Impact Craters

About this practical...

Introducing the scientific method is very important. Here, you can discover the relationship between height of drop and diameter of crater. Focus on finding the independent, dependent and control variables. Assess your results and ways to make them more repeatable, accurate and reliable.


1. Collect a tray of sand, a meter rule and a marble

2. Measure and record both the diameter and mass of the marble

3. Hold the marble 10 cm above the sand and allow it to drop

4. Measure and record the diameter of the crater

5. Level off the sand and repeat every 10 cm up to a maximum height of 50 cm

6 Plot a graph of height of drop (X-axis) against diameter of crater (Y-axis). You can now create a conclusion based on your results

You may repeat steps 1 to 6 with another marble and see if it creates the same conclusion

The mains focus here is identifying the variables and looking at repeatability, reliability and accuracy etc. You should then be able to apply these to other practicals

Safety & Managing Risks

Usual lab rules must be followed: Goggles worn throughout the lesson, bags and stools tucked away and notify the teacher of any spills or breakages immediately. This may seem a simple experiment, however the risk of displaced sand entering a person's eye means that you need to wear goggles. Spilled sand can make the floor appear slippery (reduction in friction between shoes and the floor), if you spill any sand, sweep it up with a dustpan and brush immediately and tell your teacher. For more detailed information, please consult CLEAPSS.

Technician notes:

Sand trays

Meter rules


Selection of marbles

This page was updated on: 8th January 2022