It's Sedimentary Dear Teacher

By Sharill Prey-Luedtke


Students will utilize their knowledge of sedimentation by creating a microenvironment. This activity also takes into consideration some of the effects of glaciation on sedimentation. Students will see the sedimentation process and become scientists by taking core samples. This activity will also promote the idea that the World's rock layers are not uniform. Students will work in group and as a class.


  • Mixture (clay, fine and course sand, pebbles, etc.)
  • Empty 2 Liter pop bottle - clear and no label
  • Water
  • Shaking Jar with lid
  • Masking tape
  • Modeling clay
  • Water collecting tray (1"-2" in depth)
  • 3 plastic pipets per group
  • Ice chips/chunks containing rocks, sand, clay, etc.


  1. Cut the pop bottle according to the following diagram
    Recycle this half, keep the other
  2. Using a small nail or paper clip, place about 10 hole on the bottom side of the bottom half of the bottle. Take masking tape and cover the holes.
  3. Create a stand for your bottle in the water collecting tray, using the modeling clay. Make it so that you can remove the tape from the holes easily so not to disturb the bottle. Also, allow room for the water to flow out of the holes.
  4. Obtain 400ml of the mixture from your teacher and 600ml of water. Place the mixture and water in a container and shake well. Quickly pore the solution in your bottle. Wait 10 minutes and repeat the process, poring the solution on top of the first. Record all observations. Identify this process and support your answer.
  5. When the water becomes relatively clear, very gently remove the tape with out disturbing the bottle. Allow the mixture to dry overnight.

Day 2

  1. Create a diagram, labeling all layer from your bottle.
  2. Obtain some ice chunks from your teacher. Place the ice towards the bottom end of the pop bottle (the deepest part). To speed things up use a heat source (heat lamp, hair dryer, space heater, fan, etc.) Describe what happened in you environment as the ice started to melt and what it looked like afterwards. Created a diagram of your environment.
  3. Obtain 3 plastic pipets. Cut off the tapered end. Choose 3 surface locations not by each other. Take a pipet and without squeezing the bulb slowly push it through the layers until you hit the bottom. Repeat this process in two other location. Compare and contrast your findings. Create a diagram for your core samples. Compare your results to other groups. Explain similarities and differences.


  1. Create more layers by repeating the process of layering.
  2. After the ice add more layers and repeat the ice.
  3. Have students develop their own experiment.