Size, Mass, Area, and Volume

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In this activity (page 23 of PDF), learners conduct an experiment to determine how the size and mass of a projectile affects the area and the volume of an impact crater. Learners will use formulas to calculate the circumference and mass of projectiles and measure the diameter and depth of an impact crater. This lesson also includes extension activities: Analyzing the formula for the volume of sphere (p46-50), and calculating the volume of a crater (p32-35). The Moon Math: Craters! guide follows a 5E approach, applying concepts of geometry, modeling, data analysis to the NASA lunar spacecraft mission, LCROSS.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Shallow pan
  • Soil-like substance
  • Bed sheet (or other drape for spreading on the floor under the pan of soil)
  • Measuring tape
  • Assortment of spherical projectiles that are of different size but of different masses (see page 24 of PDF for suggestions)
  • Triple beam balance (or other means of measuring the mass of spherical projectiles)
  • Activity D - Projectile Experiment Data Sheet (pp. 58-60 of PDF)


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
      • Probes, Satellites and Spacecraft
    • Solar System
      • The Moon
      • Asteroids and Comets
  • Mathematics
    • Algebra
      • Equations and Inequalities
      • Variables and Expressions
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Geometry
      • Plane Geometry
    • Measurement
      • Size and Scale
      • Circles
    • Number and Operations
      • Exponents
  • Physical Sciences
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
      • Volume and Density
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • NASA


  • Public domain, ,