After School ‘to Go’ Spring 2017: Week 3

It’s a Landslide!

This week, students learned about concepts used in the Seismologist career! Girls applied these skills to the problem of a landslide in a small town.















In small groups, girls used baking pans and paper ramps to set up their landslide simulators. Small toy houses and a paper bridge were used to model a town located at the bottom of a hill. Sand was poured at the top of the “mountain” to represent loose sediments. Lastly, students took turns shaking their baking pans to simulate an earthquake!
















Girls used a modified scale, similar to the Richter scale, to shake their baking pans harder and simulate a stronger earthquake. After 5 trials of stronger and stronger quakes, students compared the resulting landslides in their journals. Larger sediments, like gravel and pebbles, were added to the sand. Students tested the effects of earthquakes with these materials and brainstormed solutions to the problem of property damage after landslides.


After School Spring 2017: Week 3

Weathering and Erosion


This week, Girlstart students (and future geologists!) reviewed physical weathering, chemical weathering, and erosion before putting different types of soils to the test!
















Before beginning their activity, students worked together to review the difference between chemical and physical weathering. Tables volunteered their ideas, then STEM Crew leaders provided an antacid tablet for girls to observe. Students watched the tablet dissolve in a glass of water and create bubbles as an example of a chemical change. Crew leaders explained that the dissolved tablet had undergone a chemical change. Minerals in rocks can also dissolve – a common example of chemical weathering. On the other hand, physical weathering does not lead to a change in a rock’s chemical composition.









Girls were then given soil, soil with grass, and sand. Using these materials and a paper cup, students created landforms and weathered them away with water. Because of the loose grains, students found that their sand landforms weathered away more quickly than the other soil types. Finally, students evaluated the significance of their newfound knowledge as geologists. What applications can you think of for this knowledge? Some student answers included protection of homes in floodplains and prediction of landform movement over time.


After School ‘to Go’ Spring 2017: Week 2

Exploring the Earth


During this week’s activities, Girlstart students learned about skills used by geomorphologists, who study geological processes and resulting landforms. Students brushed up on vocabulary that included “deposition,” “erosion,” and “weathering,” then got to work forming their own canyon models!














Small groups were given different colors of sand, a tupperware box, and a cup of water to create their miniature canyons. Girls emptied out their first bag of sand in the tupperware box to represent a sea floor. Next, each bag of colored sand was laid carefully on top of another. Finally, girls had a visual demonstration of sediment layers throughout history.













Students used their water cups to create a “river” that eroded the sediments and cut through the many layers. Girls were excited to point out the different colors that were now exposed in the deep canyon, due to the weathering of the rock surface over time.