Preventing Wind Erosion

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SWBAT use the engineering design to create a windbreak that blocks wind.

Big Idea

How can you create a windbreak to save your house from wind erosion?

Setting the Stage

Next Generation Science Standards:

2-ESS2-2 addresses "comparing multiple solutions designed to slow or prevent wind or water from changing the shape of the land."  In this lesson, students create a model of a structure that blocks the wind from a house. By blocking the wind, students will demonstrate how to prevent wind erosion. Students understand that various objects can aid in the blocking including rocks and trees. 

Science and Engineering Practice: 

SP 2 addresses using and developing models (i.e., diagram, drawing, physical replica, diorama, dramatization, or storyboard) that represent concrete events or design solutions. In this lesson, students will learn the effect that wind erosion have on sand through creating an interactive model. 

SP 6 addresses constructing explanation and designing solutions. In K-2, students learn how to compare multiple solutions to solving problems. In this lesson, students create a model that helps to prevent wind erosion.

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 obtain information on how wind erosion occur and how to slow wind erosion down.

Prior Knowledge:

Students have prior knowledge about erosion and weathering. They know that erosion can move the land through a slow process and weathering can break apart the land. In the previous lesson, they learned about wind erosion.

Junior Scientists:

In my class, the students are called Junior Scientists. They wear lab jackets that they created early in the school year, to be worn during their experiments. 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.


  • How Can You Prevent Wind-Lab Sheet
  • Rocks
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Play Dough
  • Shoe Box
  • Styro-foam rectangles pieces
  • Hole Punchers (adult only)
  • Box cutter (adult only)
  • Hot glue gun (adult only)
  • Straws
  • Milk Carton decorated like a house
  • A Bag of Sand


10 minutes

While students are sitting at their desks, I pose the following question:

What are the various kinds of erosion?  I asked the students this question to check for their understanding. Also, the answer leads into the demonstration that I am going to do for the students.


I model for the students how to set up their design for a challenge I am going to pose to them. I show them how to place a house on one side of the shoebox and sand on the other side. This is to ensure that all students have similar set up in order to test their wind blockers. 




35 minutes

At their desks, students sing a song 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 them and encourage them to become dreamers and doers.

While students are sitting at their groups' tables, they assign their groups' roles such as: a person who records, manages, and reports. I permit the students to select their own roles so they can capitalize their strengths.  This also boosts students' self esteem. I select the leader who is the student that demonstrates leadership qualities.  The students are provided group labels and clothes pin clips. They are encouraged to wear their labels. I provide the students with the group labels  to help them identify their roles. Also, it helps promote a positive classroom environment with little disruption.


I pose a challenge to the group, "imagine that you are getting ready to move to the desert and you need to block your house from wind erosion. Brainstorm what items you could create to block the wind. You can observe the material section to aid with your creation.  You must use a house in your model."

I provide the groups with the following directions.

  1.  You can visit the material section first.  All groups receive a bag of sand and straws. They can select the other needed materials.
  2.  Brainstorm your creation by talking about it, then sketch it.
  3.  Create it.
  4.  Then test it out with each group member blowing 5 puffs of air.
  5.  Record what happens.

Groups are instructed to follow the lab sheet. I give the students free reign because they are familiar with the steps of the engineer design process. Also, they can use the lab sheet to follow the steps. I also wanted my students to take ownership of their own learning.

I walk around to facilitate their learning to see if support is needed. Some of the following questions are posed: How can you prevent the wind from blowing? What happens when you blow against the wind? How did you prevent wind erosion from approaching the home? What were the effects of the air movement from the straws?  How can trees and rocks prevent wind erosion? I ask the students questions to stimulate their thinking while designing their creation.

If a group is struggling, they are asked to think about what they can build that would block the sand. Should it be built short or tall? Which height would be beneficial and why? How can you use Earth's resources to prevent wind erosion?

Preventing Wind Erosion-Lab Sheet-Student Work 

Preparing Wind Erosion Video



10 minutes

While groups sit at their tables, they share their creation with the other group members. The group members share compliments or suggestions as each group presents their creation. It is important that students are provided with the opportunity to provide feedback. In doing this, students learn how to accept personal opinions to assist with their own personal educational growth.