I used this lab as an opening to my high school Earth Science course. It is titled "Go With the Flow." It is a very simple way to introduce/review the scientific method with students as well as get them used to working with ROCKS. **I believe this lab would fit perfectly into a middle school general science class as well!
Materials needed include: sand, gravel, water, timers, and beakers. The beakers used to hold the sand and gravel should be plastic because you will need to poke small holes through the bottoms of them.
Students are first asked to write a hypothesis as to which substance will allow water to flow through it more quickly. They are then asked to design their procedures, carry out the lab, record data, and write their conclusions. This lab can easily be completed in one 40-50 min. period.
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