WEATHERING VERSUS ERODING
In this fun and easy geology science experiment, we’re going to compare and contrast weathering and eroding by creating a really cool demonstration.
- Gelatin (beef or colorless gelatin will both work fine)
- Two bowls of equal size that are deep enough to hold two cups of material
- Cooking spray
- Baking pan
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- Spray the inside of each bowl with cooking spray.
- Fill one of the bowls about three quarters full of sand. This will be our erosion model.
- Stack rocks in the other bowl, ensuring they do not breach the rim of the bowl. This will be our weathering model.
- Now, using adult assistance and supervision, bring two cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat and whisk in one half a cup of gelatin.
- Let the gelatin mixture cool and rest for several minutes.
- Next you will pour the gelatin into each bowl, filling each bowl to the rim.
- Do not disturb the bowl with the rocks but use a knife or utensil to slowly stir the gelatin into the sand.
- Place both bowls in the refrigerator to cool overnight.
- Once the gelatin mountains have solidified, carefully dump each mountain out into the baking pan. You may need to use a knife to gently cut around the edges to free your mountains from the bowls.
- Now, have an adult boil some water and then have the adult pour the boiled water over each model for ten seconds each.
- Observe how the weathering model is effected versus the erosion model.
- Now have the adult repeat pouring the boiling water over each model in ten second intervals, observing and noting the effect each time.
- When the sand is moved by natural forces, which in this case is the pouring boiled water, it is called erosion.
- When a rock is changed or broken but stays where it is, it is called weathering. This is demonstrated when the gelatin "mountain" surrounding our rocks is removed but our rocks stayed in place. If the pieces of weathered rock eventually are moved away, it would now be an example of erosion.
I hope you enjoyed this super quick tutorial and had fun investigating and exploring weathering and eroding.
Pro tip: Use this activity to create some excitement around discussions or lessons about weathering, erosion, geology, and more!
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