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Landforms- 4th grade

Lesson 1: Erosion (FOSS - Investigation 2, Part 1)

Teachers: Ainsley Gettis, Carly Johnson, & Colby Hollands

Performance Expectation:
4-ESS2-1: Make observations and/or measurements to provide evidence of the effects of weathering or
the rate of erosion by water, ice, wind, or vegetation.

Science Practice(s): Disciplinary Core Idea(s): Cross-Cutting Concept(s):

Planning and Carrying Out ESS2.A: Earth Materials and Cause and Effect
Investigations Systems ● Cause and effect relationships
● Make observations and/or ● Rainfall helps to shape the are routinely identified, tested,
measurements to produce data to land and affects the types of and used to explain change.
serve as the basis for evidence for living things found in a
an explanation of a phenomenon. region. Water, ice, wind,
Developing and Using Models living organisms, and gravity
● Use a model to test cause and break rocks, soils, and
effect relationships or interactions sediments into smaller
concerning the functioning of a particles and move them
natural or designed system. around.
Engaging in Argument from ESS2.E: Biogeology
Evidence ● Living things affect the
● Compare and refine arguments physical characteristics of
based on an evaluation of evidence their regions.
● Construct and/or support an
argument with evidence, data,
and/or model.

Learning Goals

● I can use evidence to explain what erosion is, and some causes for erosion.
● I can evaluate a claim based on evidence found.

Materials, Resources, & Advance Preparation

For each Group:

● 1 tray with earth material
● 1 standard water source
● 1 ruler, 30 cm
● 1 container, 1 liter
● 1 basin
● 2 hand lenses
● 1 meter tape
For the Class:
● Water
● Paper towels
● Image of stream erosion
● Pictures of erosion from things other than water
● Cameras
● Science journals (pre-made), one for each student

Engage Phase

● Begin with showing the students a picture a creek with an erosion problem: Erosion
● Pass out science journals.
● Students should answer the following questions on the first page of their science
○ What do you notice about this picture?
○ Do you think that it has always been like this? What do you think it was like
○ What do you think could have caused this to happen?
○ If we want to explore the environment that is present in this picture, while staying
in our classroom, we can create a model of what we see.
○ Model as a verb, less of a noun. Commented [1]: Be prepared to spend a bit more time
here if students are unfamiliar with scientific models--
■ Scientists model things that they do not have or cannot build. Scientists use you can use the "Is it a model?" assessment probe as
models to observe and investigate ideas that they might not be able to with a supplemental activity if needed.

the actual thing. Commented [2]: Card sort as assessment.

● An example, ask student if any of them have made, or seen, a model Commented [3]: Can you think of a more scientific
of a solar system using foam balls. You obviously can’t fit all the
Commented [4]: _Marked as resolved_
planets and the sun into the classroom so you need to make a model
Commented [5]: _Re-opened_
that is smaller.
Commented [6]: This is still a somewhat limited
● Can you think of another example in which using a model is a good example, as are dolls/toys... Can you think of other
choice? models that scientists use?
○ Possible responses: Dolls, toys, model cars/planes, etc.
■ Possible card sort (if students struggle with the idea of modeling as a
verb)Tell students that today we will be using a stream table model.
● Explain that stream tables are models for real rivers. (Show pictures of real rivers)
○ Does anyone know the names of any rivers that are close to us?
○ Field answers and select the most well known answer (probable the Nooksack
○ Our stream table is going to be a model for the *Nooksack River.
● Explain the correct way to use the stream tables.
○ Fill the cup, but not allowing it to overflow and damage the system.
○ Once water is flowing, do not touch the system.

Exploration Phase

1. Before beginning, do a mini discussion/ check for understand of what an observation is

(Something you can see- example: I see there are 24 students in this class vs. non-
example: I think science is your favorite class.)
a. You will record your observations in your journals.
b. What could we do besides make observations?
c. How will we know if anything changes?
i. Lead to fact that students should compare evidence from before and after.
2. Groups receive already prepared stream tables.
3. With stream tables out, have students tell a partner the correct way to use the stream
tables. Have a few students share out with the whole class
4. Groups make observations of the stream table before adding any water (note the look,
feel, size of the earth materials)
a. Draw what the stream table looks like before (or take pictures)
5. During the investigation, teacher will monitor use and ask productive questions to
a. Have you seen any changes? What are they? How do you know?
b. What is the water doing?
c. What is happening the sand? Where does the sand go?
d. What do you think is causing the changes?
6. Groups will start pouring the water through the system. (This should take about 5
minutes for 1 liter)
a. Have groups make visual observations while the water is flowing, making sure to
not disturb the system.
i. Write these down in the journal
b. Draw what the stream table looks like during
7. Once all the water has gone through, groups will make more observations of the
a. Draw what the stream table looks like after
8. Groups should then discuss the observations and changes they saw, using evidence

