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Earth's Changing SurfaceEarths-Changing-Surface

  • Subject:
  • |
  • Grade(s): K-8
  • |
  • Duration: 7 segments; 64 minutes

Lesson Plan Sections

Objectives


Students will
  • Discuss the use of satellites, including GPS application.
  • Compare satellite images of locations and describe the natural forces that shape them.
  • Identify additional landforms shaped by these forces.
  • Create a "forces of nature" document.
  • Internet access

Procedures

  1. After watching the video, ask students to define a satellite. (An artificial object or vehicle that orbits the Earth .) How are satellites used in GPS? (A satellite network plots coordinates on the Earth's surface .) How is GPS technology used? Discuss how GPS can be used for navigation, tracking, and creating detailed maps.
  2. Next, show students a satellite image of the United States at this Web site: http://maps.google.com/maps. Click "Satellite" in the pink bar. Ask students to talk about how this map differs from your classroom map. Then have students describe variations in the Earth's surface in the United States.
  3. Show satellite images of three locations featured in the video: Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Mammoth Cave, and the Grand Canyon; images available from the Web site above. Enter one name listed below into the search bar at the top of the page, then click the Search button:
    • Strong City, Kansas (Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve two miles away)
    • Mammoth Cave, Kentucky
    • Grand Canyon, Arizona
    You may wish to show the images and see if students can identify the locations. As you view the images, ask students to identify landforms in these images.
  4. As a class, describe the natural forces that shape these landforms, including the following:
    • erosion
    • weathering
    • movement of tectonic plates
    • movement of glaciers
    • deposition
    • fire
  5. Have students work with a partner to find other landforms shaped by natural forces. Each pair should draw a picture of the landform and write a few sentences underneath about how it was formed.
  6. Once students have presented their findings, hang their work on a bulletin board titled "Forces of Nature."

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Evaluation


Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during this lesson.
  • Three points:  Students showed a strong understanding of satellites and their uses; clearly explained the natural forces that formed one of three featured sites; identified a landform that was formed by natural forces and wrote a complete description of how it was formed.
  • Two points:  Students showed a satisfactory understanding of satellites and their uses; gave an adequate explanation of the natural forces that formed one of three featured sites; identified a landform that was formed by natural forces and wrote a mostly complete description of how it was formed.
  • One point:  Students showed a weak understanding of satellites and their uses; did not provide any explanation of the natural forces that formed the natural forces; did not identify a landform that was formed by natural forces, and wrote an incomplete or no description of how it was formed.

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Vocabulary


deposition
Definition : The act or process by which an agent of erosion such as wind or water deposits sediment
Context: Deposition forms stalactites and stalagmites in caves.

erosion
Definition : The wearing away of the land by wind, water, or the movement of glaciers
Context : Weathering and erosion are at work in Mammoth Cave, lengthening and adding passages.

GPS (Global Positioning System)
Definition : A navigation system that utilizes a network of satellite signals
Context : GPS technology is transforming the ways in which we make and use maps.

limestone
Definition : A type of sedimentary rock consisting of the mineral calcium carbonate
Context : Mammoth Cave was originally made of solid limestone.

sandstone
Definition : A type of sedimentary rock made from grains of sand cemented by water and acids
Context : Some layers of sedimentary rock in the Grand Canyon walls are sandstone.

satellite
Definition : A manufactured object or vehicle that orbits Earth and send information back
Context : GPS satellites travel in precise orbits.

weathering
Definition : The chemical or physical processes that break down rocks on the Earth's surface
Context : The powerful forces of weathering, erosion, and deposition contribute to the formation of caves.

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Academic Standards


National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences provides guidelines for teaching science in grades K-12 to promote scientific literacy. To view the standards, visit this Web site:
http://books.nap.edu/html/nses/html/overview.html#content

This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:

  • Earth and Space Science
  • Science as Inquiry
  • Science and Technology

Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL)
McREL's Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education addresses 14 content areas. To view the standards and benchmarks, visit:
http://www.mcrel.org/compendium/browse.asp

This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:

  • Science - Earth and Space Sciences: Understands Earth's composition and structure; Nature of Science: Understands the nature of scientific inquiry
  • Language Arts - Viewing: Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media

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