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Erosion and Floods

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Erosion and Floods

In this activity, learners create models of erosion and floods and learn to recognize both in their environment. Using sand, wax paper, and water, learners observe the processes of erosion and flooding. Erosion in the natural world is the gradual wearing away of rock and soil by physical breakdown, chemical solution and transportation of material caused by wind, water or ice. Flooding is the overflow of a very large amount of water from a source, such as a river or lake, into a previously dry area. This activity can be found on pages 48-49 of the activity guide.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
1 to 2 hours

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration, Model


Materials List (per group of students)

  • A cookie sheet pan
  • Wax paper
  • 1 cups of sand
  • 1 sifter
  • eyedropper
  • Paper towels
  • A thick book for propping up the tray
  • Worksheet – Modeling Erosion and Floods
  • Observation Sheet
  • masking tape


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Processes
      • Weather and Climate
    • Earth Structure
      • Rocks and Minerals
      • Oceans and Water

Informal Categories

  • Model Building
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection:

  • Science After School Consumer's Guide


  • All Rights Reserved, TERC, ©2007

Funding Sources:

  • NASA, NAS5-26555
  • National Science Foundation, NSF 9730728


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