Skip Navigation

Particle Size and Density

Time Frame:
1 class period that runs 70 minutes.

Group Size:


To collect and test a variety of Earth materials to see the effects of particle size and density.

Main Curriculum Tie:
SEEd - Grade 7 (2017)
Strand 7.2: Changes to Earth over time 7.2.2

Construct an explanation based on evidence for how processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales. Examples of processes that occur at varying time scales could include slow plate motions or rapid landslides. Examples of processes that occur at varying spatial scales could include uplift of a mountain range or deposition of fine sediments.


  • sand, rock, gravel, clay, dirt, soil
  • stereoscopes or microscopes (optional)
  • canning jars with lids
  • glass microscope slides
  • student sheet (see below)


Instructional Procedures:

  1. Assign students to bring in soils, dirt, gravel or any other Earth material that is loose in their yards. A small baggie full will be enough. If students are working in groups, only one person per group needs to bring soil.
  2. In class, have students prepare slides of the material they brought in and observe and draw it under the stereoscope or microscope (low power only). If the microscopes or stereoscopes are not available a hand lens will also work.
  3. Have students mix their materials with water in a jar. The jar should be half full of the Earth material and half full of water. If students are working in groups they can mix the materials they brought.
  4. A lid should be placed on the jar and the students should shake it thoroughly. Allow it to settle for 2 minutes.
  5. Students should draw the jar and identify what is in the layers based on their observations through the microscope.
  6. Students should answer the analysis questions and clean up.

Assessment Plan:
Scoring guide:
1. Students draw detailed view through microscope..….4
2. Students match microscopic view to results in jar……4
3. Student correctly answer analysis questions………….4

Lesson Design by Jordan School District Teachers and Staff.

Utah LessonPlans

Created Date :
Oct 01 2014 08:12 AM

© Utah Education Network in partnership with the Utah State Board of Education and Higher Ed Utah.
UEN does not endorse and is not responsible for content on external websites linked to from this page.
(800) 866-5852     |     KUEN CPB Compliance    |     Web Accessibility     |     Captioning