Units of Practice

5th grade earth science


Exploration into Solution Caves


How can water soaking into Earth’s crust change the land beneath?
In this lesson, students will gain an understanding of how solution
caves form through a hands-on simulation of the geological processes
causing the formation of solution caves. After completing the simulation,
students will hand in a lab write-up of the exploration and then visit a virtual
solution cave.

Unit Details
Author: Judeen Bachura
Subject: Earth Science
Learning Level(s): Intermediate; Fifth Grade
Standards: Kansas Curricular Standards for Science Education

Three Class periods; 45 minutes each
Day 1: Exploration Simulation is completed during this class period with rough draft notes taken of the materials used and the process.
Day 2: Final simulation lab write-ups will be worked on and completed during this class period.
Day 3: Students will visit a virtual solution cave on the web.

Modeling Clay (such as PlayDoh)
Small Straws
Sugar Cubes
Pie Tin
Water (preferably in a small pitcher or large shaker container such as a salt or pepper shaker emptied and filled with water)

To produce this simulation, shape clay into a rounded formation. Form a cavern into one side. Insert a sugar cube (representing sedimentary rock formations) into the cavern area of the clay. Insert small pieces of straws by pushing them down from the top of the clay form to the cavern area. (Make sure straw pieces do not become blocked with clay when inserted.) Set completed clay formation into the pie tin. Slowly pour or shake the water (representing acidic rain water that becomes acidic groundwater) over the clay formation and observe what happens to the sugar cube (the sedimentary rock formation) as it is subjected to acidic groundwaters.

Prerequisite Skills:
Students need to: listen, work independently or with a partner to complete assigned tasks, take notes and apply writing process skills, and have basic internet usage skills.

Assessment: Student lab write-ups will be assessed along with teacher prepared scavenger hunt of virtual solution cave site.

Teacher Notes / Reflections:


USD 417 Central Office
Sherry Edmiston, Curriculum Coordinator
Joe Glotzbach , Technology Coordinator
17 Wood Street
Council Grove , KS 66846

Page last updated June 7, 2002 2:41 PM


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