Lesson Plan

Weathering (Physical and Chemical) and Erosion

Objectives

In this lesson, students will learn about weathering and erosion and how it affects our environment. Students will:

  • identify various types of weathering and erosion.

  • discover the effects that occur with each type of weathering and erosion.

  • discover the processes that may occur with each type of weathering and erosion.

Essential Questions

Vocabulary

  • Weathering: A process that breaks rocks into smaller and smaller fragments.

  • Physical Weathering: A process that breaks apart rock.

  • Chemical Weathering: A process in which chemicals cause a breakdown of the rock.

  • Climate: A pattern of weather that occurs in a particular area over many years.

  • Erosion: The picking up or physical movement of rock particles.

Duration

90 minutes/3-4 class periods

Prerequisite Skills

Prerequisite Skills haven't been entered into the lesson plan.

Materials

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Related Materials & Resources

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Formative Assessment

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    • Students will be assessed on their lab sheets and their findings while conducting the different erosion experiments.

    • Students will be assessed on the understanding of how erosion affects our environment through large and whole group discussion.

    • Students will be assessed on their understanding of how erosion affects human and animal life through experiment findings and large and whole group discussion.

    • Students will be assessed on their suggestions for fixing these problems of erosion. This will be done through experimenting and whole and large group discussion.

Suggested Instructional Supports

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    Scaffolding, Active Engagement, Modeling, Explicit Instruction
    W:

    Students will learn about weathering and erosion and how they affect our environment. By conducting experiments they will see how different types of weathering and erosion work on Earth.

    H:

    Students will make predictions about what happens to rain water after it hits the ground. Students will look at pictures of weathering and erosion and compare and contrast them.

    E:

    Students will work and complete labs and gain a better understanding of weathering and erosion. They will use data for whole-class and small-group discussion, as well as individual work.

    R:

    Students will review by completing lab sheets, worksheets, and formative assessments and show their mastery of weathering and erosion.

    E:

    Students, at the end of the lesson, will share data with the class.

    T:

    This lesson is designed to give students a hands-on experience of what the processes of weathering and erosion are like and to see how these processes affect Earth’s surfaces.

    O:

    Begin the lesson by preassessing what students already know about weathering and erosion. Students will complete lab journals (optional) and worksheets to create graphic organizers and will use these resources to make predictions on weathering and erosion.

Instructional Procedures

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    Day 1: Weathering Stations

    Ask students, “What happens to rain water after it hits the ground? Does that rain water carry anything with it once it hits the ground? What types of things might it take with it?” List student responses on overhead presentation board and discuss their comments while answering questions. Follow this discussion by introducing types of weathering.

    Have student take notes during the lecture and come up with one question they want answered that was not covered by you. Students may use a KWL chart (S-8-6_KWL Chart Example.pdf) or any appropriate note taking method already established in the classroom.

    Weathering Notes Example:

    Weathering: The breaking down of Earth's surface.

    Types of Weathering:

    • Mechanical: Mechanical weathering is the process of breaking Earth’s surface into smaller pieces.

    • Block disintegration: Block disintegration involves sharp temperature changes, making desert rocks expand and contract.

    • Crystallization of salts: Crystallization of salts as a result of dissolved salts expanding as they dry split the rocks and honeycomb its surface.

    • Exfoliation: Exfoliation is the flaking of intensely heated surface rock as it expands more than the cooler rock below. Rounded, isolated rock masses called exfoliation domes result.

    • Frost action: Frost action causes water to freeze and expand in winter or at night, thus widening crevices. Piles of sharp-edged debris, known as talus, form below steep peaks.

    • Pressure release: Pressure release follows the removal of overlying rock and its pressure on the rock below. Expansion of that rock then forms curved joints, creating sheeting of rock shells from the inner mass.

    • Slaking: Slaking is the crumbling of clay-rich sedimentary rocks as they dry out during drought.

    • Tree roots: Tree roots widen cracks in rocks as they grow.

    • Chemical: Chemical weathering causes the breakdown of rock, often transforming them when water interacts with minerals to create various chemical reactions.

    • Carbonization: Carbonization is the dissolving of limy rocks by percolating rainwater which contains carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or the soil.

    • Hydration: Hydration is the taking up of water and expanding by some minerals. This breaks shells from the rock containing them.

    • Hydrolysis: Hydrolysis is the water-rock reaction whereby feldspar is turned into clay, decomposing granite to produce kaolin.

    • Organic weathering: Organic weathering involves organic acids produced by plant organisms. The acids attack rock-forming minerals.

    • Oxidation: Oxidation is the process whereby oxygen combines with compounds in some rocks. Oxidized iron forms rust.

    • Solution: Solution is the process whereby water dissolves rock salt.

    Address student questions from the lecture and pose one of your own. “What are the differences between the different types of weathering?” Show students weathering pictures (S-8-6-3_Weathering Pictures.doc). Also showing pictures of each process and effect is helpful. Displaying pictures on the board will help to introduce weathering, as will using Web sites, such as the following:

    http://www.geography4kids.com/files/land_weathering.html

    Address student questions as they point out differences between the mechanical and chemical weathering pictures.

