Core Sampling Science Project

Core Sampling

Core samples are taken for many different reasons. A core sample can tell scientists how old rock is, what the fluid content is, and even where to find gas or oil.

In this project, we’re going to show you how to get hands on with core sampling by using something that most kids love. Playdough!

You can set this project up in advance for your class or use this idea as a hands-on addition to a science fair project!

What you’ll need:

* 1 small bread pan
* 5 or 6 plastic drinking straws
* enough playdough to layer inside the pan as deep as you’d like. (example: orange for sand of clay, blue for water, brown for top soil, etc.)

(Parents and Teachers: Make sure that you create a color coding chart for your core samples!)


1. Layer the playdough inside the bread pan making sure that your top soil color is on top and the rest of your types of rock and soil are in thin lines or large “pockets” to simulate your area of the land that you’re taking core samples from.

2. Once done with your layering, push a straw down through an area of the playdough and wiggle it slightly once you reach the bottom.

3. Extract that straw.

4. Hold the straw up and pinch the straw right above the dough inside the straw. Pinch the dough out of the straw and take a look at your core sample.

5. What is your sample comprised of? Did you hit hard rock? Sand? Did you find oil? Water?

6. Write down your core sample findings!

Bonus Idea: Send your young student on a mission to find the perfect spot to dig. Are they after water? Oil? Sand? Backstories and missions are motivational!

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