Erosion Experiment

The theme for this week’s Storybook Science posts is Earth and Space Science. We read In the Canyon and were inspired to learn more about erosion. This simple erosion experiment is a fun way to explore water, wind, and glacial erosion. Do you know which one formed the Grand Canyon?  Affiliate links are included in this post. Clicking on the book titles or covers will take you to Amazon.

Learn about erosion with these simple earth science experiments for kids.


In the Canyon

In the Canyon by Liz Garton Scanlon follows a child on her first hike down into the Grand Canyon as she experiences all of the sights and sounds of the canyon. The artwork is stunning and the story is indeed grand.

Erosion Experiment

This experiment looks at 3 types of erosion: water, wind, and glacial. Erosion occurs when the Earth’s surface is worn away. The Grand Canyon was formed by water erosion. Can wind and glacial erosion make a big impact, too?

Materials Needed:

  • 3 containers of soil (shoe box size works well)
  • Spray bottle of water
  • Straw
  • Ice

Pile soil onto one side of each of the containers to make a slope (or hill).

erosion experiment set up

Simulate water erosion by using a spray bottle of water. Spray the water onto the top of the soil in one container. What happens to the water? What happens to the soil? The picture below shows what happened for us. The water ran down the hill and pushed some of the soil out of the way. It carved a channel in the dirt.

Water erosion experiment

Simulate wind erosion by using a straw. Blow air through the straw onto the top of the hill.

wind erosion experiment

What happens to the soil? Does it move? The picture below shows our results. The wind moved the soil down the hill. You can try this experiment without the hill, too. What happens if you have flat soil? Will the soil still be moved by the wind? What happens if you add trees or other structures? Do you get the same amount of erosion?

wind erosion experiment

Simulate glacial erosion using ice cubes. Place a few ice cubes at the top of the hill. What will happen when you push them down the hill?

glacial erosion experiment

The picture below shows our results. The ice moved quite a bit of soil down the hill – more than our water or wind. What would happen if the soil were flat here? Would the ice still be able to move it as much?

glacial erosion experiment

This simple erosion experiment lets kids see the effects of water, wind, and ice on the soil.

Storybook Science Series

This post is also a part of the Storybook Science series. Every day in March, bloggers will be sharing science activities inspired by a book. Be sure to follow along!

Storybook Science Series featuring science activities inspired by children's books

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