3. Student Learning Map

  • Topic:07- Weathering, Erosion and Deposition
  • Subject(s):Science
  • Days:24
  • Grade(s):6
Key Learning:

The Earth's surface is shaped in part by the motion of water (including ice) and wind over very long time, which acts to level mountain ranges. Rivers and glacial ice carry off soil and break down rock, eventually depositing the material in sediments or carrying it in solution to the sea.

Unit Essential Question(s):

How is the Earth's surface shaped through natural processes and human impact?


Weathering and Soil

The basics of weathering, erosion and deposition are covered in elementary school. Use a cycle graph to remind students of the cyclic nature of these concepts.

LEQ: Number 1

  • Examine the various types of physical and chemical weathering and give examples for each. Be sure to include the role that plants and animals play in mechanical weathering as well as the process of ice wedging. Chemical weathering should focus on the use of natural acids, oxygen and water.
  • Discuss how certain types of rocks like marble or sandstone may weather faster in certain types of climates.
  • Provide students with geographic pictures of the various types of weathering during your discussion.
  • Identify the role weathering plays in shaping and reshaping of the Earth's surface.
  • LEQ: Number 2

  • Discuss how soil consists of weathered rocks and decomposed organic material from dead plants, animals and bacteria. Soils are often found in layers, with each having a different chemical composition and texture. Describe the various factors that influence how soils are formed including biotic and abiotic factors. Use a soil profile diagram during your discussion.
  • Discuss how the type of soil formed influences human activities in that area.
  • Discuss the ways human activities can negatively impact soil erosion.
  • Describe the practices used to prevent soil erosion. Be sure to give examples and/or use visual aides to show examples of different types of soil prevention methods.
  • Concept:

    Erosion: Mass Movement

    LEQ: Number 1

  • Discuss and define the process of erosion. Be sure to examine how weathering and erosion work together to breakdown and transport sediments.
  • Explain when an agent of erosion loses energy, the agent will drop the sediments it is carrying. This process is known as deposition.
  • LEQ: Number 2

  • Examine the various types of mass wasting and give examples for each type. Be sure to discuss slumps, creeps, rockfalls, rock slides and mudflows.
  • Discuss how the speed and amount of mass movement occuring is based up several factors including the slope of the land, the presence of water, the type of soil and the mass of the soil. Provide students with geographic pictures or use diagrams during your discussion.
  • Discuss ways that human activities cause mass wasting and ways that humans can control erosion such as terracing and the planting of vegetation.
  • LEQ: Number 3

  • HOTS: Analyzing Perspectives, Constructing Support, or Deductive Reasoning could be used to demonstrate the ET LEQ.
  • Concept:

    Erosion: Glaciers

    LEQ: Number 1

  • Explain how a glacier slowly forms over a long period by an accumulation of snow.
  • Discuss how as a glacier gets larger, its mass will increase which increases the pressure and eventually causes the snow towards the bottom of the glacier to turn into ice. As the pressure continues, the ice at the bottom of the glacier becomes plastic like and it begins to slowly slide down slope.
  • Describe how a moving glaicer crushes and then moves sediments as it moves down a slope. Be sure to discuss the process of plucking and scouring.
  • Examine some of the various types of deposits which glaciers create. Be sure to discuss outwashing, moraines and eskers. Use pictures or diagrams to provide visuals for students.
  • Discuss the difference between a continental glacier and a valley glacier.
  • Examine the impact that valley glaciers have on the surface of the Earth including the formation of horns, aretes and cirques.
  • Explain how large continental glaciers are responsible for the formation of the Great Lakes.
  • LEQ: Number 2

  • HOTS: Classifying/Categorizing, or Deductive Reasoning could be used to demonstrate the ET LEQ.
  • Lesson Essential Question(s):

    How do physical and chemical weathering work together to wear away the Earth's surface?


    How do abiotic factors interact with biotic factors to form soil?

    Lesson Essential Question(s):

    What is the relationship between weathering, erosion and deposition?


    What influence does gravity and the steepness of a slope have on mass movement?


    What are the most effective ways to limit erosion due to mass movement?

    Lesson Essential Question(s):

    What influence do glaciers have on the surface features of the Earth?


    How do glaciers demonstrate both weathering and erosion?


    Erosion: Wind

    LEQ: Number 1

  • Discuss how when air moves fast enough it can pick up loose sediments and carry them to new locations. In some cases, the sediments can be carried for hundreds of kilometers this type of erosion is known as deflation.
  • Examine how abrasion occurs when sediments which are being carried by the wind crash into or slide along a rock and as these moving sediments make contact with the rock they cause more sediments to break loose from the rock.
  • Discuss how during times of high winds, large amounts of sediments might be in the air and large dust storms can form. Use pictures to observe large dust storms.
  • Discuss the environmental impact of wind erosion including the area where the deposition occurs and the area where the erosion took place. Be sure to examine loess and sand dunes as types of depositions. Use geographic pictures showing impacted areas.
  • Examine how wind erosion impacts Florida, especially our beaches.
  • LEQ: Number 2

