Examine the ways in which water can weather rocks, by solution and by freeze-thaw. Simulations of erosion by running water and by wind are also provided.

If you teach primary science, see the headings below to find out how to use this resource:

Skill development

Children will develop their working scientifically skills by:

  • Selecting and planning the most appropriate ways to answer science questions, recognising and controlling variables where necessary, including:
    • Carrying out comparative tests.
  • Drawing conclusions and raising further questions that could be investigated, based on their data and observations.
  • Using appropriate scientific language and ideas to explain, evaluate and communicate their methods and findings.

Learning outcomes

Children will:

  • Compare and group together different kinds of rocks on the basis of their appearance and simple physical properties.

Concepts supported

Children will learn:

  • That rocks can be weathered and eroded in different ways.
  • That the properties and formation of rocks can determine how rocks are affected by the different types of weathering.
  • What the terms ‘porous’ and ‘permeable’ mean, and how these properties can lead to phenomena such as pot holes.

Suggested activity use

Activities 1 to 4 can be done as a whole-class investigations set up as a carousel. Alternatively, groups of children could carry out the individual activities and feedback their findings to the rest of the class. Activity 5 is great for stimulating discussions; however, it will need to be carried out as a demonstration due to the health and safety risks involved.

These activities are a good starting point for leading onto learning about fossils and sedimentary rocks.

Practical considerations

If the activities were to be carried out as a carousel, then a whole afternoon would probably be required.

Copper(II) sulfate can be difficult to acquire in primary schools. Copper(II) sulfate is harmful as a solid or a concentrated solution.

A thorough risk assessment and other health and safety considerations will need to be taken into account, particularly with the use of copper(II) sulfate in activity 5.