I decided to try out a fun science experiment on meteorites with the kids to kick off our studies on astronomy. I used a Janice VanCleave experiment which can be found in her book, Help! My Science Project is Due Tomorrow. I found it in an old Practical Homeschooling magazine. The goal was to show the kids how a meteorite impacts the earth. The kids put 8 cups of cornmeal mix into a shoebox. Then they made clay balls about the size of a walnut.
We measured the cornmeal depth with a toothpick and marked it. Then they held their "meteors" and dropped them into the cornmeal.
Then they measured and marked their toothpicks to see how deep a crater the "meteorite" made. They did this over and over again. (Yes, dd is still in her sleeper! They were so excited to do an experiment during school break that they raced straight down without dressing! LOL)
The kids had so much fun. Did you notice that I called the ball a meteor when it was being dropped and a meteorite when it had already hit the ground? That is because the space rock is called a meteoroid when it is in space, a meteor when it is falling through the earth's atmosphere and a meteorite once it has hit the ground. Cool, huh?
Tom Sawyer (7) stretched the project farther, of course. He decided to build a forest out of toothpicks to see how the meteorites would destroy a forest. He had an unexpected result.
He tried it four times with the same results. Perhaps the clay ball would have done something different if it had been dry? He suggested we set the ball on fire and try again. However, I am just not that cool of a Mom today. Poor boy!