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Grade 4. In 6 lessons spanning 21 class sessions, the Building Blocks of Science® unit Changing Earth introduces students to the earth science concept of how the distinct features of Earth came to be. Building Blocks of Science® lessons are structured in 30-minute class sessions, making it easy to fit science into your day. The Changing Earth 3-Use Unit Kit includes a Teacher’s Guide (item #515102A) and enough supplies and apparatus to teach the unit 3 times to a class of up to 30 students.
Grade 4. In 6 lessons spanning 21 class sessions, the Building Blocks of Science® unit Changing Earth introduces students to the earth science concept of how the distinct features of Earth came to be. Through purposeful exploration, students recognize the causes of events—such as earthquakes, volcanoes, the movement of continents, and the rise of mountains—that shape the surface of the earth. They investigate how the tectonic plates of the earth’s solid crust can move around on top of the molten rock of the mantle below by manipulating objects with similar properties. Students explore the processes of the rock cycle to develop an understanding of how sedimentary rock is formed, and how sedimentary rock leaves a record of the sequence in the relative age of the rock layers. Students also have opportunities to observe the long-term effects of wind and water erosion and deposits of sediment by investigating the movement of a steady stream of water in a stream table. In a final culminating activity, students apply what they have learned about the changes that create unique landforms to solve problems of erosion. They also apply what they learn to predict the impact, positive or negative, on natural systems and humans.
Building Blocks of Science® lessons are structured in 30-minute class sessions, making it easy to fit science into your day. The Changing Earth 3-Use Unit Kit includes a Teacher’s Guide (item #515102A) and enough supplies and apparatus to teach the unit 3 times to a class of up to 30 students.
Next Generation Science Standards®
The Building Blocks of Science® unit Changing Earth integrates process skills as defined by the Next Generation Science Standards.
Disciplinary Core Ideas
Science and Engineering Practices
This unit offers several ways to assess students, including a pre- and a post-unit assessment opportunity. Teachers can also use class discussions and charts to assess each lesson. Student activity sheets and science notebook entries—including drawings, writings, and dictated statements—can be used to gauge individual understanding of objectives and key vocabulary throughout the unit. A general rubric is provided to help teachers evaluate individual students at any point in the unit. The rubric provides a progression of skills and understanding that covers exploration, vocabulary, concept building, and notebook entries. Finally, a summative assessment gives students the opportunity to demonstrate unit-specific content knowledge by responding to questions in a variety of formats.
Lesson 1: What Is the Earth Made Of?
Students review what they already know about the layers of the earth and the natural movement of the earth’s surface. They make a model of the layers of the earth and understand that the crust is made up of plates lying on top of molten liquid rock, and that the crust is only a small fraction of the earth’s mass.
Lesson 2: Rock Formations and Patterns
In this lesson, students apply what they have learned about moving plates to the way rocks are formed in the rock cycle. During the earth’s natural processes, rocks are continuously recycled by being repeatedly heated, eroded, and compacted. Students will simulate this process by applying similar changes to crayons to model the processes of the rock cycle. Through this activity, students see that each type of rock can be formed from any other type of rock.
Lesson 3: Weathering and Erosion
In this lesson, students use a stream table to investigate the effects of erosion on the earth and to develop an understanding about how eroded sediment is part of the rock cycle. They also recognize that water erosion is another way the different land features of the earth are formed as they use their stream tables to investigate canyon formation. During the formation of the canyon, sediment is deposited, and students observe the sediments move and settle at the mouth of the river.
Lesson 4: Mapping Earth
Students identify notable attributes of landforms using a 3D relief map of the United States and come to recognize the differences in elevation in the different landforms on earth. They learn that geologists use such maps to better understand the earth around them. To this end, students make their own plastic maps charting the river systems created by their stream tables.
Lesson 5: Changing Earth
Students shift their attention from what happens to rock during erosion to how rock is formed by the deposition as a result of erosion. Using their stream tables from Lesson 4, students repeat the process of erosion with different colored materials and observe the results of the deposited sediment. By the end of the lesson, students have created a rock made of several layers, and have developed an understanding of what the sequence of the layers can tell them about the order in which they were formed.
Lesson 6: Living on a Changing Earth
This lesson will help you assess what students have learned about Earth’s landforms. Students apply what they have learned about the changes that create unique landforms to solve problems of erosion. They also apply what they learn to predict the impact, positive or negative, on natural systems and humans.
|Unit Technology Pack (includes digital access to teacher’s guide and 30-student digital access to student reader)||1||Included|
|Changing Earth Student Reader||1||Included|
|Bowl, Sorting, Plastic||12||Included|
|Velcro®, Loop, 2 x 8”||2||Included|
|Velcro®, Hook, 2 x 8”||2||Included|
|Marble, Opaque, Blue||40||Included|
|Tank, Plastic, 1-1/2 gal, with Hole||8||Included|
|Map, World, Changing Earth||8||Included|
|Stopper, Rubber, #00, Solid||8||Included|
|Pad, Absorbent, Small||48||Included|
|Pad, Cardboard, 8-1/2 x 11”||40||Included|
|Foil, Aluminum, 25 ft, Roll||3||Included|
|Wrap, Plastic, Extra-Wide, Roll||3||Included|
|Sand, White, #70, 3 lb||9||Included|
|Cup, Plastic, Squat, 9 oz||33||Included|
|Cup, with 1 Small Hole, Plastic, 9 oz||8||Included|
|Marker, Permanent, Fine, Black||8||Included|
|Bag, Plastic, Resealable, 12 x 15”||30||Included|
|Pan, Fluted, Plastic, 20 x 16 x 7 cm||8||Included|
|Dough, Crayola®, Green, 3 lb||6||Included|
|Soil, Clay, Red, 8 lb||6||Included|
|Collection, Introduction to Rocks||8||Included|
|Cast & Paint ™ Perfect Cast™, 2 lb||3||Included|