Summary: Students explore the concept of erosion and how it impacts environments. They also discover how trees and other factors affect erosion.
Concepts to teach: Erosion, impervious surfaces, turbidity, models, scientific inquiry
Goals: Students use a model to discover how trees help prevent erosion and turbidity.
S7.2E.4, S7.3S1, S7.3S2
- Engage in scientific inquiry by conducting an experiment in the classroom.
- Define erosion and its effects on nearby land and water ecosystems.
- Determine under what circumstances erosion is likely to occur.
Activity Links and Resources:
- How Do Trees Affect Erosion?
- This lesson plan from soundsalmonsolutions.org in Washington outlines the classroom experiment and includes a worksheet and answer key.
- Lincoln County teachers in the Oregon Coast Aquatic and Marine Science Partnership (OCAMP) used this experiment for a peer-to-peer teaching activity among 6th and 3rd graders. See their presentation that includes teaching objectives, techniques and student assessments.
- Resources concerning the potential effects of changing turbidity, stream flow and temperature on aquatic species
- Erosion Inquiry—Students conduct a simple experiment that explores the types of conditions under which erosion occurs in the school yard.
- Use or develop formative assessment probes to gauge student understanding about the water cycle. The following probes from Uncovering Student Ideas in Science, vol. 1 could be applied or modified (to obtain Uncovering Student Ideas in Science publications or access sample chapters, visit the NSTA website):
- Beach sand—the purpose of this probe is to elicit students’ ideas about weathering, erosion, deposition, and landforms. It may be used as is, or modified to better relate to a similar concept found in the schoolyard habitat (pebble size in streams, for example).
- Probe: Rain on the Parking Lot—the purpose of this probe is to elicit students’ ideas about how rainwater interacts with impervious surfaces.
- Worksheet included in the How Do Trees Affect Erosion? lesson plan.