Erosion Activities for Kids

Earth Science Unit Study

Erosion Part 2
Week 34: We froze ice, sprouted beans in a bottle and observed a clay ball over the course of several weeks.

Erosion is an ongoing naturally occurring phenomenon which is both destructive and beneficial. Erosion changes landscapes and is a vehicle for nature to recover. As part of our ongoing Earth Science study we have been reading the book Rocks, rivers & the changing earth,: A first book about geology, (Young Scott books). It's a narrative Earth Science chapter book which contains suggestions for many simple supporting activities.

 Megastructures - Breaking Up the Biggest Dam

Dams built for people to harness power can become obsolete and are not always good for nature. This video is about the challenge an engineering team faced when trying to break up a massive dam and return a river to its normal state. The amount of sediment accumulated behind the dam during its existence is quite impressive and an interesting example of erosion.

How the Earth Was Made - Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon was formed through a long process of erosion. This video from the How the Earth was Made Series was perfect for an erosion unit.

After watching and reading about erosion, we did some simple experiments.

Clay Ball Erosion

We formed a few clay balls and let them sit outside in the weather for several weeks.

Over the course of time the appearance of the balls changed as the soft materials were washed away by rain and wind. We hoped to see some dramatic effects of water and ice due to the cold, but our winter was unusually mild. Perhaps we will repeat the experiment at another time or stick the balls in plastic wrap with water in the freezer?

Sprouting Beans
Seeds have an enormous capability to cause erosion. Once they are embedded in rock, water can cause them to sprout. Their sprouting strength is strong enough to crack rock.

To demonstrate this, a water bottle was completely filled with beans and then topped off with water. The cap was screwed on tight and then the bottle was observed over the course of several days.

As the beans soaked up the water the pressure inside the bottle immediately increased. This was evident by feeling the hardness of the bottle.

As time went on the beans were able to deform the bottle.

Freezing Water
Putting a full water bottle into the freezer, the ice was able to deform the bottle the same way as the beans.

Erosion is a powerful force which is helped along the way by wind, water, and seeds.

To see more of our hands-on science activities, please visit our Science Page.

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