Quicksand is sand that becomes over-saturated, or completely soaked, with water. There are science projects that can be conducted to illustrate the properties of sand when completely soaked and the problems that can occur when objects are immersed in quicksand. Help your students choose the type of quicksand project they like best, depending on the properties and information they want to present in their final project.
Basic Quicksand Formula
Make a rendition of quicksand by mixing 1 cup of cornflour and 1/2 cup of water in a large, plastic container.
Determine if Quicksand is a Solid or Liquid
To illustrate if quicksand is a solid or liquid, obtain several different objects, such as pencils, candy or coins. Weigh the objects and record the results. Drop the objects into the homemade quicksand from varying heights. Record the results. Indicate if all objects sank in the quicksand. You should notice that as objects touch the quicksand, it solidifies, indicating that quicksand is both a solid and a liquid.
Ideal fluids, or Newtonian fluids, have a constant viscosity, or resistance to flow. Quicksand does not have a constant viscosity. To prove this, set up an experiment making quicksand. Add three drops of food coloring of your choice to a quicksand mixture. Pick up the instant quicksand and squeeze it in your hands. Record the results. Roll the quicksand into a ball and open your hand. Hit the ball of quicksand with a spoon. Record the results. Place a paper clip on it. Record the results. Now try to cut the quicksand with scissors. You should observe more resistance with each maneuver, proving that quicksand is a non-Newtonian fluid.
Create Poster Presentation
Students can create a poster presentation using a three-fold poster board. Indicate all facts of quicksand, such as its locations near rivers, swamps and beaches. Try drawing a world map with well-known areas where quicksand is found. Put a section on the poster board explaining how quicksand is made from super-saturation of water. In addition, include a section on what happens if you get caught in quicksand and how to get out of it. (You should lie down on either your stomach or back to allow yourself to float. If you struggle, you will sink in the quicksand.) Furthermore, create homemade quicksand to illustrate how objects sink in quicksand. Instruct students to present both their poster and instant quicksand to their classmates.
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