Landforms Made Meaningful

Who doesn't love science? My students are fascinated with the notion of erosion, but it is a difficult concept to actually understand. In comes stream tables!
Our school uses FOSS (Full Option Science System) kits. Each kit has hands-on experiences, along with reading text and recording observations and answers to a focus question in Science Lab Notebooks. In the fourth grade Erosion kit, students learn about the effects of weathering, erosion, and deposition. Students flow water over a mixture of sand and clay in a stream table to observe what happens. Using a cup with a small hole and a larger hole, students carefully watch the effects of the water dripping out onto the earth mixture.
The lesson teaches about the Grand Canyon and how it was formed by the Colorado River. Students also learn about a landform called a plateau. They are always fascinated, as they watch the water erode the earth. You should see how protectively they watch their stream tables, especially after science is over!
To continue to reinforce how weather and water can change landforms, I created a Landforms photo file, aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards. My husband LOVES taking road trips, so we've been fortunate to see a lot of our amazing country. Each National Park or other areas often have my mouth dropped open in awe. So I compiled many of these gorgeous pictures together, along with the vocabulary and explanations how landforms are formed. 67 pages/slides! The photo file can be used as a teaching presentation or printed 4 to a page and used as visual vocabulary cards for sorting and classifying.
We departmentalize for science and social studies; my grade-level partner teaches science. He showed the photo file to both classes and students exclaimed that they recognized certain landforms in their stream tables or that they had been to some of the places in the photos. The photos show the vastness and the majesty of each type of landform. I love hearing the kids use proper science vocabulary!

How do you make sure your students understand science concepts?

Now is the perfect time to stock up on photo files and other Tried and True Teaching Tools: Cyber Monday begins tomorrow!! TpT is having a site-wide sale: my store is 20% off and if you use the code SMILE, you get an extra 10% off! Fill your  shopping carts! Happy shopping!

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