Academy Curricular Exchange
Columbia Education Center


AUTHOR:   Barb Hawkins, Wabaunsee East USD 330,
          Harveyville, KS

OVERVIEW:  Many Mid-western students are not familiar
with formation or movement of sand dunes.  Students
watch demonstration of the effects of wind (from hair
dryer) on plain sand, then sand with stones and grass,
and record and justify conclusions.  They then examine
their thinking as they figured out how to justify each

GRADE LEVEL/SUBJECT:  Can be modified to fit many
     grade levels.  May be used in science or social

PURPOSE:  This experience will also demonstrate to
students the importance of proper dune management for
conservation purposes.

1.  Students will be able to explain how sand dunes
    are formed.
2.  Students will be able to explain the different
    circumstances that effect the movement of or
    formation of sand dunes.
3.  Students will be able to relate the information
    gathered to soil conservation.

1.   Inquire what students know about sand dunes.
     Connect experiences with shapes of the dunes.
2.   Explain that this experiment is to determine what
     factors affect the kinds of sand dunes the wind
     creates.  Do the following experiment on a table,
     the floor, or outdoors.
     a.  Label the pans A and B.  Place 1.5 liters
         of sand in each.
     b.  In pan B arrange stones and grass in
         different areas throughout the sand.
     c.  Turn the dryer on low speed.  Hold it at a
         45 degree angle, 10 cm from one end of pan
         A. Hold it for 1 minute.  Record all
         observations.  Repeat with pan B.
     d.  Change to high speed on dryer.  Hold it at
         a 45 degree angle, 10 cm from one end of
         pan A for one minute.  Record the effect.
         Repeat with pan B.
     e.  Sketch a diagram of the appearance of the
         sand in each pan.
     f.  Level the sand in pans A and B.  Repeat
         steps c-e for each, blowing the air for 3
         minutes each time.

2-speed hair dryer, 2 flat pans, small grass clumps,
angular stones, 3 liters clean sand, and dustpan and
broom for clean-up.

TYING IT ALL TOGETHER:  Students will have the
opportunity to share results and conclusions with the
other groups. The groups can make comparisons and
contrasts. It is important to draw conclusions as to
how this information might be of interest to those
concerned with soil conservation.

Depending on the curriculum into which this activity is
integrated, the teacher might wish to expand it by the
use of other conservation techniques or into the study
of the rock cycle.


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