Welcome to Clip from Spiral logo

Interactive video lesson plan for: How You Can Survive Quicksand

Activity overview:

Don't let Hollywood fool you -- quicksand is not an automatic death sentence. In fact, escaping it is easier than you might think.

Learn more at

Share on Facebook:
Share on Twitter:
Visit our site:

Do you live in fear of dying in quicksand? Sure, we all do. But you have to carry on with life and I can make that easier for you. Quicksand, despite its fearsome reputation as swallower of hapless adventurers in places like Gilligan’s Island or -- more arcanely, Fantasy Island – is really just a little baby lamb of a hazard, if you know how to treat it.

Quicksand is merely a combination of sand, clay and water. Theoretically it can occur anywhere these three come together, but it’s typical in marshland, at beaches, near lakes, in swamps. The usual.

Quicksand is created when water seeps up into sand and doesn’t evaporate; it just stays put. The water saturates the sand, loosening the force of friction that normally holds dry sand particles together and creates a stable whole. The presence of water destabilizes sand, creating what’s called a colloid hydrogel. When you or Gilligan find yourself standing on a colloid hydrogel, you will sink.

What saves you is buoyancy. Simply put, water – plain old water – has a density of about 1 gram per cubic centimeter. The human body has an average density just slightly less than that. So ipso facto, humans tend to float in water. Quicksand is about twice as dense as water, which means that a human can float on quicksand like nobody’s business.

The key is remaining calm. Despite what people think, quicksand is usually just a couple of feet deep, not some bottomless pit.

Let’s spell out what to do in the nightmare scenario: Say you’re stuck up to your waist in a pit of quicksand and you can’t feel the bottom with your feet. You’re in a delicate situation. Do you struggle wildly? Do you pull your leg out as quick as you can? No! To pull your leg from quicksand it would take about the same amount of force required to lift a sedan. You wouldn’t want your friends to tie a rope around you and pull you out with a car, either: That would tear you clean in half!

The reason you’re so stuck is because the sand and water were mixed together by the introduction of you to it, making the quicksand more viscous. It’s harder to pull free from than to fall into.

What you want to do is gently wiggle your leg free. This allows water to seep into the space created by your leg movements. This saturates the quicksand, reducing its viscosity, and eventually lets you pull it free. Repeat with the other leg.

As you get more appendages and body parts free, lay back and spread out on top of the quicksand. That increases your surface area, giving you an even better opportunity to float. Once you have your body free and you’re on top of the quicksand, paddle calmly the heck out of there forever and never go back there ever again.


"Gilligan's Island" is the property of Warner Bros. Television.
Link to original clip:


Tagged under: brainstuff,brain stuff,howstuffworks, stuff works,science,technology,josh clark,Stuff You Should Know (Broadcast Content),quicksand,quick sand,sand,beach, quicksand work, quicksand kill ,colloid hydrogel

Clip makes it super easy to turn any public video into a formative assessment activity in your classroom.

Add multiple choice quizzes, questions and browse hundreds of approved, video lesson ideas for Clip

Make YouTube one of your teaching aids - Works perfectly with lesson micro-teaching plans

Play this activity

1. Students enter a simple code

2. You play the video

3. The students comment

4. You review and reflect

* Whiteboard required for teacher-paced activities

Share on:

Share How You Can Survive Quicksand on Google+ Share How You Can Survive Quicksand on Twitter Share How You Can Survive Quicksand on Facebook Pin How You Can Survive Quicksand Email How You Can Survive Quicksand

Ready to see what else Spiral logo can do?

With four apps, each designed around existing classroom activities, Spiral gives you the power to do formative assessment with anything you teach.


Carry out a quickfire formative assessment to see what the whole class is thinking


Create interactive presentations to spark creativity in class

Team Up

Student teams can create and share collaborative presentations from linked devices


Turn any public video into a live chat with questions and quizzes

1000s of teachers use Spiral to deliver awesome, engaging activities that capture students' understanding during lessons.

Now it's your turn Sign up

Spiral Reviews by Teachers and Digital Learning Coaches

Review of Spiral by teacher: Kathryn Laster @kklaster

Tried out the canvas response option on @SpiralEducation & it's so awesome! Add text or drawings AND annotate an image! #R10tech

Review of Spiral by teacher: Room 220 Math Stars @3rdgradeBCE

Using @SpiralEducation in class for math review. Student approved! Thumbs up! Thanks.

Review of Spiral by teacher: Miss Ord @ordmiss

Absolutely amazing collaboration from year 10 today. 100% engagement and constant smiles from all #lovetsla #spiral

Review of Spiral by teacher: Adam J. Stryker @strykerstennis

Students show better Interpersonal Writing skills than Speaking via @SpiralEducation Great #data #langchat folks!

Review of Spiral by teacher: Dr Ayla Göl @iladylayla

A good tool for supporting active #learning.

Review of Spiral by teacher: Brett Erenberg @BrettErenberg

The Team Up app is unlike anything I have ever seen. You left NOTHING out! So impressed!

Get the Clip Chrome Extension & Create Video Lessons in Seconds

Add Clip to Chrome