Observing Erosion

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SWBAT create a model to study water's effects on land.

Big Idea

How does precipitation affect the land?


5 minutes

Instead of having my students copy the focus question and the procedures as usual, I just passed out copies of the Erosion Student Investigation and had them glue them into their science notebooks.  This saves time and makes it easier to keep them moving through all the sections and reduces the likelihood of them leaving something out.

Next, I want them to try to answer the focus question with their initial understanding, activating their prior knowledge, but I needed to prime the pump a bit, so we completed the Frayer diagram about precipitation together.  After we established the meaning of precipitation, I had them answer the focus question, as seen in the Student Initial Understanding.


30 minutes

The materials we used came from the STC Land and Water kits.  You could also do this by giving each table a plastic tub with a mixture of sand, gravel, and silt.  I had a parent mark 500 ml and 1 l on some 2 liter bottles for Modeling the Water Cycle, so I gave each group one liter of water in those for their water source.

I picked a number (each person at a table is assigned a number 1-4) from each table to come and collect supplies. I tried not to give a lot of directions, but rather just told them to follow the procedures on the investigation sheet.  I circulated to keep them moving forward, and making sure they were completing the investigation sheets.  I also wrote down the vocabulary words they were using to describe what they saw, and suggested that the class use them when labeling their diagrams.


10 minutes

After the last step in the investigation, groups cleaned up their materials by rinsing them in buckets and draining the water into catch buckets.  The silt should not go down the sink as it will clog the drain.

I gave students a simple definition of erosion, how water and weather change the land, and had each group complete the rest of the Frayer diagram together.  I didn't feel there was a need to explicitly return to the focus question because the observations and erosion definition made it pretty clear.