Caves Unit Study

caves-unit-study-2The following article contains an affiliate link. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

cavesIf you do a caves unit study with your kids, you really ought to go visit a real cave. Try to find one in your area. Looking at real stalactites, stalagmites, and columns in the depths of a dark, dripping cave in the recesses of the earth is an experience every child should have.

We are using the chapter on caves from Earth and Space by Bright Ideas Press as the jumping-off place for this unit study. The book provides 14 vocabulary words that you can write on index cards, so that you can know the basic vocabulary having to do with caves. We labeled the three main cave formations on a printable page provided in the book: stalactites, stalagmites, and columns. My kids also colored a beautiful cave coloring page:


We also did the science experiment to grow a speleothem (a cave formation) using Epsom salts. Because our air is extremely dry, growing crystals is difficult. We had to re-start the experiment when I discovered that the string was bone dry on day 3. The string has to be wet for crystals to form. My husband told me to put a cardboard box over the entire experiment to retain the humidity, and it worked better. We filled in a chart provided in the book, drawing the crystal formations over the course of 10 days.

stalactite-experimentMy daughter and I decided to create a cave out of terra cotta clay, pictured at the top of this post. Isn’t it pretty? It took us a total of 5 minutes, since the clay was softer than usual. We formed stalactites, stalagmites, and columns.

If you are unable to go to a real cave during your caves unit study, here is a virtual tour of a cool cave, as well as a fun cave art activity:

If it’s snowing outside, you might want to build a snow cave. Then grab a flashlight and have fun inside your cave. Here is a video tutorial, with tips on how to be successful with making snow caves:

Look at the icicles hanging off your roof, and explain to your kids how stalactites form the same way!

Here is an underground cave map, to help you identify the different cave formations:

Finally, here is a video describing all the activities that can be done during a Caves Unit Study:

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12 Responses to “Caves Unit Study”

  1. Sarah says:

    I love the stalactite experiment! That was always one of my favourites as a kid. 🙂

  2. Sophie Bowns says:

    I love your experiment Susan!

  3. Ticia says:

    Well, I finally broke down and made a board for earth sciences…… Congratulations, you’re the first pin on it!

  4. Melissa says:

    Those are great ideas! We live close to a park that has caves for our kids to explore. That’s going to be a family outing this summer!

  5. Julie says:

    Love this! We have the Cave of the Mounds close to us which is a big tourist draw. Cave have their own ecosystems within. Another amazing wonder by God!

  6. Stephanie says:

    That is a great idea that will truly drive home a child’s understanding of God’s creation under the earth. Always enjoy reading your articles and awesome tips!

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