Module Summary – Soils, Rocks, and Landforms
Geology is the study of our planet’s earth materials and natural resources. Because they are so ubiquitous and abundant, they are often taken for granted. The Soils, Rocks, and Landforms Module provides students with firsthand experiences with soils and rocks and modeling experiences using tools such as topographic maps and stream tables to engage with the anchor phenomenon of the surface of Earth’s landscape—the shape and the composition of landforms. The driving questions for the module are What are Earth’s land surface made of? and Why are landforms not the same everywhere?
This module has four investigations that focus on the phenomena that weathering by water, ice, wind, living organisms, and gravity breaks rocks into smaller pieces, erosion (water, ice, and wind) transports earth materials to new locations, and deposition is the result of that transport process that builds new land. Students conduct controlled experiments by incrementally changing specific environmental conditions to determine the impact of changing the variables of slope and amount of water in stream tables. Students interpret data from diagrams and visual representations to build explanations from evidence and make predictions of future events. They develop model mountains and represent the landforms from different perspectives to look for change. Students gain experiences that will contribute to the understanding of crosscutting concepts of patterns; cause and effect; scale, proportion, and quantity; systems and system models; structure and function; and stability and change.
For a description of each investigation in SOILS, ROCKS, AND LANDFORMS and the correlations to the National Science Education Standards, download the SOILS, ROCKS, AND LANDFORMS Module Overview PDF.
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