The following class projects are designed to enhance any of our classroom lesson plans. The Cave Development project covers the formation of a cave, the Cave Life project focuses on the unique life inside some caves and how it exists, and the Living in Cave Country project is designed to give a better understanding of the responsibilities that come with living in a karst area. All projects are provided free-of-charge and can be modified as needed.What is Karst? Cave Art
This classroom activity will give students a hands-on experience creating their own cave. Individuals should come away with an understanding of the relationship between water and soluble rock.
sugar cubes, modeling clay, transparent glass or plastic dish, water, tooth picks
Divide students into teams of 3 or 4. Their task is to recreate a hill in a karst terrain, according to the directions below:
1. Have each team stack sugar cubes 6 wide, 6 deep, and 6 high to represent the limestone or dolomite bedrock. One side should be placed against the side of their container.
2. Next green modeling clay should be rolled out flat. This will represent grass on the hills outer surface. Cover the bedrock with the modeling clay. The side that is against the glass container should be left uncovered to view the experiment. Before proceeding, all edges where the clay meets the container should be pressed down and sealed tightly.
3.Additional clay can be used to decorate with surface features such as trees and houses.
4. Using a tooth pick, teams should create a hole by piercing the modeling clay gently, preferably near the exposed viewing side. Also using the tooth pick teams should create a second opening in the same fashion. This one should be located near the base of the "hill".
Now each team can slowly pour water onto their hilltop in small increments. The water will filter down through the hole at the top. The sugar will slowly erode and come out of the "spring" opening at the bottom.
Each time water enters the hilltop a little more bedrock is eroded and will leave behind passageways. As more and more water is added, the bedrock will erode to a point that the surface collapses forming a sinkhole.
Follow up with a discussion about the life of a cave. Starting as small passageways filled with water emptying at a spring and ending at a natural bridge or deep valley.
This classroom activity will give students a hands-on experience creating prehistoric paints and prehistoric cave art. Individuals should come away with a better understanding of early man's struggles to create pigments and paints; then to create images on rocky surfaces.
charcoal crushed to a fine powder, multiple colors of dirt (black, red clay, etc.), lard, crushed berries of different colors, bowls to mix paints, paint brushes, stones with a relatively flat surface, (poured concrete pavers will also work).
Students can be divided into small groups, however this project works best with each individual creating their own prehistoric work of art. It is best to mix up paints ahead of time and then let your students create smaller quantities to appreciate the process.
1. To create blacks, reds, and browns, mix one of the materials -charcoal, clay, or dirt - with the lard. It will take a few tries to get the consistency right. If it is too dry, add more lard; if it is too wet, add more material.
2. Reds and purples can be made by crushing raspberries or blackberries and diluting slightly with water. If you prefer, powdered tempera paints can be used to represent different things in the environment; yellow for sulfur, brown for dirt, orange for clay, red and purple for berries, etc.