Secrets of the Sand

With the help of these fun facts, you’ll learn more about the production and transformation of glass.

Grade 3-4

Duration : 20 minutes

  • Analysis

  • Discussion

  • Observation


To learn more about sand and glassmaking.


Watch ”Patricia David – Matériel” (English subtitles)

Read the facts as a class.

Discuss what you’ve learned.


Pencils and paper, if needed.

Did you know...?


Sand is defined as a material composed of miniscule grains between 0.02mm and 2mm. By that definition, salt and sugar can be considered types of sand!


Sand is mostly composed of tiny quartz crystals around 1mm. The sand you’d find on the beach also contains fragments of seashells and coral.


Sand is a limited natural resource: it takes several hundred years to form.


Sand can be many different colours: it all depends on what minerals it contains. For example, the sand on the beach at Santorini is black since it’s made up of volcanic rock crystals!


Sand dunes are fundamental for many ecosystems. They protect from strong winds and waves, and offer a safe place for turtles to make their nests.


Sand sticks very easily on wet surfaces – including on your skin after a dip in the sea!


Sand is used in the production of concrete, which is an increasingly rare and precious material.


Glass is made from a mix of sand, limestone, and calcium carbonate. This mixture is then placed in a special oven that reaches 1500°C.


If lightning strikes a sandy beach during a storm, the heat it generates is so powerful that ‘tubes’ of glass called fulgurites are formed on impact.


Glass is infinitely recyclable: it can easily be melted down and reformed without losing any quality.

Food for Thought

Glass can be used for all sorts of things: dishware, beads, window panes, decoration, etc. Look around you: what can you see that’s made of glass?