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Science - 5th Grade
Standard 2 Objective 1
Science - 5th Grade
Standard 2 Objective 2
The students will be able to use models to demonstrate the effect of mountain building, weathering and erosion forces on the surface of the Earth.
Invitation to Learn
Centers Materials listed are for 6 teams to complete each activity at the same time. Materials may be adjusted if the activities are done as demonstrations or part of center rotations.
Weathering and erosion scavenger hunt:
The surface of the Earth is constantly changing. Earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, and flooding can make quick changes. Other changes, like weathering, erosion, and uplift happen slowly over long periods of time. It is often difficult for students to gain an understanding and appreciation of the forces that shape and reshape the Earth, but by involving students in simulations and observations of local situations they can begin to see how these forces of nature affect their daily lives. Many of these simulations require the use of dirt and water. Some teachers may be reluctant to bring this mess into their classroom or do the necessary preparations, but to get students interested it is helpful to involve them in hands‐on activities. One way to make the mess more manageable and minimize the preparation is to move outside. Find a corner of the playground where you can dig up some dirt. This may mean removing a small patch of sod, but it can be replaced when you are finished without causing too much damage. It is also important to get your students outside to explore their environment in search of the effects of weather and erosion. Therefore, you may want to plan to conduct your Earth studies during a season when the weather is most conducive to being out of doors.
Students love to be outside, but when you take the classroom outside they may need to be taught appropriate behaviors, because they may feel that since they are not in the classroom, recess behaviors are OK.
Observe simple objects, patterns, and events and report their observations.
Invitation to Learn:
For this Invitation to Learn you will need a small bucket of Duplo or Lego blocks and the following signs for students to wear around their neck with an attached string:
Call up two or three students and hang Uplift signs around their necks, and give them the bucket of Duplo or Lego blocks. Instruct them to build a mountain with the blocks. Give them a few minutes to work on the mountain while you explain to the class that these students represent the forces that build up high places on the surface of the Earth, or uplift. Uplift is caused by volcanoes and earthquakes. Write the words on the board.
After the mountain is completed, call up two or three students to be Weathering Forces. Place the signs on the students and instruct them to break off parts of the mountain. They should not break down the whole mountain. The broken‐off pieces should just be left lying near or on the mountain. Next call up two or three more students, place the Erosion Forces signs on their necks, and have them carry the broken‐off parts of the mountain and deposit them in other places in the room.
Introduce the terms weather, erosion and deposition and write them on the board. Explain that, like in this simulation, weathering breaks down rocks into smaller and smaller pieces. Ask the class to name forces that might be able to break apart the rocks that make up mountains. List their responses on the board. They should include ice, wind, abrasion, plants, animals, temperature change, and water. Likewise ask students to name forces that could carry way the pieces of rock from the mountain. List their responses on the board. They should include: wind, water, gravity (causing landslides), and glaciers.
Next explain that the word deposition comes from the word deposit, which means to leave or drop. Thats what happens to the pieces of rock that are carried as far as they can be by the erosion forces; they are dropped or deposited. This process is called deposition. Finally, write the word sediments on the board and explain that the pieces of rock and soil that are carried by the erosion forces are called sediments.
Begin by discussing each of the following three centers, one at a time. Demonstrate how each center works, how it was set up, any safety concerns, and all core concepts that apply. Introduce the web sites and show video clips relating to uplift, volcanoes, earthquakes, faults, weathering and erosion. Divide the class into 6 teams and have them rotate through the 3 centers.
After the teams have completed the rotations, bring the whole group back together and have participants share what they learned at each center.
Earthquake Faults Center:
This activity models the action of a strike‐slip fault like the San Andreas fault in California. This activity can be done as a demonstration, but it is much more engaging when done by cooperative groups of 3‐5 students or as part of the center rotations.
Volcano Model Center:
Kids love volcanoes and volcano models are a staple of many elementary school classrooms and science fairs. This model doesnt explode, but it is an effective demonstration of lava flows that are responsible for the building up of volcanic mountains.
One model could be built and used as a whole‐class demonstration. However, it is much more engaging to have each cooperative team build a model, or use the model as part of a center rotation.
Before having the students build their models, it is helpful to construct one to use as an example that students may refer to during the building process. Since it takes a day for the volcano to dry, complete the following steps the day before you plan to have your students make volcanoes.
Wind Boxes Center:
Prepare each teams box by cutting off any top flaps and one of the ends. Put about 2 cups of dry sand into Ziploc plastic bags for each of the groups.
Lesson and Activity Time Schedule:
Activity Connected to Lesson:
This activity can be done inside, but to ease the amount of setup and cleanup time it is helpful to do it outside. If you plan to do it inside, use 5‐gallon buckets to collect the dirt and sod, and spread a tarp on the floor.
This activity is done by making two mountains in kitty litter trays or large plastic storage boxes. Find a place on the playground or around the school where you can collect a few shovels full of dirt and a shovel of sod. If water from a hose is not available, you will need to carry a bucket or two of water from inside.
Weather and Erosion Scavenger Hunt:
This activity can be used as an introduction to weathering and erosion, or could be expanded into a culminating group project for an Earth Science unit. (See Extensions.)