Finding Erosion at Our School

42 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT design and draw a diagram of an erosion control of their own.

Big Idea

Erosion can be a big problem here at school and in our neighborhood. What can be done to stop its destruction? Let's design an erosion control of our own.

Teacher Notes

Activity Description

The class will take a mini field trip on the school grounds to find evidence of erosion.  As they find evidence, the students will stop, observe and report.  We then discuss the types of erosion damage they have seen in their own neighborhood.  Then we go back inside and create their own erosion solution for one of the problems we have witnessed.   They will then share their ideas with the class.

NGSS Connections

As part of the NGSS the children are expected to compare multiple solutions designed to slow or prevent wind or water from changing the shape of the land.  In this lesson, they will be investigating the need for erosion controls, which will help them understand different erosion solutions.  They will be asking questions, making observations and gathering information about a situation that people want to change that can be solved through the development of a new object.


When sharing their ideas, they must recount an experience that has happened to them with relevant details while speaking audibly and in complete sentences, which will help them work towards speaking and listening goals.  The students will also be designing their own solution for erosion control.




20 minutes

To help the children understand the idea of the negative effects of erosion, we take a little field trip right on the school grounds.  I scoped the school yard out ahead of time to find some places where I know there is evidence of erosion, although I don't point out what I have found to the kiddos.  I want to see if they can find this evidence all on their own.  As the children find evidence of erosion, they point it out.  Then I let them stop and discuss what they have found.

After we have completed our trip around the school yard,  I have the children sit down on the ground outside for a discussion.  

We have seen lots of evidence of erosion right here at our school.  What things have we noticed?  Have you noticed any erosion in your yard or in your neighborhood?  Can you tell us what you have observed?  Was the erosion helpful or harmful?

 We discuss where they have seen erosion at in their neighborhood, at their house or in their yard.  Bringing this all back to them helps them relate to the subject matter and also gets them interested in the lesson.


15 minutes

Then I have the children suggest possible solutions for controlling erosion either from what we have seen today, or what they have noticed in their neighborhood by drawing it on My Erosion Solution student paper.

I want you to think about the erosion that we have seen today.  Some erosion is caused by  wind and some of it is caused by water.  Other erosion is caused by both wind and water.  I want you to think about one of those areas that has been damaged by erosion.  How do you think people can control that erosion?  What would you do?  Think about those questions, and draw an erosion solution to one of these problems.

I want you to draw a simple diagram of your plan.  Your diagram should include labels for each part so we can understand your plan.

Since this is just a simple exercise to help them explore the idea of erosion control, I give them around 10 minutes to draw these diagrams.  After they have drawn their simple diagrams, they need to write if their erosion solution controls water, wind or both.  Click to see student sample A and sample B.

After they have finished their quick diagrams, we discuss their ideas.  Having the children discuss their ideas as a whole class helps get other kids interested in other designs and it also is part of learning to speak in front of others.  I love how this boy is very animated when explaining his solution.  This boy seems to take this task very seriously.  I love it!



5 minutes

To wrap things up, we discuss the following points:

  • 1.  How can erosion be destructive?  Explain.
  • 2.  Can it be beneficial?  
  • 3.  Do you think people help stop erosion?  
  • 4.  Do you think they can stop it completely?

Asking these questions gets them thinking about what we have learned today.   It also gets them ready for the next lesson, in which they will be comparing different types of erosion solutions.


When evaluating their diagrams, I simply give them a score of a 3, 2 or 1.  If they have all 3 parts, they receive a score of 3.  I look for the following:

  • the diagram attempts to solve an erosion problem
  • the diagram is clear and meaning can be extracted
  • labels are written legibly and somewhat straight (not sideways)