The Sand Lab
This lab has students inspect sand samples under magnification and make observations on the sand's grain size, sorting, roundness of grains, and composition. It's geared toward high school level but can be adjusted for lower grades also.
VIDEO OVERVIEW: How to Do the Sand Lab
I put together a video to introduce the lab to other teachers (click here or below.)
VIDEO: Sand Collection
Student Sand Analysis Sheet (142)
Sand Reference Sheet (sorting, size, shape)
Additional Sand-related Material
1. New York Times Sand article (with video and cool interactive map feature)
The article focuses on Oregon State University's Dr. Rob Holman, a coastal oceanographer with an impressive sand collection. The highlight of the homework is the interactive feature, showing a wide variety of sand from around the globe. NY Times article link is here. Interactive sand map link is here.
2. Podcast: Radiolab's "Fu-Go" episode
Students listen to 19 minutes of a captivating podcast based on real world events during World War II. Sand analysis plays a crucial role in the story (as do some other earth science principles as well.) Student really enjoy this and it's lead to some great class discussions. Link to podcast is here.
3. Close up photos of Sand
Dr. Rob Holman (Oregon State University) created a "Sand Quiz" that highlights 25 sand samples from around the globe, complete with close up photos and comments. It's totally cool. I find it's best to go through the quiz with your class before doing the lab, as it provides a good introduction to the variety of sand as well as some basic sand analysis skills (e.g. recognizing quartz; determining roundness and degree of sorting). Ways to access:
4. Rob Holman's Google Earth Sand Tour
Rob Holman used his extensive sand collection to create a Google Earth Sand Database. It's nothing short of amazing in its shear scope - there are hundreds of sand samples from every corner of the globe. Just click on a red square to see multiple close up photos of the sand. A tremendous resource. Click below to download the tour (you must have Google Earth installed)