    Weathering Labs

    Prior to the lab, set up the room into seven stations with all the necessary materials at each. Refer to the student lab sheets for station materials (S-8-6-3_Weathering Labs-Station 1.doc,
    S-8-6-3_Weathering Labs-Station 2.doc, S-8-6-3_Weathering Labs-Station 3.doc,
    S-8-6-3_Weathering Labs-Station 4.doc, S-8-6-3_Weathering Labs-Station 5.doc,
    S-8-6-3_Weathering Labs-Station 6.doc, and S-8-6-3_Weathering Labs-Station 7.doc).

    Organize students into groups of three to five, depending on class size, and have them get started at different stations. Students will complete each lab, moving up in lab station number after each period is finished until they have completed all seven labs. Lab sheets and necessary materials for each station are found in the resource folder.

    Below is an overview of the lab stations. Specific directions are found on the individual lab sheets

    • Station 1. Test rock samples (limestone, granite, shale, sandstone, and anthracite coal) in carbonated water vs. tap water. Observations are taken initially, at 20 minutes, and after 24 hours.

    • Station 2. Test to show that water expands as it freezes. Mark on a cup the water level before freezing and after freezing.

    • Station 3. Test the effects of vinegar (acid rain) on copper (pennies). Here you should record observations initially and then after 5 minutes.

    • Station 4. Compare and record the reaction of antacid tablets in water. The comparison is a whole tablet vs. a crushed tablet.

    • Station 5. Compare and record the reactions of chalk (limestone) in water and vinegar.

    • Station 6. Test and record the effect of water on steel wool.

    • Station 7. Test and record the effects of sugar cubes and gravel shaken together in a jar.

    As a conclusion to this part of the lesson, ask students the following questions for a class discussion on weathering:

    • How do weathering and erosion occur?”

    • What is the result of each type of weathering?”

    • Where on Earth, or where in Pennsylvania, does this happen?”

    Have students compare and contrast lab results and discuss the similarities and differences they found. Lead students to talk about human error and how that could factor into the experiment.

    Day 2: Erosion Labs

    Today we are going to talk about erosion and how it affects our world.”

    Have student take notes during the lecture and come up with one question they want answered that was not covered by you. Students may use a KWL chart (S-8-6_KWL Chart Example.pdf) or any appropriate note taking method already established in the classroom.

    Erosion Notes Example: Agents of Erosion

    Erosion: The process by which material from the Earth's surface is moved.

    Types of Erosion:

    • Water Erosion: Erosion occurring from the force of the flow of water.

    • Glacier Erosion: The movement of material and sediments via transportation by glacier

    • Wind Erosion: The result of material on Earth’s surface moved by wind.

    • Sea Erosion: Process where rock starts to weaken and create a dent in the rocks by oceans and waves crashing on them.

    • Soil Erosion: Process by which soil particles are detached and transported via natural processes.

    • Gravity: The constant pull of gravity makes all hill slopes and mountain faces susceptible to landslides,

    Discuss the differences between erosion and weathering. Display erosion pictures for students to use as they compare and contrast the various types (S-8-6-3_Erosion Pictures.doc).

    Use the Erosion lab sheets and required materials to set up each station (S-8-6-3_Erosion Lab-Station 1.doc, S-8-6-3_Erosion Lab-Station 2.doc, S-8-6-3_Erosion Lab-Station 3.doc, S-8-6-3_Erosion Lab-Station 4.doc, and S-8-6-3_Erosion Lab-Station 5.doc). Below is an overview of the lab stations. Specific directions are found on the individual lab sheets.

    • Station 1: Demonstrates beach erosion. Using a pan, make a sand pile at one end and pour water at the other end. Slide the pan back and forth to create wave movement. Record observations.

    • Station 2: Place an ice cube in a plastic cup of warm water. See what the effect is. Record observations.

    • Station 3: Freeze ice cubes with sand in them and then move the sand ice cubes over different surfaces: sand, water, dirt, etc. Record observations.

    • Station 4: Place sand in a small bowl and then use a hair dryer to move the sand. Note if different speeds are possible. Record observations.

    • Station 5: Place a pile of ice cubes on a mound of dirt. Observe and record what happens as the ice cubes melt.

    Ask the following discussion questions:

    • How does erosion occur?”

    • What is the result of each type of erosion?”

    • Where on earth or where in Pennsylvania does this happen?”

    Students will compare and contrast lab results and discuss the similarities and differences they found. Students will also talk about human error and how that could factor in to the experiment.

    Extension:
    • For students who need opportunities for additional learning:

    • Give students lab sheets with room on the sides for annotations. This gives students opportunities to record questions they have along the way and for you to modify instructions and content to meet individual needs at the lab station.

    • Have students draw pictures instead of writing lab results. They can draw the process of what happens in the experiment.

    • Students who are going beyond the standards can create a science fair exhibit demonstrating some of the elements of the lesson. Each exhibit should include the following:

    • Posterboard visual or a PowerPoint-type presentation.
    • Five-paragraph essay highlighting the key components of the weather and erosion processes in the labs.

Related Instructional Videos

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DRAFT 11/19/2010
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