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Mass, Area, Volume

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Mass, Area, Volume

In this activity (page 18 of PDF), learners will measure the volume of impact craters created by projectiles of different masses. They will also draw connections between the mass of the projectile and the volume of crater it creates. 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 student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Simulation


Materials List (per student)

  • Shallow pan (aluminum baking pan, cardboard box lid, dishpan, etc.)
  • Soil-like substance (dirt, sand, flour, fine kitty litter, etc.)
  • Bed sheet (or other drape for spreading on floor under pan of soil)
  • Measuring tape
  • Assortment of spherical projectiles that are of similar size but of different masses
  • Triple beam balance (or other means of measuring the mass of the spherical projectiles)
  • Activity C – Projectile Experiment Data Sheet (pp. 56–57)


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
      • Probes, Satellites and Spacecraft
    • Solar System
      • The Moon
      • Asteroids and Comets
  • Mathematics
    • Geometry
      • Plane Geometry
    • Measurement
      • Size and Scale
      • Circles
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Momentum and Velocity
      • Projectile Motion
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data


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


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