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Let’s Explore!
Activity 1: Only the Strong Survive
1. Obtain 5 sugar cubes and 5 croutons. These materials will simulate rocks of different
composition and hardness. DO NOT EAT ANY OF THE MATERIALS USED
TODAY! Describe their general shapes. Sketch a picture of each.
2. Place the 5 sugar cubes and 5 croutons into a plastic jar; cover with the lid.
What might happen if you started shaking the mixture?
We will simulate weathering and transport over distances by shaking the contents of the
3. Shake the jar for the times given in the table below. After each period of shaking,
describe the contents of the jar. Sketch the sugar cubes and crouton shapes after each
4. Complete the table on the back
5.What happened to the sugar cubes? To the croutons? Explain the reason(s) for the
similarities and differences in responses of the materials to shaking.
6. Now add 5 shell macaroni (to simulate fossil shells or harder materials) to the jar with
the shaken contents. Shake the jar for an additional 1 minute. Observe and describe the
7. What happened to the shell macaroni? Why?
8. The length of time you shook the jar relates to the degree of weathering and/or distance
of transport. How does the increasing weathering time affect the sugar cubes?
9. Besides the remaining sugar "cubes" and shell fragments, what else is in the jar? How
did it get there? What would this material be comparable to on the Earth’s surface?
10. If a particle started out with the shape of a brick, describe or draw what it would look
like after weathering and transport.
Explorations in Earth and Space Science PSC 121 Prince 14 George’s Community College
Only the Strong Will Survive Table
Shaking Time
1 minute
Total Time
1 minute
Additional 2
3 minutes
Additional 2
5 minutes
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