Monday, 18 January 2010

Physical weathering - cracking apart

This is our latest ELI+ activity 'Cracking apart; simulating the weathering of rocks in a desert environment'
Ask pupils to discuss situations where materials expand in the heat and contract in the cold out of doors. Examples might include steel bridges, or concrete roads; in both cases, expansion joints have to be included to allow for the movement. Explain that rocks also expand and contract and that this can lead to their break up. This is a form of physical weathering.
Ask them to investigate how quickly a small granite chip breaks up when it is first held in a Bunsen flame until it glows and is then dunked in a beaker of cold water. Small groups could be challenged to see which is the first group to get its granite chip to break up.
The Earthlearningidea website has lots of ideas for practical science or geography activities.

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