Tell-tale signs of a shooting star – Comets, meteors and craters in the Solar System

Brief description:
To many ancient civilisations, the tale of a shooting star was an omen of things to come. In this series of activities, pupils will learn that a shooting star or meteor is actually a piece of rock that lights up as it travels through the Earth’s atmosphere. They will also learn why this happens and investigate how craters are formed when a meteor strikes a planetary surface. Extension activities focus on why small meteors can cause large impact craters and why we find so few craters on Earth.
Subject: Astronomy, Science
Learning Objectives:


  • Learn that a shooting star, or meteor, is the light produced by a meteoroid traveling through the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • Understand how objects moving at high speeds through the Earth’s atmosphere can cause rapid air compression and this leads to a large rise in temperature.
  • Perform scientific experiments, specifically to investigate how rocks produce craters.
Age range:
10-12 years old
Lesson: 2 to 2.5 hours
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