  • HOTS: Constructing Support or Deductive Reasoning could be used to demonstrate the ET LEQ.
  • Concept:

    Erosion: Surface and Ground Water

    LEQ: Number 1

  • Explain the various ways water erodes an area using surface runoff. Use pictures or diagrams during your discussion.
  • Discuss how a stream/river is formed and the types of deposition that occurs. Be sure to discuss how deltas and alluvial fans form when water loses energy and deposits sediments into fan shaped areas.
  • Explain how river deltas are an important part of the ecosystem. Use pictures or diagrams during your discussion and give specific example of deltas throughout the world.
  • Describe some of the ways that humans have tried to control rivers and discuss the effects of flooding. Use pictures of natural disasters in your discussion.
  • LEQ: Number 2

  • Discuss how the permeability of soil and rocks affects the flow of groundwater. Use a model to demonstrate permeability.
  • Explain the difference between a hot spring and a geyser.
  • Examine some of the geological features that are created by groundwater. Be sure to discuss how sinkholes develop in Florida when underground water causes the underlying limestone to dissolve creating a cave.
  • Examine how a sinkhole forms when the roof of a cave collapses.
  • Discuss the impact that sinkholes have on life in Florida. Use pictures or diagrams in your discussion.
  • Describe how an aquifer is formed in porous rocks underground. Use diagrams or a flow chart to sequence the steps.
  • Explain how aquifers impact life in Florida.
  • LEQ: Number 3

  • HOTS: Analyzing Perspectives, Constructing Support, Inductive Reasoning or Deductive Reasoning could be used to demonstrate the ET LEQ.
  • Concept:

    Erosion: Ocean Waves

    LEQ: Number 1

  • Discuss the roles that waves, tides and currents have on shoreline erosion.
  • Describe the geological features of a rocky shoreline and compare them to those of a sandy beach. Be sure to discuss how the color and type of sandy beach that forms is dependent upon the source of the sediments.
  • Examine some different types of sandy beaches including the beaches in Florida and Hawaii.
  • Describe how barrier islands form when storms and currents deposit large amounts of sediments in an area.
  • Discuss how wind erosion can cause dunes to form on a barrier island.
  • Examine how barrier islands are usually temporary as they are constantly being eroded by waves, currents and wind. Examine some the various examples of barrier islands here in Florida.
  • Explain the impact that beach erosion has on society in Florida.
  • Discuss how beach nourishment is used to restore or add sand to existing beaches.
  • LEQ: Number 2

  • HOTS: Constructing Support or Deductive Reasoning could be used to demonstrate the ET LEQ.
  • Lesson Essential Question(s):

    What influence does wind erosion have on the surface features of the Earth?


    How does wind erosion impact Florida beaches?

    Lesson Essential Question(s):

    How does water erosion and deposition work together to change the surface of the Earth?


    What influence does groundwater have on sinkhole development?


    How do human activities impact the Florida aquifer?

    Lesson Essential Question(s):

    How do waves, tides and currents work together to cause beach erosion in Florida?


    How does a hurricane impact beach erosion?


    abrasion, deflation

    Additional Information:

    The asterisk (*) next to the vocabulary terms above indicates essential FCAT vocabulary.

    Suggested Resources-

    Glencoe Earth Science program, classroom models, labs: textbook, teacher created and student conducted, laboratory write-up template, basic lab apparatus, the Internet and Unitedstreaming.

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    Acquisition Lesson:

    Extending Thinking Lesson:

    Vocabulary Report

    • horizon -

      Each layer in a soil profile- horizon A ( top layer of soil), horizon B (middle layer), and horizon C (bottom layer).

    • coastline -

      Line or area that borders a large body of water.

    • alluvial fan -

      Fan shaped deposition created when water empties from a mountain valley onto an open plain.

    • abrasion -

      A type of erosion that occurs when windblown sediments strike rocks and sediments, polishing and pitting their surface.

    • glacier -

      Large, moving masses of ice and snow that change large areas of Earth's surface through erosion and deposition.

    • mass movement -

      Any type of erosion that occurs as gravity moves materials down-slope.

    • *erosion -

      The process in which surface materials are worn away and transported from one place to another by agents such as gravity, water, wind, and glaciers.

    • humus -

      Dark-colored, decayed organic matter that supplies nutrients to plants and is found mainly in topsoil.

    • aquifer -

      Layer of permeable rock that allows water to flow through.

    • longshore current -

      Current that runs parallel to the shoreline, is caused by waves colliding with the shore at slight angles, and moves tons of loose sediment.

    • deflation -

      A type of erosion that occurs when wind blows over loose sediments, removes small particles, and leaves coarser sediments behind.

    • delta -

      Fan shaped deposition formed when a river empties into an ocean or lake.

    • *deposition -

      Dropping of sediments that occurs when an agent of erosion, such as gravity, a glacier, wind, or water, loses its energy and can no longer carry its load.

    • mechanical weathering -

      Physical process that breaks rocks apart without changing their chemical makeup; can be caused by ice wedging, animals, and plant roots.

    • *chemical weathering -

      The breakdown and alteration of rocks at or near Earth's surface as a result of chemical processes.