Not All Sand Comes from the Sea!!!

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SWBAT make observation of multiple sand samples.

Big Idea

Is all sand the same? No, not really... this lesson brings in sand from many different areas in the world. Students have an opportunity to observe it and compare and contrast the samples.

Setting the Stage

5 minutes

This lesson focuses on observing sand from different environments. It does not directly teach to ESS1-C, however, it provides background information to teach this standard in future lessons. This standard is all about changes that happen to the Earth quickly or slowly.  Understanding that all sand is not created equal, offers an example to students that not only does the process take a long time for erosion to happen, but the types of rocks that make the sand also have a distinct part in the make up of that sand and that each grain of sand was once a large stone.  It does connect to the Cross Cutting Concept of Stability and Change: Things on Earth may change rapidly or slowly....with sand it is clearly a slow process. 

My samples come from all over the world: France, Australia, Iraq, Virgin Islands, California, Florida, North Carolina and Hawaii.  This lesson could easily be taught without the sands from these places. Simply gather sand samples from your own playground or the closest river or lake.  All of the samples, but one come from ocean environments. The sand from Iraq is desert sand and has a distinct difference in it's appearance.  

Teaching this lesson does not require having the same samples I have, but rather samples that are easily attainable from your own environments.  They can even be from different areas on the school yard or your local park, river, stream, or ocean beach.  As long as there are a variety of different samples, the students will be able to make comparisons.  

The power point that is supplied in this lesson, may also need to be tweaked to fit your own situation. The information and websites will all work well for any sand you utilize, the world map may not fit. However, it would easy to substitute a map and construct the same dynamics as the map I use.  All the other slides are still universal.  

I have included two power points for ease of teaching. The first is the original power point I used to teach and the second does not have the world map included.  This allows for you to be able to utilize the power point without any creation on your part. 


5 minutes

I have the Sand Power Point on the screen and open to slide one....The Sand Between My Toes. I give the lesson a name that I feel would intrigue the children.  I ask the children if they think they have any ideas what we might be talking about during this lesson.  I am sure they will answer with "something about sand."  

I quickly move to slide two and and ask the next question to trigger any knowledge the children may have...."have you ever felt the sand between your toes?" I allow the children time to share their experiences and what they know or remember from personal trips to beaches.  

I show the children this video clip shortly after the conversation has been shared 

For those students who have not had any experience playing or handling sand, I want to offer a visual that may give them an experience that could help them gain some of their own connections. I like the video clip because it really demonstrates how sand moves when it is held and falls from a distance.  

After watching the video clip to trigger knowledge, I move to slide three and ask the next question..."Is all sand the same?"  

I anticipate that the children will say, 'yes.'  I don't expect the children to know that sand is different.  The grains are so tiny and minute that unless you have the experience to know that it depends on it's origins and where it is located in the world or the biome it is in.  


15 minutes

I move on to Slide five and suggest we look at some sand samples.  I pass out the samples to each team along with jewelers loops.  (Hand lenses or magnifying glasses will work just like the jewelers loops).  I explain to the children that each team has different samples and that we will share them and swap them as they finish with the samples.  

I also explain to the children they must be very careful with the samples.  They are in small containers that I have sealed with electrical tape.  I found that the tape was the best source to keep the containers secure.  I also labeled each container with a number that corresponds to it's place on the globe.  

I allow the children about five minutes to observe the samples.  This part is so exciting.  Observing the samples can be really cool, especially when you notice that they are all different.  For some reason (not one I can explain) the samples from France were interesting.  The children notice this as well. They are fascinated that the sand does not move like the other samples.  

When the children appear to have had enough time to observe all the samples, I get their attention by ringing the bell and ask them to look at the screen again.  On Slide seven, a world map comes up. Each number is visible on the map next to the place of it's origin.  The children are excited to match up the place and sand.  

I ask the children to notice where all the sand is located....With a bit of leading on my part, I direct them to look at the map and see that the sand is not located in either of the poles of the Earth.  




10 minutes

I move to Slide eight and click on the hyper link. For ease in teaching and saving valuable teaching time, I embed hyper links that I will use for teaching into the power points.  

I remind the students that scientists do not always do their research out in the field.  They sometimes have to do research by looking in other resources. The internet can certainly be one of those resources. This also helps in addressing CCSS Writing standards 2.6 and 2.7. 

I read much of the information to the children.  I emphasize the words I want them to pick up on. Words like 'erosion and weathering.'

I use much of the information on the slide to explain to the children where the sand comes from, how it is created and why it is different. I use the Smart Board features to write on the board and underline important information I want the children to focus on that will enhance the learning. 

I move to Slide nine and open the hyper link. Again, I read much of the information for the children.  I do this because websites are not typically written at a Second Grade reading level.  I want to demonstrate to my students, however, that they are capable of using adult materials to help them learn even if they are only seven years old.  


After we investigate the websites, I quickly bring up this video clip.  The clip explains so thoroughly and easily what sand is and how it is created.  I like this because it really cements what we will read on the websites. It also really backs up the reason why I am teaching the children to notice the differences between all the sand types.  Ultimately, sand begins from large rocks and has been moved by a force. 


10 minutes

When the students have some background knowledge to grab on to along with their experience of observing the different sand samples, I want them to be able document some of their own discoveries. I pass out the documenting pages.  

I allow the children time to document what they observe in the sand samples.  I do this after they have more information about the origins of the sand.  My hopes are that they will use the scientific language they have learned from the Explanation phase of the lesson (SP4 & 6).



10 minutes

I create a probe for my students to share their thinking with me about where they believed sand originated from.  I adapted my probe from one created by Page Keeley.  My probe only had two character choices for the children to choose from. 

I explain to the children that I want them to choose which character in the story they agree with and explain their reasoning.  I took a few minutes to remind them again what the word explain meant.  

This is not the first probe the students have completed this year.  At this point of the year, I expect that their writing will much more complete.  I anticipate that the sentences will contain more of their thinking and descriptions of their ideas and concepts. I am also going to look for scientific language that was used in the lesson itself.