Posts Tagged ‘caves’

Edible Sedimentary Rocks

Monday, March 3rd, 2014


This post contains an affiliate link. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

The highlight of our rocks and minerals study was making delicious edible sedimentary rocks, a layered treat overloaded with sugar. Look away from this page if you are on a diet! My own kids are skin and bone, so this treat put some meat on my kids, and a small-ish slice I ate (okay–fine! I had many small slices!) reminds me of the mud pies in Malibu, California.

We are continuing our  homeschooling science posts about Earth and Space by Bright Ideas Press. The recipe for the edible sedimentary rocks comes from this book, and I will give you a video tutorial for how to make this delicious treat at the bottom of this article. If you can’t wait that long, go ahead and scroll down right away to begin your sugar rush.

My kids have collected rocks and minerals for years, and when we studied the different types of rocks, they remembered the differences between igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. Take a look at one of our collections, which we have organized in a labeled tackle box:


When you are studying rocks and minerals, you should really go ahead and do some experiments on the rocks, like plopping them into vinegar to watch them fizz. Here is a free PDF from the National Museum of Natural History. Scroll down and print out the last page for your kids. This is a chart. Go ahead and do the different experiments listed in the PDF, and have your kids enter the results into their charts. Place the chart into your Earth and Space notebook.

We have now arrived at our grand finale, our pièce de résistance:

How to Make Edible Sedimentary Rocks:

Caves Unit Study

Monday, February 24th, 2014

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: