Have your kids ever asked you “How are mountains made?” ? My oldest has asked before, although what she was calling a mountain at the time was really just a big hill but to her it was a mountain. I tried to explain to her about plate tectonics and convergent boundaries but well lets be honest she is only six and that is a lot for a six year old to understand. So I thought why not show her with a fun science experiment that she could even eat at the end (my girls at totally motivated by yummy treats!).
I got the idea for this experiment from my Sis who teaches Science in High School. She actually did this experiment with her students and said that they all really enjoyed it (and yes she let them eat it too after they were done). Even though this was an experiment she did with high schoolers I thought the concept was still at a level that my girls could understand.
My little one who is two was not really sure what we were doing and was much more interested in eating the whip cream than seeing how a mountain was made. By my oldest got it and thought the whole thing was pretty cool. I am pretty confident that she understands how mountains are made now and in the future we may try and get into some of the other types of plate tectonics when she is curious about something else.
What is happening with this experiment? Plate Tectonics is just a theory at this point but one that many scientist believe to be true. There are three different types of plate tectonic boundaries divergent, convergent, and transform plate boundaries. In this experiment we are testing the Convergent Boundaries, where two plates push together and form mountains. The kids will see that when they push the graham crackers together they push upwards to form a mountain.
- Graham Crackers (2 for each child)
- Whip Cream
- A Plate
- Bowl of water
Spread the whip cream on to your plate
Dip each graham cracker in the water (for just a second, you don’t want them too mushy)
Lay your graham crackers on the whip cream wet sides facing each other
Push your graham crackers together to see how they form a mountain
You have made a mountain, now you can eat it!