After each of the following activities, students will write down observations in a journal. The journal can be used for part of the assessment process at the end of the unit.


This activity demonstrates how mountains are formed. Materials needed are 4 paper towels, plastic cup, and water. 1. Stack the paper towels and fold the stack in half. 2. Sprinkle water on the towels so that they are damp. 3. Place your hands on the edges of the towels. 4. Push the towels toward the center. 5. Observe the effects and record in journal.


Examine the concept of weathering by looking at different kinds of rocks (sandstone, rounded river rocks) and by looking at pictures such as those in the third grade science text by Harcourt, copyright 2000. Look at pages C40-41 showing weathering done by wind and water. Put limestone rock in two jars and sandstone rock in two jars. Put water in a jar of each rock type and vinegar in the other two jars. (Note—Vinegar is an acid and is how caves are formed.) Observe the effects and record in journal.


Examine how caves are formed by doing an activity that will create stalactites and stalagmites. Fill two glasses with hot water and stir in Epsom salts until no more will dissolve. Cut a string about 30 inches long. Fold in half and twist the halves together. Tie a large paper clip to each end. Slide a penny into each clip for extra weight. Dip the string into the salt solution then place one end in each glass. Place a plate between the glasses and position the glasses so that the string is in a U shape but does not touch the plate. Check this daily for five days, measuring and recording observations in journal.


Examine the concept of erosion (movement of weathered rock and soil) by looking at pictures of sand dunes and the Mississippi Delta such as those found in the third grade science text by Harcourt copyright 2000 on pages C42-43. Students also make sand dunes by exhaling through a straw into a pile of flour or sand. Pour water down the pile on a cookie sheet to demonstrate erosion by water. Observe the effects of wind and water and record in journal.


Examine how glaciers change the crust by doing a scouring ice investigation. Place ice cubes in a dish of sand for five minutes and then put the dish in the freezer overnight. Give groups of students newspaper, chalk, and gloves. Students use a gloved hand to rub the ice cube (sand side down) on newspaper and on chalk. Observe the effects and record in journal.


To examine the effects of an earthquake, fill a bowl with water and float a plastic lid. Put dominoes on the lid and then put your hand in the water and move it around. Observe the effects and record in journal.


To examine the effects of a volcano, make a model of a volcano. Cover a tray with wax paper and place a jar in the middle. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of flour and 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 10 drops of red food coloring in the jar. Moisten some soil and place around the jar. The top of the jar must be even with the top of the soil. Slowly pour 1/4 cup of white vinegar into the jar. Observe the effects and record in journal.

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