Photo of the Moon

Look at the Moon. Can you see those circular shapes all across the face of the Moon and the lines extending from them? Those circular shapes are craters and the lines are "ejecta rays" made from material blasted out of the crater.

These craters formed when rocks or comets from space smashed into the surface of the Moon. The impact was so powerful that it pulverized the ground – creating what we call regolith – and sprayed it out to form those ejecta rays.

You can make craters like those on the Moon using simple baking ingredients!

› Educators, explore how to turn this into a standards-aligned lesson for students

Watch the Tutorial

See below for materials and step-by-step instructions. For more video tutorials and activities like this one, visit Learning Space.

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Make craters like the ones you can see on the Moon using simple baking ingredients! | Watch on YouTube

Materials for the Make a Crater activity


Animated image of flour in a cake pan in front of a backdrop of the Moon

1. Prepare the Moon’s sub-surface

Spread about an inch of flour into your cake pan. The flour represents the part of the Moon’s crust that an impactor will pulverize and blast out.

Animated image of sprinkles being spooned out over a cake pan filled with flour

2. Add rocks and minerals

Add a layer of cake sprinkles to represent rocks and minerals buried under the surface. (You do not need to completely cover the flour layer.)

Animated image of cocoa being sifted over a cake pan filled with flower and sprinkles

3. Create the Moon’s surface

Add a thin third layer by sprinkling cocoa over the top with a spoon. You can also use a sifter for a more even coating. The cocoa represents the surface layer on the Moon.

Ota Lutz preparing to drop a rock into her prepared lunar surface

4. Prepare for impact

Find a spot where you can safely and easily drop a rock into your cake pan. You may want to put down a newspaper or a towel to catch any baking ingredients that come out of the pan.

Animated image of a rock being dropped into a cake pan filled with ingredients meant to simulate the Moon's surface

5. Make a Moon crater

Simulate a rock impacting the Moon by holding a small rock above your head and dropping it into the cake pan. Observe the "ejecta pattern" created by the impact. Did any of the sprinkles get ejected out of the crater? Gently remove the impactor

Animated image of a rock being thrown diagonally into a cake pan filled with ingredients meant to simulate the Moon's surface

6. Get creative with your craters

Try dropping different size rocks from different angles and heights. How does the ejecta pattern differ from one impact to the next?