Lesson: Earth's Early Beginnings

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Lesson Objective

YWBAT 1. Describe what Earth was like in its early years 2. list the key steps in Earth's development

Lesson Plan

This lesson takes 2 days (2 hours).



Quick Overview:

Objective: YWBAT describe early Earth

Do Now: We just learned how the universe developed in our last unit. Based on some of your prior knowledge, and using your imagination, describe what you think Earth might have looked like when it was first created.

Agenda: 1. Do Now 2. Reading: A step in Earth's development 3. Group Work: drawing your step 4. Piecing it together 5. Wrap-up

HW: Read “Earth in the Beginning” (ES_HW_Earth in the Beginning), road map and answer questions


Lesson Sequence/Notes:

1. Do Now: Students are writing silently on today’s page in their lab notebook. Teacher is circulating to check for signed unit test. Teacher hands out “A Step in Earth’s Development” to each student randomly. There are 9 groups total: one for each step. Discuss Do Now with class.


2. Reading: Instruct students to take the reading they received and use Active Reading Strategies to silently and independently read about their step in Earth’s development (EW_steps in earth’s development). Give enough time for students to read and mark-up their step, then instruct students to join their group and describe what they read. Post the guiding question on the board: “What did Earth look like during your step?”


3. Group Work: Each group receives a small poster paper/computer paper and should take out their colored pencils. Groups work to visually create a representation of what they read.


4. Piecing it together: In order, each group will stand and share their drawing. One group member will read their step out loud (encourage dramatic readings) while another group member holds up their drawing. [If time: After each group has presented, provide the “Gallery Walk” template for students. With the drawings around the room, students must circulate silently and write key observations and words for each step. ES_gallery walk]


5. Wrap-up: Post the drawings in order around the room with their readings attached. Review HW. There are two versions of this reading: 100% and a modified reading & question at 60%.




Quick Overview:

Objective: YWBAT list the key steps in Earth’s early development

Do Now: Draw a T-chart in your lab notebook. Compare and contrast early Earth to Earth today

Agenda: 1. Do Now 2. PowerPoint notes 3. Video Clip 4. Practice 5. Wrap-up

HW: Cartoon Strip (ES_HW_cartoon strip)


Lesson Sequence/Notes:

1. Do Now: Students should draw a T-chart in the space that the Do Now is usually answered. While they are comparing Earth now to early Earth, circulate to collect informal data.

2. PowerPoint notes: PowerPoint is “ES_PP_early earth”. Students are responsible for both filling in the words they see AND listening to the Teacher’s words to answer the italicized question on the guided notes sheet (ES_guided notes)

3. Video Clip: Play “National Geographic” clip http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2006/12/early-earth/video-interactive to explore places on Earth that are like early Earth’s environment. [If time: play History Channel Clip: How we got oceans http://www.history.com/shows/how-the-earth-was-made/videos/oceans#oceans ]

4. Practice: Students will use the “ES_CW_steps in earth’s development” arrow sheet to breakdown the steps in their own words. Teacher should circulate and check in with targeted students. [if time: think-pair-share these steps].

5. Wrap-up: Explain the homework. The arrow sheet created in class should be used to help create the cartoon strip.






1. What went well?

2. What would you change?

3. Additional Comments?

-I really liked having students create visuals based on the reading because it forced them to interact with the reading in a meaningful way and therefore pushed themselves to understand

- I liked how the reading/drawing came before notes so the students had visuals and knowledge to draw upon during lecture.










-I completed an “Earth in Space” unit prior to this unit and feel like I could have spiraled in some more gravity review with how the planet formed.

- I grouped students heterogensouly; however, I think students would have benefited more in homogenous groups. Some of the “key steps” are easier to understand and groups can be leveled.

-I like including this part as a beginning to the unit, despite the fact that it isn’t a middle school standard, because it gives context to the later lessons that are standards-aligned.

Lesson Resources

EarthStructure LP1   Lesson Plan
ES steps in earth s development   Reading Passage
ES gallery walk   Classwork
ES HW Earth in the Beginning   Homework
ES PP early earth   Classwork
ES guided notes   Notes
ES CW steps in earth s development   Classwork
ES HW cartoon strip   Homework
National Geographic: Early Earth
History Channel: How Oceans Were Made
Sample Early Earth Group Drawings  
Sample Early Earth Group Drawings  
Sample Early Earth Group Drawings  


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