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Utah Science

Curriculum Consortium

Tyson Grover 

tgrover@dsdmail.net

Annette Nielson

afonnesbeck@dsdmail.net

Storyline Narrative 7.2.2

Standard 7.2.2: Construct an explanation based on evidence for how processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales. Examples of processes that occur at varying time scales could include slow plate motions or rapid landslides. Examples of processes that occur at varying spatial scales could include uplift of a mountain range or deposition of fine sediments.

Student Friendly Objective: I can give evidence and explain how earth’s surface has changed over time.

Anchor Phenomenon: The Himalayas are constantly changing, but not always on the same time or spatial scale.

Big Idea: The speed at which Earth’s surface changes can vary.

To instruct students that the earth’s surface today is not what it appeared to be 4 Billion years ago (time scale), students will investigate different methods of matter cycling that alter the surface of the planet.

 

Students are engaged by looking at the tallest mountain on earth, Mt. Everest, and consider its history including: slow steady growth, early climbers, and appeal today. Afterwards the teacher leads a class discussion on the growth of the mountain and what drives people to climb it.  Students make observations and ask questions for how the mountain was created followed by researching the cause of the growth and constructing an explanation using evidence collected (episode 1).

 

Students continue exploring by  investigating the gradual time scale of Earth’s changing surface by taking a look into the formation of the Grand Canyon.  Students will observe and record data about the different layers of the canyon walls.  Students develop questions for how fossils of marine animals are layered throughout the canyon including being found on the top layer.  The teacher then uses the attached PPT to identify where particular marine fossils have been located.  Student finish by constructing an explanation (explain) of how the canyon was formed using evidence from their research (episode 2).

 

Changing gears from slow moving processes to rapid change, students investigate the Thistle, Utah landslide that occurred in April 1983 (episode 3).

Students will elaborate on what they’ve learned as they go through stations to learn more about specific ways the Earth’s surface can change. They will recognize the different time and spatial scales of these changes (episode 4).


Evaluation of student proficiency is determined by the assessment.

Episode 1

Question

How can the tallest mountain on earth be changing?

Snapshot

Students will learn about the formation of the Himalayas and current processes that continually change the mountains.

Conceptual Understandings

The earth is broken into several slow-moving plates that are moving in all different directions. Changes can happen quickly (range formation) or slowly (earthquake).

What are other slow/fast, large/small changes that have occurred on the Earth?

 

Conceptual Understandings

At one time the land on top of the Grand Canyon was an ocean floor. Uplift raised the land up to its present position. Knowledge of these processes can explain fossil presence.

How do changes to the Earth’s surface affect humans?

Snapshot

The Grand Canyon has slowly changed over time, and students will research some of the processes that have affected the canyon and the time and spatial scales of the changes.

Episode 2

Question

What are other slow/fast, large/small changes that have occurred on the Earth?

 

Episode 3

Question

How do changes to the Earth’s surface affect humans?

Snapshot

Students will experience a history lesson of the town of Thistle and contrast prior slow changes with the fast change of the landslide.

Conceptual Understandings

Earth’s surface can change very quickly.

Gravity and excessive water are major factors in creating mass wasting or a landslide.

What are some of the specific phenomena that affect the surface of the Earth? Where are the youngest rocks on earth?

 

Conceptual Understandings

The earth’s crust is continually being recycled and new rocks are formed every day. Oceanic rocks are much younger than continental rocks.

Snapshot

Students will learn about different ways the earth can change at stations and find out about fast/slow changes and large/small changes.

Episode 4

Question

What are some of the specific phenomena that affect the surface of the Earth? Where are the youngest rocks on earth?