In this activity, pairs of learners model how scientists use craters to determine the ages of lunar surfaces. One partner keeps time while the other creates a painting for the other to interpret. Cotton balls coated in different colors of paint are thrown at paper to simulate asteroids striking the lunar surface over time. Learners take turns in the time-keeping/painting roles to decipher a mystery: In what order did the "impacts" occur? Which painting has more "impacts"? They learn that scientists can estimate the age of a lunar surface by counting its craters--much like counting candles on a birthday cake!
This activity station is part of a sequence of stations that can be set up to help learners trace the Moon's 4.5-billion-year history from "infancy" to the imagined future. Learners tie together major events in the Moon's geologic history as a series of comic panels in their Marvel Moon comic books.