Why Are All Lunar Craters Round?

At some point in your future academic career, many of you will be expected to do a science experiment and complete a full lab write-up. There is a definite procedure for a lab write-up, and I am hoping to help you learn this, as well as learn about crater formation. Each lab write up features an abstract, introduction, materials and methods section, data presentation, discussion, and conclusion. Your assignment is to do a lab write up which will demonstrate that you thoroughly understand the process of crater formation on the moon, or any other celestial body. THIS IS A MESSY EXERCISE, SO PLEASE DO THIS WORK OUTSIDE ... NOT ON THE LIVING ROOM FLOOR!

Your lab will be as follows:
Spend five to ten minutes thinking about what causes the craters which appear on the moon's surface. Try to solve the riddle as to why craters are all round and of different sizes. Write down your prediction before beginning the lab work.
Once the lab has been completed, you will record your data, think about your results, and formulate a theory which explains the cause of craters, and try to make additional inferences or predictions which will extend this lab for further experimentation.

Format

Predictions:
Abstract:
Materials:
Methods:
Results:
Discussion:
Conclusion:(the more future experiments you can propose and the more you can extend your theory, the better)

Materials and Methods
1 pizza box
3 meter sticks or yard sticks
flour
cocoa
impactors or varying sizes
sifter
measuring devices

Create a lunar landscape by spreading flour inside the pizza box to a depth of 1 inch. Then cocoa lightly over the entire flour surface, finely coating the white flour with cocoa, making it look real cool.
You drop the impactors from varying measured heights and measure the diameter, depth, and shape of the impact craters. The heights and number of drops are determined by you, and remember that precision is important. You may want to try dropping the impactor at an angle to see what happens. You may drop impactors of different sizes and shapes to see what happens. Be creative in doing the lab.

results: record your results in a chart form which will be understandable to your reader (me :)

discussion: discuss your findings and compare them to your prediction.


Tom's Comments: This is a messy lab, but a fun one. I am asking that you really try to think today, and have therefore weighted the conclusion section more heavily than any other part. I want to see how many connections you can make between experimentation and the appearance of the craters on the moon. I also want you to include in your conclusion why such experimentation is important to us here on earth.

Good luck … and if you have questions, please feel free to ask

This assignemt might be more fun if you find someone to help you too. By the time you have arrived here, you work should be completed and answers thought through. Time now to put those answers in the boxes below and send them to me.

Your Name:

E-mail Address (Required):


What Predictions (Hypothesis) did you make as to why you think craters on the Moon are all round?


What would your Abstract describe to readers ... in one paragraph ... that would encourage them to read your work?


What Materials did you use for your lab?


What Methods did you use to test your hypothesis?


What were your Results?

Drop #1

Impactor Description:

Height of Drop: m

Angle of Drop: degrees

Crater Shape:

Crater Depth: cm

Crater Diameter: cm

Drop #2

Impactor Description:

Height of Drop: m

Angle of Drop: degrees

Crater Shape:

Crater Depth: cm

Crater Diameter: cm

Drop #3

Impactor Description:

Height of Drop: m

Angle of Drop: degrees

Crater Shape:

Crater Depth: cm

Crater Diameter: cm

Drop #4

Impactor Description:

Height of Drop: m

Angle of Drop: degrees

Crater Shape:

Crater Depth: cm

Crater Diameter: cm

Drop #5

Impactor Description:

Height of Drop: m

Angle of Drop: degrees

Crater Shape:

Crater Depth: cm

Crater Diameter: cm

Drop #6

Impactor Description:

Height of Drop: m

Angle of Drop: degrees

Crater Shape:

Crater Depth: cm

Crater Diameter: cm

Drop #7

Impactor Description:

Height of Drop: m

Angle of Drop: degrees

Crater Shape:

Crater Depth: cm

Crater Diameter: cm

Drop #8

Impactor Description:

Height of Drop: m

Angle of Drop: degrees

Crater Shape:

Crater Depth: cm

Crater Diameter: cm


Please in this Discussion section, try to correlate what you saw with what you predicted to be the cause of round craters


What Conclusion do you come to as for an explanation that ALL lunar craters are round. It is EXTREMELY important that you make no conclusion that your data cannot support. Do you have any other idea as to why craters are round if your data showed different shapes than expected.

What did you think of this lab?

Now that you have concluded this exercise, you can go back to the Moon Unit, or perhaps go ahead to learn about the Solar System, or just go back to the Syllabus after you have washed your hands and cleaned up the floor.


       


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