Middle School Geography-'Making Sandstone' activity

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  1. paper cup
  2. cementing solution (2 parts water to one part Epsom salt)
  3. sand
  4. hand lens


1.Fill the paper cup half full of sand. Pack the sand with your hand.

2.Slowly add cementing solution until all of the sand is wet.

3.Put the cup in a warm place until the sand dries completely.

4.Carefully tear away the paper cup.

5.Observe the sand with the hand lens.

6.Have students write a paper or describe what they observed.

Teacher Hint:

1.Sedimentary rocks, including coal, are packed together in layers. Water containing minerals seeps in between the pieces and then evaporates. The minerals that are left behind cement the particles together into a larger rock.

2.Cement is a powder made from crushed lime, silica, alumna, iron oxide, and gypsum. Each of these minerals is mixed in the proper proportion and then mixed with water. When the water dries, a hard concrete "rock" is left behind.