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Science Standards

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

MS-ESS2-1 Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth's materials and the flow of energy that drives this process. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the processes of melting, crystallization, weathering, deformation, and sedimentation, which act together to form minerals and rocks through the cycling of Earth’s materials.] 

MS-ESS2-2. Construct an explanation based on processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales.

MS-ESS2-3. Analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to provide evidence of the past plate motions.

MS-ESS2-4. Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.

Studying erosion and deposition will lead students to the exploration of landforms and how they are formed. Stream tables using different types of sand and soil help students observe how meandering streams and braided streams through erosion lead to the creation of canyons, deltas, plateaus, mesas, and buttes.  Scientific investigations illustrate the effects of erosion, deposition of soil and how our planet is constantly changing.  As geomorphological, students learn how mountains are formed and how to classify the different types of valleys as U shaped or V shaped.  When students review the core, mantle, and crust of the earth, they understand how these forces continue to impact the earth. 

National Park Service

Photographs and information about landforms found in the parks.

PBS Erosion and Weathering

Launch the lesson and view photographs and explanations about erosion, weathering, and erosion management. There are supplemental materials including a NOVA video of the Grand Canyon and animations about caves and the rock cycle. Also included are the science standards related to the lesson.

Rock around the Park

The National Parks introduction to weathering and erosion worksheett.

Study Jams: Landforms

Finding resources and preparing lessons are at the top of every teacher's list. For elementary math and science teachers looking for videos or slide shows to introduce or augment a topic, check out Study Jams. These short and concise clips, featuring contemporary animated characters, present the right amount of information that students can easily digest and remember. In mathematics the core standards are covered from numbers to probability. Science topics also include the main themes of life science, physical science, and earth and space science.

Weathering and Erosion

This video is a nice introduction to weathering and erosion.

Landform Descriptions


Photographs and descriptions of a variety of landforms will assist students in learning and identifying these formations.


1. How can you observe a mineral wear away?

All you need are some rocks, chalk and a plastic jar to experiment with weathering.

Pearson Publishing Handout (pdf)

Weathering Assessment

2. Stream Table

Prepare stream tables for your students to use for experimentation.

Before Class
♦ Prepare the stream table. Cut a hole in the bottom of each turkey pan near one of the shorter sides.
♦ Mix up the soil mixture to be used in the stream tables. The mix should contain 3 parts sand, 1 part humus, and 1 part gravel. Add soil mixture to each of the stream tables, on the side opposite the hole.
♦ Prepare the cups. Pierce a small hole in the bottom of half of the colored plastic cups and a large hole in the bottom of the other half of cups. Mark a line on the inside of the cup near the top of the cup that represents an even amount of water (such as 1, 1 ½, or 2 cups). This will ensure that students always use the same amount of water. Put
a bucket under the drain hole.(Source: Friends of the Chicago River)

In Class

Have the students develop a hypothesis and conduct experiments using the student handout and their science journals.

Student Handout

Stream Table Lab Handout
(Source Mr. González's Webs)

Stream Table

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