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Infant Moon: Moon Mix!

Source Institutions

    Lunar and Planetary Institute

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Infant Moon: Moon Mix!

In this activity, learners investigate the Moon's infancy and model how an ocean of molten rock (magma) helped shape the Moon that we see today. Learners create a simple model of this process by mixing household items of different densities in a bottle and allowing to them to settle into separate layers. Learners decide which materials make the best model for the infant Moon. Learners may examine a type of Earth rock (named anorthosite) that is also found on the Moon and that would have been shaped by the processes explored here.

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.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
Over $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model


Materials List (per group of students)

  • butcher paper, newspapers, or disposable table cloths for the activity area (optional)
  • 5 (8 oz.) unopened, clear plastic water bottles with the labels removed
  • A selection of at least three of the following items that sink in water, each placed in a container: 1/2 cup (nearly 1/2 pound) small aquarium gravel, 1/2 cup buttons, 1/2 cup dried navy beans, 1/2 cup marbles, 1/2 cup sequins, 1 cup pancake syrup in its bottle with pour spout
  • A selection of at least three of the following items that float in water, each placed in a container: 1/2 cup coffee stirrers (i.e. small straws) cut into 1/4" sections, 1 dry sponge cut into (1/4"x1/4") pieces, 1/2 cup pony beads, 1/2 cup small Lego® pieces (1x1 bricks), 1/2 cup wooden beads, 1/2 cup vegetable oil in its bottle with pour spout
  • 1 (32–oz.) bottle of light corn syrup (optional but recommended)
  • 2 clear cups
  • 1 handheld, wire mesh sieve
  • 1 cup water
  • scissors (optional)
  • 1 (1–quart) bag for creating coffee stirrer sections (optional)
  • 1 funnel
  • Towel for cleaning up spills
  • wet wipes (optional)
  • pitcher or bucket for collecting unwanted water (optional)
  • 1 sample of Earth anorthosite
  • Moon Map: Lunar Highlands
  • Infant Moon: Moon Mix! station sign
  • Infant Moon: Moon Mix! children's guide
  • Art materials, such as colored pencils, crayons, and markers
  • Infant Moon comic panels
  • Marvel Moon comic books
  • Binder clips
  • Access to water
  • 1 permanent marker
  • Pens or pencils


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
      • Origins of Universe
    • Earth Processes
      • Volcanoes and Plate Tectonics
    • Earth Structure
      • Rocks and Minerals
    • Earth's History
      • Geologic Time
    • Solar System
      • The Moon
      • Origin of Solar System
  • Physical Sciences
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
      • Volume and Density
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Model Building


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • Lunar and Planetary Institute, 2010

Funding Sources:

  • NASA Lunar Science Institute
  • Center for Lunar Origins and Evolution