Academy Curricular Exchange
Columbia Education Center

Jean Kyle, Blossom Gulch, Coos Bay, OR

                       THE CHANGING EARTH

Appropriate for grades 3-4.

OVERVIEW:  One of the basic concepts of Earth Science is that the
earth's crust is continually changing.  It can be built up or worn
down slowly by natural forces or more quickly by people.  In our
area (coastal Oregon) this concept is relevant because of Mt. St.
Helen's recent violent eruption.

PURPOSE:  The purpose of this activity package is to provide easy
and enjoyable science activities and observations which will give
students evidence, illustrations and visualizations for some of
the changes in the earth's crust.  It will also develop in them an
awareness of the importance of man's role in sharing with nature
in the changes to be made in the future.

OBJECTIVES:  The student will be able to:

 1.  Identify by categorizing materials as either chemically or
     physically weathered

 2.  Describe how a glacier can change the earth's crust (erratic
     rocks, hills, scraping)

 3.  Identify at least five examples of changes in the earth's
     crust in the neighborhood within walking distance of the
     school.  Students should be able to find such changes caused
     by man or by nature (construction sites, pavement, tree roots
     under sidewalks, weathering of buildings, etc.)

ACTIVITIES:  The activities listed here are designed for 9-10 year
olds.  However, they can be used with all ages.

 1.  To demonstrate physical and chemical weathering, take an
     S.O.S. soap pad and cut it in two (you have just physically
     changed the pad).  Take one half of the pad and put it into a
     jar of water.  It will rust out in a few days (chemical
     change).  It is also easy to show the difference between
     chemical and physical change by taking a piece of paper and
     cutting it up (physical change) or by burning it (chemical
     change).  Take your students on a field trip of the play yard
     at school, record all the evidence of physical and chemical
     weathering that can be seen on the play yard.

 2.  Make chunky ice cubes (ice cubes with rocks and sticks in
     them).  Give each student an ice cube to take outside.  Find
     a level area such as a sidewalk and push down on the cube.
     Watch for scratching and the debris left after the ice
     has melted.  Explain that glaciers change our earth's crust
     in much the same way - except on a much larger scale.


Divide the class into groups of three.  Have each group brainstorm
the answers to questions under the catagories of volcanoes,
earthquakes, weathering, glaciers, and plate tectonics.  Use the
questions to form a Jeopardy Board (you may need to edit or write
some questions, too).  Depending on the make up and motivation of
the group either draw or ask for volunteers to play the game.  If
interest is high, give additional students the chance to play by
using teams rather than individuals or by playing a tournament.


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