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The Changing Earth

 

Rhonda Hawley, Educator, MathScience Innovation Center

 

Developed with funding from the MathScience Innovation Center

 

Grade/Subject

Grade 5; Earth Science

 

Major

Understanding

Forces from within and without are constantly changing the Earth’s crust, its outermost layer. Agents of change that build up the crust are volcanism, earthquakes, and plate tectonics. Agents that break down the crust are wind, water (floods, rain, erosion), freezing and thawing, the movement of glaciers, and human beings.

 

Objectives

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Investigate the one constant on the Earth, which is change.

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Identify the agents of change that build up the crust of the Earth, which are volcanism, earthquakes and continental movement because of plate tectonics.

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Identify the agents of change that break down the crust of the Earth, which are weathering, erosion and human activity.

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Describe the layers and basic structure of the Earth.

 

Time

 

 

 

 

Anticipatory Set

     5 min

Presentation: Video Clips & Power Point

    25 min

Activity: Changing Earth Stations

    25 min

Closure

      5 min

Practice, Extension, and Assessment

Variable

 

Materials

For each student:

The Changing Earth handout
The Changing Earth Answer Key for teachers

 

For the class:

Cloth bag filled with mystery objects (example: bean bags, box of macaroni, stuffed animal, etc.)

7 instruction cards, one for each station

Pangaea puzzle (9 pieces)

Rock samples labeled W, X, Y, Z
Rock samples labeled A, B, C

CD “The Rock Identification Key” by Donald Peck

Rock samples labeled Q, R, S, T

Rock samples labeled L, M, N

One container with 5% solution of HCL

Paper towels

3 glass Petri dishes

Four stereoscopes

Steel nail & glass plate

Seven stereo photographs

“Earth Zoom” produced Optical Toys

Box of labeled rock & fossils samples

Set of sieves filled with various sized rock samples

Goggle (1)

 

State and National

Correlations

Virginia Standards of Learning: Science 5 (5.1, 5.7)

 

National Science Education Standards: Observe, predict, infer, and draw conclusions; classification of rock samples; identification of Earth’s structure; plate tectonics; human impact on the Earth; weathering and erosion.

 

21st Century Curriculum

Fractal Geometry: Model Nature

 

Instructional

Strategies

1.0  Anticipatory Set

1.1  Show students a bag containing a mystery object(s). Ask students how can we discover what is in the bag, other than opening up the bag.  (Shake it, feel it, listen to it, etc.) Then tell students that our Earth is a lot like this bag. We cannot dig deep enough yet to see all that it contains, but we can see what happens on the outside of it. We can listen to its sounds. We touch and examine what comes out of it when it shakes.

1.2  Today’s lesson is called “The Changing Earth.” And before we start, I want to make a statement. Listen carefully to the statement: The only constant on the Earth is change. Repeat the statement to students and then ask who can explain what a constant is. (Something that remains the same; persistent) As long as I keep this bag the contents will remain the same. But in our Earth, the only thing that is constant is change. Now I am going to demonstrate this by showing you some video clips and slides and then we will go to centers where you will find evidence for this statement by completing experiments.

2.0  Presentation: Video Clips & PowerPoint

2.1  Present video clips and discuss how the Earth is constantly changing; how it builds itself up and how it is broken down by the various agents of erosion. (PowerPoint and script are available.)

3.0  Activity: Changing Earth Stations

3.1  Divide class into 7 groups. Tell students that they will only have 3 – 4 minutes at each station, so they need to use their time effectively. Go over the rules/directions for the stations. Students need to read the directions for each station on the card found at each station. Then they need to do what the directions instruct them to do. Lastly they need to answer the questions, found on the card, on the handout that you have provided. Students should not leave a station until the time is up and the teacher alerts them to move to the next station.

 

Practice

Have students sign on to the internet for an Astro-Venture! This is an interactive, multimedia web site in which students role-play NASA careers as they search for and design a planet that would be habitable to humans. Field journals are used to document student understanding of the material covered. Astro-Venture Educator Guides are available and are coordinated with national education standards. Students investigate the effects of heat and pressure on the states of matter, density, convection, plate tectonics, volcanoes, the carbon cycle, Earth’s magnetic field and radiation. Even ecosystems, producers and consumers are explored. So students get a real handle on all of the changes that are occurring in the Earth and the planet that they design. http://astroventure.arc.nasa.gov

 

Closure

Gather students together to go over their answers on the handout. Discuss any questions they may have and conclude by asking the students, what is the only constant in our Earth? (change)

 

Extensions

1.      Make chunky ice cubes (ice cubes with rocks and sticks in them). Give each student an ice cube to take outside. Find a level area such as a sidewalk and push down on the cube. Watch for scratching and the debris left after the ice has melted. Explain that glaciers change our earth’s crust in much the same way – except on a much larger scale.

2.      Looking for incredible hands-on experiments that will instruct and delight your students? Refer to our Resources section for a link to “Windows on the Universe.” Here you will be sure to find the perfect experiment for your study of the changing earth. Be sure to check out the following complete lesson plans: “Making Sedimentary Rocks!” “Snack Tectonics,” “Take a Stab,” and “Thirsty Rocks: Please ‘Porous’ a Drink!”

3.      Have students make a list of ways that man can change the Earth; from dams, to quarries, to farming, all of these change the Earth. The list could go on for days. Then start a list in which student’s list natural ways the Earth changes itself. The lists can even be broken into chemical changes and physical changes.

