My name is Jonathan Nycz and I am currently a student at Albion College and also a member of the Fritz Shurmur Education Institute. This site was created, in part, for EDUC 376: Teaching Advanced Concepts in Geology, one of the required classes for Integrated Science majors seeking Elementary Education Certification. This site is meant to provide important background information for other educators and accompanying lesson plans. Additionally, the resources for these activities are available for checkout from the Albion College Education Department. If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to let me know, either through the comment function or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This site is specifically concerned with weathering and erosion, two processes which are dependent upon each other and often occur together, but which are distinct. The background information was compiled, and the lessons were created, for teaching sixth-grade students. In thinking about what to focus on, I was guided by one of the K-7 standards:
K-7 Standard E.SE. Develop an understanding of the properties of Earth materials and how those properties make materials useful. Understand gradual and rapid changes in Earth materials and features of the surface of the Earth. Understand magnetic properties of Earth.
However, the lesson itself is guided more specifically by two sixth-grade earth science standards:
E.SE.06.11 Explain how physical and chemical weathering lead to erosion and the formation of soils and sediments.
E.SE.06.12 Explain how waves, wind, water, and glacier movement shape and reshape the land surface of the Earth by eroding rock in some areas and depositing sediments in other areas.
In addition to considering both the Michigan Depart of Education Grade Level Content Expectations and the Michigan Curriculum Framework, developmental considerations were also made. These choices were informed by Yardsticks by Chip Woods. This books provides an overview of growth patterns, typical behavior, and developmental needs for students age 4-14 and discusses how these impact learning in the classroom.
Generally, students in the sixth-grade range in age from 11-12. At these ages, students continue to develop in their ability to organize and plan their work. Additionally, students at this point become better able to handle/manage longer assignments. By incorporating a variety of activity stations into a cohesive lesson, which requires multiple sessions for completion, students are supported in this cognitive growth.
Students in this age range also benefit from cooperative work with their peers. Peer conferencing and partner projects are important for these students. This lesson provides opportunity for individual work and reflection while also supporting students in navigating sometimes tricky peer relationships.
The Five Essential Features of Inquiry
1. Learner engages in scientifically oriented questions.
Learners will investigate a two key components of change on Earth: weathering and erosion. Learners will answer questions about the various processes as well as pose new questions based on their exploration.
2. Learner gives priority to evidence in responding to questions.
Learners are directed to collect certain types of information. Learners will model several different types of weathering and erosion, and they will collect data and make observations based on these models.
3. Learner formulates explanations from evidence.
Learners are guided in process of forming explanations from evidence. Through conferences with the teacher, informal conversations, and group discussions, learners will use evidence and observations to explain the processes of weathering and erosion.
4. Learner connects explanations to scientific knowledge.
Learners are directed towards areas and sources of scientific knowledge. Learners will connect evidence from multiple models back to this knowledge, with the teacher providing new topics to spur student engagement.
5. Learner communicates and justifies explanations.
Learners form reasonable and logical arguments to communicate explanations. Learners will be able to share their explanations with each other and construct knowledge as a class by sharing, questioning, and refining understanding.