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Making A Rock In A Cup

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Author: Angela Pike

There are three types of rocks-igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary. Each rock is formed through different processes and made up of varying materials. Igneous rocks are formed through the cooling of melted materials while metamorphic rocks are formed when heat and pressure change other rocks. Sedimentary rocks are composed of pieces of rocks and minerals and even remains of animals and plants. All of these pieces are compressed and held together by other minerals. Some examples of sedimentary rocks include limestone, sandstone, and coquina. 

Problem:

How can one create a sedimentary rock? What takes place during the rock cycle?

Materials:

  • Wax paper
  • Magnifying glass
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Gravel
  • Sand
  • Spoon
  • Paper cups

Procedure:

  1. Pour a spoonful of sand into a paper cup. Pour another spoonful of gravel into the same cup.
  2. Fill another cup with a teaspoon of water. Stir in 5 spoonfuls of sugar until it is dissolved.
  3. Pour the sugar water mixture slowly into the cup of sand and gravel until it is moistened. Pour off any excess water.
  4. Let the “rock” dry then carefully tear the paper cup off over a piece of wax paper. 
  5. Let the “rock” sit and harden for at least 2 days. 
  6. Use a magnifying glass to observe your “rock.” Draw an illustration of what you see. What kind of rock did you make?
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