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Geology from a Beaker: Student Activities in Earth Science

The Science Teacher—July/August 2024 (Volume 91, Issue 4)

By Jr. Miller

Student activities based on deposition in a beaker introduce Walther’s Law, which states that, if uninterrupted, vertical deposition is duplicated in the horizontal. When gravel, sand, and clay (mud) are stirred in a beaker of water, they settle out predictably. The heaviest (gravel) deposits first, then sand, and, finally, clay. This is Walther’s Law in the vertical. The same sequence is seen in streams flowing into the sea. Gravel settles out first, followed by sand and clay. This is Walther’s Law in the horizontal. Activities in this article use Walther’s Law to introduce high school Earth-science students to stream deposition, shifting shorelines, and regional deposition.

Earth & Space Science Labs High School

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