Sinkholes in a Cup

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Resource Type:Classroom Activities; Curricula and Instruction
Grade Level:
6 7 8 9 10
Organization:American Geosciences Institute (AGI); Earth Science Week (ESW); Project Underground
Summary:Sinkholes are natural depressions in the land caused when limestone and soils dissolve. They form when groundwater removes rock underground. They can form by slow gradual sinking or by sudden collapse of an underlying hole. Sinkholes are common in about one quarter of the U.S. You can usually identify them as circular or oval low spots in fields that may gather standing water after rains. They can be small or larger than a football field. A sinkhole of any size indicates there was a cavity in the bedrock near the surface. Sinkholes are evidence of a subsurface groundwater, either in the past or present. Formation of a new sinkhole or continued collapse of an existing sinkhole, indicates present day groundwater. Students will create a sugar and sand sinkhole, all while answering questions about its formation and relation to real-world sinkholes.
Earth Science Big Ideas:Big Idea 8; Big Idea 9
NGSS Discplinary Core Ideas:ESS2.C
NGSS Performance Expectations:HS-ESS2-1; MS-ESS2-2
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering); Developing and using models
NGSS Crosscutting Concepts:Scale, proportion, and quantity; Stability and change
Subjects: earth; earth science week; erosion; geology; groundwater; rocks; sinkhole; water
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