Vanishing Craters

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In this activity (on pages 12-15), learners make a crater model and test the effects of weather (rain) on its surface. This activity helps learners understand how Earth's crust is constantly bombarded by weather which reshapes Earth's surface, erasing signs of craters that were originally made by rocky asteroids landing on Earth's surface.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Model, Simulation

English, Spanish

Materials List (per group of students)

  • small bowl (use disposable for easy cleanup or to save model)
  • powdered sugar (about 100 ml, or enough to fill bowl 4 cm deep)
  • cocoa powder in a shaker (about 10 ml or 1 tablespoon per crater)
  • a small stone (to simulate a rocky asteroid)
  • spray bottle filled with water
  • newspaper to cover the table
  • metric tape measure


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Processes
      • Weather and Climate
    • Earth Structure
      • Rocks and Minerals
    • Earth's History
      • Geologic Time
    • Solar System
      • The Planets

Informal Categories

  • Model Building


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

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

Designed specifically for

  • Rural dweller

Culture, ethnicity, and gender

  • Girls

    • Explicity developed for this group


Foreign language versions of this resource:

Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • Science After School Consumer's Guide


  • All rights reserved, University of Nebraska State Museum and Nebraska 4-H, 2002

Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation Informal Science Education Program, 9909496
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute