TITLE: Weathering Experiments: Sugar Cubes, Steel Wool and Gravel !!! AUTHOR: Kate Hayne, Soroco Junior High School; Oak Creek, CO GRADE LEVEL: 6-8 RESOURCES/MATERIALS: For each group of students: 10 sugar cubes jar with a lid 10 pieces of gravel 2 small pieces of steel wool 2 small plastic bags OBJECTIVE: To allow the students to see both chemical and physical weathering of "rocks" ACTIVITIES AND PROCEDURES: Steel Wool Experiment Procedure: 1. Students should label one bag "dry" and put one small piece of steel wool in that bag. 2. Students should label the other bag "wet", wet the other piece of steel wool, and put it in the bag. 3. Both bags should be sealed and stored for 3-4 days. Observations: 1. In what ways are the bags the same? 2. In what way(s) do the bags differ? 3. Examine the wool from the "dry" bag. Please describe its appearance. 4. Try to pull the steel wool apart. Is it easy or hard to pull apart? 5. Work over a piece of white paper. Carefully roll the piece of steel wool between your fingers. Describe what has fallen on the white paper. 6. Examine the steel wool from the "wet" bag and repeat the steps in 3-5 above. 7. How were the wet and dry steel wool different? 8. What caused the changes in the wet steel wool? 9. What kind of weathering is this? 10. Please explain how this kind of weathering could happen to a rock. Sugar Cubes and Gravel 1. Describe the appearance of the sugar cubes. 2. Place the sugar cubes in the jar and shake 20 times. 3. Pour the contents of the jar onto a piece of paper separating the sugar cubes and the crumbs. (don't eat any of it !!!) a. Describe any changes you notice in the sugar cubes. b. Were these changes due to chemical or physical weathering? Why? 4. Return the sugar cubes to the jar and shake another 20 times. 5. Again pour the contents onto a piece of paper separating the crumbs and the cubes. a. did the second shaking cause the cubes to look more worn? b. Is the amount of crumbs greater than, the same as or less than the first shaking? ** REPEAT the above using pieces of gravel instead of sugar cubes.
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