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The Mystery of the Saylorville Stones

This video shows large boulders that have been moved along the banks of the Saylorville Reservoir while mysteriously leaving smaller stones undisturbed.

Saylorville Reservoir, Iowa

Possible Guiding, Compelling and/or Anchoring Questions

  • How did these stones move?
  • How much force would be needed to move these stones?

Classroom Suggestions

  • This would be a great lesson for discussions on water’s phase changes and the ability of water to change and modify the surface of the earth.  
  • There is also an opportunity to connect this back to some basic physics concepts like force, work, and friction. 
  • This phenomenon provides a great inquiry platform into discussions of the water cycle.

Related Resources

Iowa Core Alignment

Earth and Space Science
High School (9-12)
Disciplinary Core Idea
ESS2: Earth’s Systems

Credit Info

Submitted by Ryan Lensing.


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