Explanation Phase

1. Move from small group discussion to large group discussion

a. Remind students that not everyone will have the same observations, there isn’t
one right answer.
b. What are some things in your stream table that you observed?
c. Remind students to use evidence to support what they share Commented [7]: What specific questions will you ask
to encourage students to provide evidence?
i. What specific things did you observe? Show us on your stream table or with
your written observations
ii. What did you notice happened to the water do? How much of the sand
moved? In what ways are your stream tables different from before?
2. In the stream tables, you saw change happen.
a. Ask and discuss: Did the sand disappear?
b. Explain: It traveled down with the water; this carrying process is called erosion
c. Ask and discuss: Where did the sand go?
d. Explain: After sand was carried down by erosion, it landed at the bottom. This
dropping process is called deposition.
e. If students ask about the changes they saw in the sand: explain this change, the
breaking down of rocks, sand, or other sediments is called weathering.
3. In this model you saw how water could carry sediments/cause erosion in the earth.
a. Create a whole class list
i. What are other things that you think could cause erosion on earth?
● For example - wind, people, ice, etc.
ii. Now that you’ve thought about what can carry sediments, let’s look at
some images and see if we can identify different types of erosion
● Provide each group a different image of a different cause of erosion. Commented [8]:
a. Have them decide if erosion has occured in this image
Commented [9]: stream
b. Have a group discussion where students present what they
think and classmates can agree or disagree with with claims. ctOfIncreasesInPeakFlowsAndImperviousness.aspx

iii. Now let’s brainstorm places where you’ve seen this change (or where you Commented [10]:
would expect to see it in your neighborhood)? james-ross-island/#jp-carousel-5889
● Create a class list Commented [11]: beach
● Ex. Playground, school garden, locus beach, etc.

Extension Phase
1. Pose the claim: “There is erosion happening in our own school yard.”
a. “How could support or disprove this claim?”
b. What will you look for?
c. What ways could you collect evidence?
i. Student will brainstorm ideas in groups.
ii. Class will come together and discuss the ideas and which ones are better
than others.
iii. Students should make a plan in their science journal for what they will look
for and how they will collect evidence.
2. The class will then go the school yard to look for evidence of erosion.
a. Students will work in small groups of about four
b. Outside rules: stay with your group,stay in this area (will need to decide on this
after walking around the whole school yard), you will have about 20 minutes
3. As students find their evidence, teachers (or students if cameras available) should take
pictures of the evidence in addition to other methods (drawing, observations, etc.) that
the students chose.
4. Once every student is done, class should return to the classroom.

Evaluation Phase

1. Once the students are back in the classroom, they should answer the question: Do you
think my claim that our school yard has evidence of erosion is accurate? Why or why
a. They should use their evidence they collected to support their answer.
b. This should be written in their science journal

Wrap up
1. Let's go back to our journal entries from before about stream picture (display picture as
2. “We have learned a lot about erosions so far. I want you to read through your original
ideas and edit them using ideas you have learned. (using a different colored pen)
a. Don’t erase any ideas already written; just add, cross out, and adjust your writing
based on your new knowledge of erosion.
3. After editing, students should discuss in groups some of the ways their ideas have
changed. They can use these as prompts
a. How have your ideas changed or grown?
b. I used to think…. Now I know...
c. What was your reasoning for what you thought previously?
A (4) The lesson plan includes all required components. COMMENTS:
Design of the lesson is highly What an improvement on the FOSS kit! I have
aligned with the NGSS, 5E learning cycle inserted some comments above to help you make
framework, elements of effective science stronger connections in some places across the
instruction, and has a coherent conceptual lesson components, and to help you think through
storyline. Details are provided to make clear the details of ‘how’ to implement the lesson. I
what will take place throughout the lesson, in encourage you also to indicate how you will
terms of both teacher and student actions, determine whether students meet the learning
specific questions, etc. goal/standards-- even if it’s just a simple scoring of
Grade: 3.7 A- meets/needs improvement
You have done a great job addressing the NGSS Alignment
feedback! I’m happy to support you more in Your lesson is well-aligned with the NGSS, and you
terms of models/modeling next fall as you have identified, and are utilizing, the three
prepare to implement your lesson dimensions in your lesson

B (3) The lesson plan includes all required components.

5E Learning Cycle
Design of the lesson is aligned with the NGSS, 5E
Your activities align well with the purpose of each
learning cycle framework, elements of effective
phase of the learning cycle
science instruction, and has a coherent conceptual
storyline. Details are provided to make clear what will
Conceptual Storyline
take place throughout the lesson, in terms of both
Your lesson focuses deeply on how water can cause
teacher and student actions, specific questions, etc.
erosion, and comes full circle (from engage to
though some aspects may need further elaboration.

C (2) The lesson plan includes all required components.

Design of the lesson is generally aligned with the Effective Science Instruction

NGSS 5E learning cycle framework, elements of Motivation

effective science instruction, with few exceptions. The Students will likely be motivated through connecting

lesson, in general, has a coherent conceptual to their own schoolyard, and through being able to

storyline. Additional details are needed to make clear engage in modeling with the stream tables

what will take place throughout the lesson, in terms Eliciting Students Prior Knowledge

of both teacher and student actions, specific You elicit key prior knowledge throughout (what is

questions, etc. erosion, what is a model, what does it mean to

observe) that will allow you to adjust your
D (1) The lesson plan is missing some required instruction
components. Design of the lesson is out of alignment Intellectual Engagement with Relevant
with the NGSS, 5E learning cycle framework, Phenomena
elements of effective science instruction, or has an Students aren’t just doing hands-on activities, but
incoherent conceptual storyline. It is not clear what are also engaged intellectually in examining erosion
will take place throughout the lesson, in terms of through those activities
both teacher and student actions, specific questions, Use of Evidence to Critique Claims
F (0) The lesson plan does not include most of the In the extend portion, in particular, there are
required components or was not completed. opportunities to engage in this practice-- be sure that
students aren’t just making claims, but also
responding to the claims made by others
You provide multiple opportunities for students to
build a deeper understanding by applying their ideas
about erosion to different scenarios, you use
questions to scaffold their thinking, and you help
them reflect on their new understandings!