OK – so this did not really happen. It’s a PR stunt to mark the start of science month on the TV channel, Eden. However, the video does talk about what could happen if a real meteor of this size hit London, and it would be a lot more devastating than one crushed taxi.
The video talks about the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. This could be a nice intro to a lesson on extinction or to promote a discussion on theories: are we sure this is what happened? Why?
For a physics lesson you could use the video to look at why such a small-ish meteor would cause so much damage. The video estimates the damage that would really be caused by a meteor this size but how did they work it out? You could discuss why the meteor would have so much kinetic energy when it hit the ground.
A simple experiment you can do with KS3 and KS4 students is to model the impact of a meteor on the surface of the Earth using a ball of modelling clay dropped into a tray of flour. They can choose the independent variable they use (mass of ‘meteor’, height it is dropped from, surface area of ‘meteor’) and measure the dependent variable – the width of the ‘crater’. There is lots of scope for talking about control variables and analysing the results. To make sure the crater is visible a good idea it to sprinkle poster paint powder over the flour. Another tip is to do this experiment outside.
For KS5 physics classes (and beyond) there is a nice discussion on this post from the Wired blog on working out the amount of energy a meteor this size would transfer to the surface of the Earth.
Back to Eden’s Science Month. It runs all day every day on Sky 532 and Virgin 208 across July. Highlights in this first week include The Code (Wednesday 4th July at 10pm) and Deadliest Volcano (Thursday 5th July at 7pm). There looks like there could be lots of interesting shows that you could incorporate into many science lessons.