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Explore Crater Science to Celebrate Moon Landing Anniversary

A tennis ball during impact with a container full of sand

Celebrate the Moon Landing with a Crater Activity!

50 Years Since the First Moon Landing!

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 Moon landing. On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 lifted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center with astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins on board. Four days later, on July 20, the Eagle lunar module landed on the Moon's Sea of Tranquility, and Armstrong and Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the Moon.

Space Science History

1969 may sound like ancient history to many of your students! This milestone anniversary is a great time to talk with students about space science. Talk with kids about the Apollo missions and the historic Apollo 11 Moon landing. Replay video footage from the time. Read news stories and mission reports. Read biographies of the astronauts. And, do space science activities, of course!

For fun hands-on science learning that you can tie in with the Moon landing anniversary, try a space science-themed STEM activity like Creating Craters.

Make Your Own Moon Craters!

Have you ever heard that the Moon's surface looks like Swiss cheese? Lunar craters covering the Moon are the result of meteorites hitting the surface, but not all craters are the same size. The Creating Craters activity helps kids visualize the relationship between an object's size (and speed) and the crater it creates. In the hands-on activity, students drop variously-sized balls into a tray of flour to create and explore their own craters. Use your cellphone to take slow-motion videos of the activity for added fun!

Watch the video below to see the crater science activity in action:

Slow Motion Craters - STEM Activity

Fun facts:

  • The biggest crater on the moon is the Aitken basin. It is more than 1,500 miles across and more than 5 miles deep in places!
  • The first Apollo flight to carry a crew was Apollo 7.
  • Six of the 11 crewed Apollo flights landed on the Moon.

Moon and Solar System Science

For even more hands-on STEM fun related to space science, see the following projects and activities:

  1. I See a Full Moon Rising...and Shrinking...or Do I?
  2. Measuring the Moon's Brightness
  3. Craters and Meteorites
  4. Catching Stardust
  5. The Measure of Mercury: Analyzing Impact Craters on the Innermost Planet
  6. A Puzzling Parallax
  7. How Old Is the Universe?
  8. Asteroid Mining: Gold Rush in Space?

For these and other science and engineering lessons and activities, see also:

Learn More

Students curious about careers in space science may enjoy learning more about the following career profile:

To learn more about the Apollo 11 astronauts, see the following biographies: Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins.

Students can learn more about the Apollo program on the What Was the Apollo Program? page, a NASA Knows! page developed for grades 5-8. You can also view photos and video footage of the Apollo 11 mission on NASA's Apollo 50th site.

Share Your Science Buddies Story!

Have you used a science project, STEM activity, or Lesson Plan from Science Buddies in your class or program? We would love to hear your story! Email us at scibuddy@sciencebuddies.org and tell us how you use Science Buddies with students.


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