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The Kid Should See This

Erosion demonstration: Comparing grass, dead leaves, and soil

How does water change the land? What’s the best way to maintain land over time? In this easy-to-replicate erosion demonstration from FunScienceDemos, elementary school teacher Jared Hottenstein demonstrates what happens when soil is paired with leaf debris or plants.

Watch as he pours equal amounts of water into three soda bottle slices of nature: one with growing grass, one with dead leaves on top, and one with soil alone. What do you think will happen? Will soil erode or wash away as the water drains out of the bottles?

erosion demonstration
From National Geographic‘s Resource Library:

Erosion is the geological process in which earthen materials are worn away and transported by natural forces such as wind or water. A similar process, weathering, breaks down or dissolves rock, but does not involve movement.

Erosion is the opposite of deposition, the geological process in which earthen materials are deposited, or built up, on a landform.

Most erosion is performed by liquid water, wind, or ice (usually in the form of a glacier). If the wind is dusty, or water or glacial ice is muddy, erosion is taking place. The brown color indicates that bits of rock and soil are suspended in the fluid (air or water) and being transported from one place to another. This transported material is called sediment.

jared takes a closer look at the grass
The FunScienceDemos YouTube channel from Temple University’s College of Science and Technology has dozens of earth and space science, physical science, life science, science practices, and engineering demonstrations for K-12 teachers, students, and parents.

Fun Science Demos is also on Instagram.

Watch these related erosion, soil, roots, and geology videos:
Earth’s Hydrosphere and Geosphere + Weathering and Erosion with Crash Course Kids
• Why are mangrove trees so important?
Think Like a Tree – Problem solving with nature’s best ideas
• The Wood Wide Web: How trees secretly talk to and share with each other

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