Activity 4: Do at Home!

Gorge Dessert

Make a science snack!


Parent instructions:

  1. Upstate New York is famous for it's beautiful gorges, waterfalls, and parks. A gorge is a narrow canyon cut into rock by water.
  2. Visit a local State Park and draw a picture of a gorge.
  3. Then make this gorge(ous) snack!


  • baking pan
  • mixing bowl and spoon
  • brownie mix
  • icing

[Diagram of making the dessert

Step 1: Following the mix directions, prepare the batter and pour into a baking pan and cook.

Step 2: Carefully remove the pan from the oven and let it cool.

Step 3: Cut the brownies into squares and spread icing on the top of each square.

Step 4: On a plate, stack at least two brownies on top of each other. Imagine that these layers of brownies and icing are actually layers of rock formed over millions of years.

Step 5: With a spoon carve a "gorge" into your brownies. The more you eat, the longer and deeper your gorge becomes. Over time as rivers flow over rock they can cut deeper and deeper into the layers.

The holes for the Finger Lakes were cut by the flowing glaciers. The gorges formed where streams entered these holes over a waterfall. The waterfalls eroded the stream valley, cutting a gorge.

Fact: The highest single drop waterfall east of the Mississippi River can be seen in a gorge at Taughannock Falls State Park, 7 miles north of PRI. The waterfall is 215 feet high!

Extension: Make a gorge and lake in a sandbox.

Main Message: The layered rocks and the landforms in New York were formed different times. First sediment was laid down in layers at the bottom of an ancient sea, and then much more recently, at the end of the Ice Age, erosion by water carved the gorges out of the layered rocks.

Connections: Activity 1, "Make a Fossil Sandwich," is about how fossils are preserved by layers of sediment. Activity 2 introduces the concept that glaciers scraped and carried rocks as they moved.


The Paleontological Research Institution
1259 Trumansburg Road
Ithaca, NY 14850 phone: 607-273-6623 fax: 607-273-6620
Questions about the Website? Tell us!