Earth Science Activities make Interesting Geology Lesson
Interesting earth science activities enhance a child learning experience about geology. A child can read up all she wants about caves, fossils, volcanoes and earth. Then, put her knowledge into use by creating fossils, simulating volcanoes eruption and exploring caves with them.
Earth science is not a topic children can make an experiment or test out the concept on a daily basis.
I would very much like to show my children the real stuff; caves, fossils, volcanoes etc they read from books. However, it may not be possible at all. That’s when hands-on fun activities begin to develop at home. It gives the kids opportunities to explore the concept they learned.
These activities can be easy and simple. We only need household materials and ingredients. It can be done at home or in the classroom easily.
Understand Earth Core from Cupcake
This is a good activity for kids to understand what lies beneath the surface of the Earth.
Cupcake mix, plastic knife, frosting (act as soil), food coloring (at least 3 different colors), baking cups, transparent straws.
Prepare cupcakes according to package direction but using 3 different colors of batter; layer batter in baking cups. Put frosting as the last layer, which is equivalent to soil.
Let kids use the straw to take some core sample from the cupcake by rotating the straw like a drill. Explain how geologist dig and analyze the composition of Earth’s interior similarly.
Make Fossil from Dough
Clay or dough (refer to recipe below), objects to imprint like leaves, coins, chicken/fish bones.
1-cup flour, ½-cup salt, 1-cup water, 1 tbsp oil, 2 tsp cream of tartar. Mix all ingredients and stir over medium heat until it formed into a ball. Remove from heat and knead on a non-stick surface.
Make a rock from clay or dough and flatten to create a smooth surface. Make imprints using the objects you have including your foot and palm if you like. Let it air dry and polish it with acrylic sealer if you like.
Your kids can start giving out these fossils as little gifts to their friends or keep it for themselves.
Volcano Eruption from Baking Soda and Vinegar
Most kids are going to love this eruption.
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), vinegar, a container (a soda bottle will be ideal for the flow), a few drops of red food coloring (for effect).
Place vinegar and food coloring into the container. Pour some baking soda into the container and watch the eruption.
Note: It can get messy, so do it in the sink or on a tray.
Grow your own Stalactites and Stalagmites from Washing Soda
The stalactites and stalagmites they saw in the cave fascinated my kids. They were thrilled when we decided to grow stalactites and stalagmites during their school holidays.
2 empty jars, a strip of absorbent cloth, hot water, tray to hold the drips, 10 tablespoons of washing soda (sodium carbonate)
Dissolve 5 tablespoons of soda with 1 1/2 cups of hot water in each jar. Set the jar apart side by side. Dip one end of the absorbent cloth into each jar and let it hang between both jar. The absorbent cloth will begin to drip and formation will grow.
This activity requires patience as it takes some time for the formation to grow.
Make Volcano Craft
Kids can also try making a volcano themselves with just shoes box, newspapers and bottles.Cut a plastic bottle into half and take the bottom of the bottle. Put newspapers strips into a tray of watery glue.
Glue the bottom of plastic bottle in the middle of a shoes box. Put strip newspapers around the bottle until the rim of the box. Wait till the glue is dry then paint the shoes box with any color you want.
In their general reading, my kids came across topics about caves. They were fascinated how caves were form and the beautiful pictures in the book showing what a cave is like. We decided a trip to explore a real cave would be the most valuable lesson to them. Therefore, off we went one day and head towards a cave (Gua Tempurung) in Perak, Malaysia.
We learned it takes about 100 years for stalactites to just grow 1 centimeter! We saw crystal forming on a big rock in the cave. Nothing beats this valuable experience of a visit to the cave when come to learning about caves.
Parents may not be scientists ourselves but with a little creativity, we can make learning earth science a fun and interesting experience for our kids.