Weathering and Erosion

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SWBAT explain the difference between erosion and weathering.

Big Idea

Erosion and Weathering - What's the Difference?

Setting the Stage

Next Generation Science Standards:

2.ESS1 addresses "using information from several sources to provide evidence that Earth events can occur quickly or slowly."  In this lesson, students will learn about weathering and erosion. They learn that these events occur slowly and they can affect Earth's resources. It is important that students learn that erosion moves things while weathering break things apart. 

Science and Engineering Practice: 

SP 8 addresses obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information in K–2. Students communicate information with others in oral and written form to discuss scientific ideas.  In this lesson, groups will communicate with each other about how Earth's resources can be moved or broken apart due to erosion and weathering. Students will distinguish the difference between erosion and weathering through sorting various scenarios on flashcards.

Prior Knowledge:

Students have prior knowledge of Earth's resources. They have learned that Earth's resources are air, water, plants, animals, soil, and rocks. They have learned that some of these are living and non-living things that are a part of Earth. They learned that we need these things in order to meet our needs and they understand that people can destroy them if they are not taking care of properly.  Therefore, it is important to conserve them to preserve Earth's Resources.

Junior Scientists:

In my class, my students are called Junior Scientists. They wear lab jackets they created early in the school year, during an experiment. I call them junior scientists to encourage them to major in Science and Math related careers. I want them to develop a love for Science and Math. Also, we sing "It is Science Time" before each lesson



10 minutes

At their desks, students sing a song the class sings at the opening of each science lesson.  This song motivates and engages my Junior Scientists at the beginning of each science lesson. During science lessons, I call my students scientists to empower students and make them dreamers and doers.

“I can” statement

I call on a student to read our "I Can" statement for the day. While using an over-sized microphone, a scientist says, "I can explain the difference between erosion and weathering." The "I Can" statement helps students take ownership of the lesson as they put standards into context. The other students praise the student reader with a round of a applause.  I encourage students to give each other praise to boost self-esteem of others. Students are reminded of the safety rules, group rules, and scientific method. Also, I discuss the checklist to assist with completing and staying on task during the assignment. I remind the students to make sure they stay on task. Also, it is important  they understand scientists must follow safety rules in order minimize danager.


Students observe a Weathering and Erosion video. The video helps auditory and visual learners to retain content. In looking at the video, students learn about weathering and erosion. They begin to understand that erosion moves things along and weathering breaks things down.

Stand and Deliver

When I ask students questions in the Stand and Deliver portion, each student must stand and deliver their response. Students are asked: How are erosion and weathering alike? How are they different? This helps students build confidence as they are encouraged to respond to various questions. They know failure is not an option. 


To motivate and engage students, I created two songs about weathering and erosion. My students enjoy singing songs and they can recall taught content.

"It Is A Hard Knock Life For Earth"-song

"Weathering and Erosion"- song



25 minutes

My students proceed to their group tables when I say "We Are On The Move" and they stand and sing, "We Are On The Move." This routine helps my students to move to their table with very little distraction. This also helps my auditory learners who enjoy singing as well as my kinesthetic children with movement.  

When students get to their tables, they begin to assign their roles: a  person to record, measure, and report. I assign the leader (which is one of my advanced students.) Leadership qualities are present. Group labels are clothes pinned to ensure and others I know each child's role.  Students are grouped by abilities to support students’ learning. My goal is for all students to take ownership of their learning. Assigning roles permit students to develop confidence as well as use their strengths to accomplish successful group outcomes.  All hands must be on deck.  Groups are reminded of the group rules. As they are located at their table for reference.

At the table, the groups have their materials (flashcards)

Teacher note: I cut the cards apart for the students to assist with time constraints.

The groups are instructed that the weathering and erosion cards represent the subheadings for the respective categories. They are informed to place the various scenarios under the correct sub-headings.

I walk around to facilitate their learning. I posed questions such as: Why did I place certain cards in the erosion section? Why did I place certain cards in the weathering section? How can erosion effect the land? How can weathering effect the land?

Weathering and Erosion-video


10 minutes

While students are seated at their desks, I provide them with a 2-1 Exit ticket. They write down two things that they learned and 1 thing that they are still have a question about. When I take up the tickets, I am looking for students' understanding or misconceptions. Also, I can make decisions about what I am going to teach next.


Ticket out the Door-Student Work 1

Ticket out the Door-Student Work 2