Erosion Tables

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SWBAT conduct experiments to analyze the effects water has on the environment.

Big Idea

Using water tables with sand, students will use two different types of cups to show what occurs during a regular rainstorm and one where there is heavy rain. They will compare their results.

Erosion 411

10 minutes

We have studied the impacts of erosion, weathering, and deposition before this lesson. Students are now going to help me review what we have learned and observed. I want them to think of the effects erosion has already made to our playground when we talk. They have a lot to say and many remember quite a bit. 

Setting up Sand

5 minutes

Students are ready to to get their experiments ready. Most of the time I set up as much as possible before beginning to save time, but in this case it does not require a lot of set up so having them do it makes sense. I randomly create groups of four to five. They are to assign job roles and wear the necklace that gives their job description. I then use the document camera to show the list of materials the class will need for the experiment. Each group will need a water tray, sand bag, L shaped piece of wood, ruler and the two different cups that have holes poked int he bottom. I used materials that were available in the Landform Foss Kit to help me conduct this lesson. 

Once the materials are retrieved, I walk the class through the set up of the water trays.  They start by placing the sand in one end of the table and I ask them to pile it up, filling up 1/4 of the table with sand. They can make it into a hill, but the sand can not be over the edge. Then students needs to take the L shaped piece of wood and divide the sand in half. The materials specialist is now ready to get a piece of paper for their notes. I ask them to fold it in half. One side will record notes from the right side of the L shape piece of wood and the left will record the other side. 

Rainstorm Effects

20 minutes

With the set up complete, I walk around and give each group a small pitcher of water. I ask the class to look at the left side of their sand first. I then have them get the cup/bowl that has the smallest hole in the bottom for the first experiment. I tell them to choose a recorder, a holder, and the other two will carefully help each other pour.

They do this, and I explain that they will need to hold their cup over the sand and pour water into it until it is almost full. They need to then just observe what happens. While observing they need to take notes. This is a bit slow and students need about five minutes to get all the water out. 

Next, they will follow the same steps. I ask that they switch turns for the next experiment. This time they will use the cup with a larger hole. They fill the water, observe, and take notes on what happens. This cup is the flooding cup and the water will drain much faster. 

Measurement and Conclusion

10 minutes

Using their observations, students need to collect one last piece of data. Students need to measure the amount of sand that was moved down their tray. They need to do this for both sides and record it into their notes. 

It is now time to come with a good conclusion to what they did and observed. Instead of each student writing a conclusion for me, I am going to have them complete this as a group. I ask that they include a couple of details from each side of their notes in their writing. I give the suggestion that they can do a Venn Diagram before they write so that they can compare them easy.