Why is there sand at the beach?
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Why is there sand at the beach?
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DISCUSS (1 of 2):

Why do you think the sand is purple?

DISCUSS (2 of 2):

Imagine you were at Pfeiffer Beach. How could you look for clues to help you solve the mystery of where the purple sand comes from?

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DISCUSS:

Can you think of a way tiny pieces of these rocks could move from the mountains all the way to the beach?

Hint...

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DISCUSS: What do you think would happen if the rocks in the river crashed into each other? Could this explain how there’s sand at the beach?

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Image & Video Credits

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Exploration
kids at the beach by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: bikeriderlondon
white sand beach by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Rob Marmion
girl on the beach by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: ori-artiste
sand castle by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Kris Wiktor
Southwick Beach State Park by Easchiff
hand in sand by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: kasidit
kid at Pfieffer Beach by The Offshore Aquaholic
purple sand by The Offshore Aquaholic
purple sand beach by Carson
kid holding sand by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Albina Glisic
footprints on purple beach by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: mhgstan
hand holding purple sand by Akos Kokai
magnifiying glass by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: underworld
close up of sand by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Mr Twister
zoomed view of sand by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: AlexussK
green sand beach by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Alexander Demyanenko
close up of green sand by Brian W. Schaller
cliffs facing the beach by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Noradoa
close up of cliff by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: jennyt
scuba diver by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Rostislav Ageev
Lepidolite (purple rock) by Spirit Rock Shop
purple mountains by Gonzo fan2007
falling rocks sign by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Michael Leslie
rock crashing down mountain by Joraj Dason
beach flooding by Muhammad Moolla
fast flowing river by Hayk Arakelyan
rocks flowing down river by Internet Geography
big blue waves by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: bus109
chair and beach umbrella by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Aleks Melnik
clouds by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: nikiteev_konstantin
mountains sillhouette by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Alex Ghidan
ocean concept by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Nikita Konashenkov
sand texture by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Ursa Major
Rainbow Beach by Cassarazzi
green rock by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Helen Cingisiz
hornocal by Lahi
close up of rainbow beach by cordyceps
stream on the beach by Humphrey Bolton
Activity
rushing river in Smoky Mountains by GreatSmokyMountains (© GSMA 2010. All rights reserved.)
turtles by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Dmitri Ma
rushing river by fccysf
Print Prep
Activity Prep

In this lesson, students investigate the effects of rocks tumbling in a river. Based on their observations, they construct an explanation for why there is sand at a beach. In the activity, Rocking the River, students pretend to be a river and tear up pieces of construction paper to model what happens to rocks as they travel along the river.

COVID-19 Adaptations
Students can work solo
Digital worksheets available
See our advice below
Students need a printout

Students at home
When students are working solo, each student needs 3 sheets of construction paper, a Draw the River Rocks worksheet and the 5-page Rocking the River printout. Note: There is a digital version of Draw the River Rocks, but Rocking the River needs to be printed out.
Students at school
When students are working solo, each student needs 3 sheets of construction paper, a Draw the River Rocks worksheet and a 5-page Rocking the River printout.
No activity prep.
Extensions
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