Cookies and the earth’s surface

Students in Christie Warnecke’s fourth-grade classroom at Indian Lake Elementary School recently have been investigating the similar properties between the earth’s surface and a popular snack item.


Indian Lake Elementary School fourth-grader Kaleb Hurley demonstrates how water droplets are added to a cookie creates “weathering” by dissolving some of the materials and causing them to break down. (PHOTO | INDIAN LAKE SCHOOLS)

By using a chocolate chip cookie experiment, the pupils have learned about weathering, erosion and deposition.

When two cookies are rubbed together, small crumbs break away from the cookie, just like when rocks rub together. This represents weathering, or the breaking down of rocks.

Also to demonstrate weathering, students added water droplets (representing rain) to a cookie. During this process, some of the minerals in rocks are dissolved and broken down.

Erosion occurs when that debris (represented by the crumbs) are picked up and carried away. To demonstrate this, the students picked up their crumb-covered paper towel and tilted one end down. Participants observed the crumbs rolling “downhill.”

Once the crumbs came to rest, they were in a pile. That pile represented deposition, which is the dropping or depositing of sediment which can create new landforms on the earth’s surface.