Build a Mountain Range

How do mountain ranges form? You have been studying several ways that Earth's surface is built up. In this activity, you and a family member can see how the Himalaya Mountains were formed. You will model plates of Earth's crust crashing together!


Two slabs of clay rippled as they're pushed together.


Ask an adult to help you make two slabs of modeling clay, each about an inch thick. Cut out a piece of plastic wrap, waxed paper, or construction paper the same size as each square of clay. Place them under each piece of clay. This will help the clay slide along your work surface. Slide the pieces of clay into each other, and continue pressing together after they touch. Repeat this process by sliding the pieces at different speeds and by pressing with different amounts of force. Observe the results.


What happened after the pieces of clay came into contact and were pushed together? Did one piece slide under the other? Did they both go up where they came into contact? Did “mountains” form at the point where they came into contact or away from there? Did the speed or force change the results.