 
140 cm/s 
10 cm 
cm 
2 
443 cm/s 
100 cm 
cm 
3 
626 cm/s 
200 cm 
cm 
4 
1000 cm/s 
200 cm 
cm 
OBSERVATIONS/CONCLUSIONS:
 Compare your craters. Which is the largest?______________
 What in the only difference in the way you made the craters?
____________________________________________
 Finish this statement: The (bigger/smaller) the velocity, the (bigger/smaller)
the crater.
How Size of Projectiles Affects Impact Craters
Procedure:
 Take out the 3 different size marbles
 Smooth out the flour with the ruler, sprinkle a thin layer of tempera
on top, enough to cover the flour.
 Drop the smallest marble from a height of 2 meters
 Without disturbing the flour, measure the crater's diameter
 Record the diameter in the chart below
 Smooth out the flour with the ruler, sprinkle a thin layer of tempera
on top, enough to cover the flour.
 Drop the middle size marble from a height of 2 meters.
 Without disturbing the flour, measure the crater's diameter.
 Record the diameter in the chart below.
 Smooth out the flour with the ruler, sprinkle a thin layer of tempera
on top, enough to cover the flour.
 Drop the biggest marble from a height of 2 meters
 Without disturbing the flour, measure the crater's diameter
 Record the diameter in the chart below
Object 
marble diameter 
crater diameter

small marble 
cm 
cm 
middle marble 
cm 
cm 
big marble 
cm 
cm 
OBSERVATIONS/CONCLUSIONS:
 Compare your craters. Which is the largest?
 What in the only difference in the way you made the craters?
 Finish this statement: The (bigger/smaller) the marble, the (bigger/smaller)
the crater.
Part 2: Crater Structure
Parts of an Impact Crater
Procedure:
[Note: it's important that layers completely cover each other]
 Smooth out your first layer of flour and coat it with a generous layer
of tempera. It should be a little thicker than the thin layers you've
used before.
 Sprinkle another color of tempera paint over the first tempera.
 Take the large marble and drop or throw it from a height of ~2m.
 Observe the crater: make a an overhead drawing labeling (guess) the
rim, ejecta and crater floor.
 Measure the crater diameter. How does it compare with the diameter
from the last big marble drop?
OBSERVATIONS/CONCLUSIONS:
1. Where is the ejecta thickest?__________________________________
2. If the flour layers from top to bottom are youngest to oldest, where
in the new crater do you find the oldest rocks (beside the floor)?
___________________________________________________________
EXPAND
Go online and download images of craters from different planets. Be prepared
to explain how these craters may have been formed, point out examples of
new and older craters, and, if possible, look for signs that weathering
and water may have existed at these sites.

