Earth Day: Sand Art

Earth day is happening in just a few days on April 22nd. Earth day started all the way back in 1970 and is celebrated every year around the world to support and protect our planet. Today we are going to learn a little about this planet we call, Earth, all while doing a fun sand art activity.  

But, in order to do sand art, we need to make sand right? If you happen to have colored sand at home, good for you! But for those of you who don’t, we are going to make our own.  

So what we need are 5 sandwich baggies, food coloring and salt. I hope you all have that handy. OK. Let’s put half a cup of salt into each of the baggies. This will make way more than we need but better to have more than less, right?  

Let’s pick one of those baggies and add around 8-10 drops of GREEN food coloring. Don’t add too much or else it will make our “sand” too wet and we won’t be able to use it right away. Then I want you to squeeze out as much air from the bag as possible and zipper it shut. Shake and move around your salt until the food coloring has spread around evenly. Crack open your baggie and move on to the next.  

We are going to repeat this with, RED, YELLOW and BLUE. To make orange-ish sand, we will do 4 drops of RED and 4 drops of YELLOW food coloring in our last baggie of salt.  

Now we are ready to get started.  

OK. Hopefully you all printed your template of the Earth and it’s layers before we started, if not, grab a blank piece of paper and you can follow along with me. You’ll see we have a funny picture of the Earth, right? Well, the Earth is made up of different layers, think of an onion. We are going to color and label each of these layers. Let’s work our way in. Does anyone know what the top layer of the Earth is called? 

BLUE – Crust – The crust is the thin outer later of the Earth where we all live. It may look pretty tiny from the picture but it can be anywhere from 3 to 44 miles thick. But compared to the rest of the layers it is relatively thin.  

GREEN – Upper Mantel – begins just beneath the crust and ends at the top of the lower mantle. It is relatively solid. The upper mantle causes the tectonic plates to move and is about 255 miles thick. Heat from the center of the earth can cause these big slabs of earth to move or slip, which causes earth quakes.  

YELLO – Lower Mantel – Reaches down 1796 miles beneath the crust, where it transitions to the outer core. It is made from solid rock. The rock is hot enough to melt, but is solid because of the pressure pushing down on it. 

ORANGE – Outer Core – The Earth’s outer core is made up of iron and nickel and is very hot, up to 5000+ degrees C. The outer core is very important to earth as it creates something called a magnetic field. The magnetic field the outer core creates goes way out in to space and makes a protective barrier around the earth that shields us from the sun’s damaging solar wind. 

RED – Inner Core – The Earth’s inner core is made up of iron and nickel, just like the outer core, but the inner core is so deep within the earth that it’s under so much pressure that, even though it is so hot, it is solid. The inner core is the hottest part of the Earth, and, at over 5000 degrees C, is about as hot as the surface of the sun. 

Fun Facts about the Earth: 

  • Earth is the 3rd planet of the sun 
  • By researching our planet’s rocks, scientists have calculated the Earth to be around 4.5 billion years old! 
  • The Earth is a Goldilocks Planet. It is not too far or too close to the sun. It is just right.  
  • 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water and the oceans hold about 96.5 percent of all Earth’s water. 
  • There are thousands of satellites circling the Earth. Some for communication, some to study the Earth itself and some to study the universe beyond. 
  • Even though you might think you are standing still, the Earth is turning. The speed at the equator is around 1,000 mph. 

How’d it go:

A pretty simple program to prep and run. Overall, it went really well–minus by glue bottle not cooperating at first. Unless you want to make A LOT of salt/sand, I would recommend halving or more the recipe. I used 1/8th cup of salt this time around and 4 drops of food coloring and I still had a TON left over.

Gotta love crafting mixed with science!

That’s all for now!

-M-