4.      Take the class on a field trip to find examples of different kinds of rocks used for practical purposes. Look at buildings, statues, monuments and floors for the igneous rock granite, the metamorphic rock marble or the sedimentary rock sandstone. Look for slate, a metamorphic rock in walkways and roofs. Even in your classroom rocks can be found. If you have a chalkboard, the slate and chalk (sedimentary rock) are rocks that students may not readily identify but which have very practical purposes.

 

Assessment

Sample items are provided for use in checking students’ understanding or may be used as a paper-pencil test.

 

·        Paper-Pencil Test: The Changing Earth

·         Key to Paper-Pencil Test: The Changing Earth

·        Project and Rubric: The Changing Earth

 

The following table shows how the assessment items are related to specific objectives.

 

Objective

Paper-Pencil

Test

Product/

Performance

Investigate the one constant in the Earth, which is change.

6

 

Identify the agents of change that build up the crust of the Earth, which are volcanism, earthquakes and continental movement because of plate tectonics.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10

 

Identify the agents of change that break down the crust of the Earth, which are weathering, erosion and human activity.

1, 5, 7

 

Describe the layers and basic structure of the Earth.

8, 9

 

Major Understanding: Forces from within and without are constantly changing the Earth’s crust, its outermost layer. Agents of change that build up the crust are volcanism, earthquakes, and plate tectonics. Agents that break down the crust are wind, water (floods, rain, erosion), freezing and thawing, the movement of glaciers, and human beings.

 

Create buildings that can withstand an earthquake! Using a “Shake Table” that may also be built, by students or the teacher ahead of time, students are challenged to create a building that will withstand an earthquake. As an added incentive, teachers may want to hold a “Classroom Contest” in which students compete to discover who has built the most stable of structures. Directions and photos of the Shake Table and the rules for the Contest may be found at: http://www.jclahr.com/science/earth_science/

 

Refer to Project and Rubric

 

Teaching Tips

For additional information on teaching this lesson, go to the following links:

 

·        Click here for PowerPoint slide show, along with a script to introduce lesson. The PowerPoint presentation in the classroom uses many video clips from various copyrighted videos so we could not include them with this web lesson, but we have included a slide show that will cover the same material. If you are interested in the videos that we used clips from refer to the video link in the lesson.

·        Check out “The Rock Identification Key” by Donald Peck for yourself on-line at: http://www.rockhounds.com/rockshop/rockkey/#Using%20Key

·        “Earth Zoom” book is produced by Optical Toys© and may be purchased at www.opticaltoys.com. The video clip used in the classroom presentation can be found at: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/index.html #2251 “Great Zoom into Washington, D.C.: NASA Headquarters.” Additional video clips used in classroom lesson are privately owned and are not available to public distribution at this time.

·        The “mystery rock” at Station 6 is Coprolite, a.k.a. dinosaur dung. Most Coprolite is from Sauropods (very large dinosaurs that walked on four legs with a very long neck and tail). Found in the American Southwest and dated to the Jurassic period, our sample is cut and polished only on one end so that students can see the natural form. If you are interested in purchasing your own mystery sample go to: http://www.universaltreasures.com/. Click on Fossils, then click on Coprolite in the Fossil Index.

 

 

References

Earth Science: Hands-On Learning Activities and Lesson Plans

Great hands-on lesson plans and experiments along with animations.

http://www.jclahr.com/science/earth_science/   

 

Enchanted Learning

FANTATISTIC graphics!  Along with detailed diagrams that can be printed off and used to check student understanding.

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/astronomy/planets/earth/

Inside.shtml

 

The Franklin Institute On-Line Project Resources

The home page of this site provides On-line project resources that are updated as new research is reported. Be sure to check out Earthshots, which is an e-book that comes from the U.S. Geological Survey's EROS Data Center, Sioux Falls S.D., the world's largest archive of earth science data and the official National Satellite Land Remote Sensing Data Archive. Before-and-after Landsat images (1972-present), show recent environmental events and introduce remote sensing to teachers and students alike.

http://sln.fi.edu/psd99/links.html (home page)

http://eros.usgs.gov/

 

Geological Virtual Field Trips

Utilize the Internet to take a "virtual field trip" to the Grand Canyon to discover how it was formed, where all the rocks came from, and when it all happened. Then visit a glacier and discover what the physical effects are on the land. Students will also have the opportunity to visit Vermont and trace the pictorial history of how a whale's fossils were found there.

http://www.can-do.com/uci/lessons97/Canyon.html#Glaciers

 

MathScience Innovation Center.info

Visit our Center site to see all that’s new and happening at the MathScience Innovation Center.

http://msinnovation.info

 

MathInScience.info

Visit our educational resource site to acquire Web-based lessons and resources for students and teachers.

http://MathInScience.info

 

PALEOMAP

Provides three dimensional movable Paleoglobes and animations of Pangaea. The goal of the PALEOMAP Project is to illustrate the plate tectonic development of the ocean basins and continents, as well as the changing distribution of land and sea during the past 1100 million years.

http://www.scotese.com/

 

Windows to the Universe

Truly a “window to the universe” that offers a multi-ability link with amazing graphics, interesting text and multiple links to understanding our changing earth.

http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/earth/Interior_Structure/

overview.html&edu=elem

To go directly to the lesson plans section:

http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/teacher_resources/

activity.html#gol2