Fold mountains

Do you know how mountains are made?

You can join Captain Zoom and his science friends Amy and Mark on Let’s Find Out. Climb aboard the Curiosity spacecraft for exciting experiences, curious kids, and journeys to faraway places.

It’s all produced with support from Science Foundation Ireland and you can watch it anytime on RTÉ Player.

In this experiment, Zoom discovers that rivers are made in the mountains. But then she wants to know how mountains are made, so Hanna and Lia demonstrate – using towels!

With an adult present, why not try it yourself or at school with your class?

You will need:

  • Three napkins of different colors.
  • Sprinkled blue food
  • A blue ribbon

What to do:

  • First, fold the napkins in half, lengthwise.
  • Stack each towel on top of each other for three colorful layers.
  • These represent the layers of the outer part of the Earth, called the crust.
  • Place the towels on a flat surface and start pushing them slowly from the ends to the center. Your towels will start to fold into mounds that look like mountains.
  • Once your towel mountains are as big as you want them to be, it’s time to think about something else that forms around mountains…rivers.
  • Start by sprinkling some of the blue food nuggets on the mountain tops, notice how the nuggets start to pile up and fall down the side of the mountain.
  • Then add the blue ribbon from the top of the mountains to the side, which represents the river forming.
Hanna and Lia perform the experiment!

The bit of knowledge…

The towels represent the layers that make up the earth’s crust. Some mountains form when they push against each other, causing the ground to bulge upwards. Of course, it doesn’t go fast like in this demonstration… It can take millions of years for a mountain to form.

Rivers often start in the mountains; Rain falling on top of mountains can accumulate and begin to run down the side of the mountain. The blue nuggets represent rain. If enough rainwater is added, it can become a river which is the blue ribbon in this demonstration.

Check out the RTÉ Player to watch the full episode HERE and all the series so far HERE!!

AND there are many more experiments with full videos and instructions – Just Click HERE!