Sedimentary Rock Sand Art

Sedimentary Rock Sand Art
As we began preparing for an upcoming holiday mini-camp in Western North Carolina, we came across a fun science activity that could easily be done at home. Many of you have probably seen sand art which uses colored sand to create a rainbow of layers in a bottle. Well, did you know that this activity is a great way to demonstrate how sedimentary rocks are created?

Sedimentary rocks form thanks to the process of erosion. Wind, water, and ice slowly break apart all types of rocks turning it back into soil, or sediment. As the soil is being deposited from the wind and water on the ground, layers are formed called strata. The sediment builds up and the weight and pressure causes the particles to start sticking or cementing together to make sedimentary rocks. These rocks have layers in them from the sediment that made them. The layers at the bottom are older than the layers at the top because they were deposited first.

Supplies you will need:

  • 8 oz. plastic bottle with cap
  • Playground sand
  • Food Coloring (assorted colors)
  • Plastic container with lid (to mix colors)
  • Funnel
  • Plastic spoon

Instead of purchasing pre-colored sand, you can actually make it at home by following these simple steps:

  • Using a plastic container with lid, add 1 cup playground sand. Then add 10-12 drops of food coloring. Add more drops of food coloring to create the desired color.
  • Secure lid and shake container. Within one or two minutes, the sand particles will absorb and take on the new color.
  • Repeat this process for each color desired.

NOTE: You may want to allow the sand one day to dry otherwise you may find the colors will blend and turn brown once layered within your bottle.

The bottle is going to be the outside of the rock that holds the sediment strata within. Use a plastic spoon to scoop the sediment (colored sand) into the funnel that is placed into the top of the bottle. Using one color at a time, you will make different, colorful layers of stratifications.

Be careful not to shake the bottle up once you have started making your layers because all of the colors will start to combine and it will turn your rock brown.

You can also use different materials or types of sand including:

  • Pea gravel
  • Regular playground sand (without color)
  • Black sand (Silica sand)
  • Crushed sea shells
  • Miniature marbles (only with older children)
  • Rock salt

Weather Fun!

Now that cold weather has arrived Brad Vereen of High Touch High Tech of the Bay Area, California ( has suggested a fun weather experiment you can try at home.

Supplies Needed:
Baby food jar
Alka-seltzer tablet
Pastina (can substitute instant mashed potato flakes)

Experiment: Weather Jar
1. Fill the jar with water about ¾ full
2. Put a few pieces of pastina or mashed potato flakes in the jar
3. Place Aka-seltzer tablet in jar and immediately put the lid on

Watch weather happen before your eyes! See thunder by using pastina (notice how they look like clouds). The pastina will dance up and down simulating the event of thunder as cold air pushes warm air down. You can substitute instant mashed potato flakes for the pastina to create a more dramatic weather event. While it also simulates thunder, it will look like a snowstorm in the jar!


On November 10, High Touch High Tech of Boston visited Plympton Elementary School in Waltham, MA. The 4th graders were engaged for 90 minutes of hands on science experiments with Rocket Ryan as they participated in the action packed program ‘Fun’omena. Students learned about weather phenomena as they erupted volcanoes, simulated earthquakes, talked about hurricanes, and created tornadoes. Students were also “eggscited” to learn about the earth’s structure and forces as they “eggamined” with a hard boiled egg during an “eggsperiment.” Check out an article about the program in The Daily News Tribune by clicking on the following link:
You can also watch a video of Rocket Ryan in action as he counts down to a volcanic eruption with students by clicking on the following link:

Goblin Goo

On Saturday October 25, High Touch High Tech participated in the Town of Fletcher Halloween Carnival at Kate’s Park in Fletcher, NC bringing hands on spooky science fun to the holiday festival. Children dressed in costumes enjoyed mixing orange Goblin Goo concoctions that they took home at our booth with Seismic Shelby. High Touch High Tech also participated in the Boys and Girls Club of Henderson County Halloween Carnival in Hendersonville, NC on Halloween. Over 700 people from the community attended the annual event.

Check out our website by clicking on the following link to find recipes for Goblin Goo and more: