The South Dakota Discovery Center offers an array of curricular resources that will engage your learners in inquiry based, hands-on exploration of watersheds and the world at large.

Fourth Grade - Erosion


We begin the unit with the question what shapes the land. The short answer for the purposes of this unit is erosion through water and wind. Certainly, in the large story of geology there are actors like deposition and volcanic activity among others that shape land so erosion is not the complete answer. But it is an answer and an important one at that. In this unit, students will understand some of the causes and effects of erosion learning what causes it, (water and wind), what it does (shape the land), how it is accelerated (slope) and how it is slowed (vegetation).

DOWNLOAD CURRICULUM (PDF) 

Unit Overview Table

 Activities

 Science
Concepts

 Science
Practices
 Science Vocabulary  Teaching Periods

Engage

Badlands Formation

Guiding Question: What shaped the Badlands?

Students begin the unit by observing photos of Badlands. They share ideas about what caused these land formations.

4–ESS2–1

(Prior Knowledge)

Constructing explanations (preliminary)

Engaging in Argument from Evidence (preliminary)
land formations
 1

Explore

Agents of erosion

Guiding Question: How do natural forces shape the land?

Students conduct investigations, record data and begin to speculate how wind and water shape and/or impact land formations.

4–ESS2–1

Cause and Effect

Earth Materials and Systems

Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

cause

effect

 1-2

Explain

Shaping and reshaping of the land

Guiding Question: How do wind and water contribute to the shaping of the land?

Students analyze their observations and data they collected during the investigations to describe and define erosion. Using the Explanation Tool and referring to the pictures of the Badlands used in the Engage portion of the lesson, their notes, an article

and class discussion, students will answer the guiding question How did wind and water shape the Badlands? Students also share examples of erosion around them.


4–ESS2–1

Cause and Effect

Earth Materials and Systems

Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Constructing Explanations

water erosion

wind erosion

deposition

cause

effect

claim

evidence

reasoning

  

 1

Elaborate

Factors affecting the rate of wind and water erosion

Guiding Question: How does the rate of erosion impact the shape of the land?

Students conduct investigations with water and wind erosion models to explore how slope and vegetation cover impact the rate of erosion. The lesson ends with the students completing an activity related to the Dust Bowl.

4–ESS2–1

Cause and Effect

Earth Materials and Systems

Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Constructing Explanations

claim

evidence

reasoning

erosion

turbidity

ground cover

vegetation

slope

deposition

cause

effect

 1

Evaluate

Overarching Question: What affects the rate of change in the shape of the land?

Students will observe a picture of water erosion. They use their observations to construct a scientific explanation about the cause and effect that occurred in the change of land formation. They are then asked to develop a proposal to lessen the rate of erosion that is changing the landscape in the picture.


claim

evidence

reasoning

erosion

turbidity

ground cover

vegetation

slope

deposition

cause

effect

 

claim

evidence

reasoning

erosion

turbidity

ground cover

vegetation

slope

deposition

cause

effect

 1


PROUD TO BE A
UNITED WAY AGENCY!

Upcoming events

Thank you to the 
Friends of the South Dakota Discovery Center. 
Friends provide on going support so that the
children and families in our community have access to hands-on science learning, now and in the future.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software