3. Layers Upon Layers - Logistics

45-50 minutes

Individual, although clusters of 4-6 students need to be able to share materials


Clear 20 oz plastic cup
  • Clear, plastic, 16 oz or 20 oz party cups, at least 1 per student plus 20-30 additional cups for students to share.
  • At least 6 different, dry “sediments” of different grain sizes and colors, around one shoebox-full of each: playground sand, beach sand, groundcover rocks, diatomaceous earth, aquarium gravel, powdered clay, garden soil, school-yard soil, etc. Have students bring in sediments they find interesting. The activity transforms readily into an art project if you can find “pretty” sediments: colored aquarium gravels, colored sand, etc.
  • Spoons
  • 5 gallon bucket or other large container for collecting waste sand
  • Water
  • Optional: Squeeze box (see Sources)
  • Optional: Cafeteria style trays
  • Optional: Photographs showing rock layers such as the Grand Canyon or other cliff faces
Squeeze Box open
Squeeze Box with horizontal sediment layers
Squeeze Box closed
Squeeze box after squeezing showing folding and faulting of the layers