Craters! Can We Simulate How Craters Are Formed and Predict Their Size and Shape? (page 2)

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Author: Muriel Gerhard

Experimental Procedure:

  1. State the problem you are going to investigate in this science fair project.
  2. Create and reproduce the data sheet you will use to record your observations.
  3. Gather all your materials.
  4. Put on your safety glasses, plastic gloves and apron.
  5. Fill the aluminum pan with sand. Color the sand with cinnamon of coco powder and smooth the surface. Wet the sand.
  6. Select the stones, the rocks, the balls you plan to use. Start at lowest level of the ladder and drop them into the sand.  Remove each one carefully and sketch what you are observing. Do not forget to look at the ejecta rays. Add them to your sketch. You may want to take photos of each of your observations. The photos can then be used in both your report and in your display. Smooth out the wet sand.
  7. Now move to the middle of the ladder and using the same objects from step 6 drop them again. Repeat by recording and drawing your observations. Again observe and count the ejecta rays. Remove specimens and smooth the sand.
  8. Now move to the top of the ladder and repeat step 6 again and record your observations. More photos? Why not!
  9. Record all your data in the chart of observations.
  10. Analyze the data and formulate your conclusion.
  11. Prepare your report and include all of the following: a clear statement of the problem, your hypothesis, namely what did you predict would occur and a list of the materials used. Include any safety precautions taken. Describe the procedures used. Include all the data that were gathered. Include all charts. Substantiate your conclusions.   For dramatic value, you may include photos as well as the drawings or sketches you made. Include a bibliography of sources you used. You may wish to assess what you did and describe what you would do differently if you were to do this project again. You may wish to expand this research next year.  



  • crater
  • meteors
  • meteorite craters
  • meteor  showers
  • fireballs
  • friction
  • meteoroid swarms 
  • ejecta rays


  • What is a control?  A control is the variable that is not changed in the experiment.
  • What purpose does a control serve? It is used to make comparisons as to what changed or possibly caused the change.
  • What are variables?  Variables are factors that can be changed in an experiment.
  • What is an independent variable? The independent variable is the one that is changed in the experiment.
  • What is a dependent variable? The dependent variable is the one that changes as a result of the change in the independent variable.


Charles A. Wood, (2006) "Looking Between Craters," Sky & Telescope, March.  


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