Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Our Next Science Unit

Dear Parents,
Human beings make their homes at the surface of the planet we know as Earth. The shapes that decorate Earth’s surface include a variety of landforms, including mountains and valleys, canyons and ridges, volcanoes, basins, hills, sand dunes, and moraines. Each landform is the result of one or more processes that create and change Earth’s surface.

In the FOSS Landforms Module students begin to look at ways to represent the features of Earth’s surface at smaller scales. First, they work in three dimensions by creating desktop models of their schoolyard. They learn to transfer the features in their models to a two-dimensional map. Along the way, they learn that symbols can represent landforms, structures, and other features of an area. They continue their study of the landforms by investigating the effects of water running over Earth’s surface. The Grand Canyon is the focus of their investigations as they set up a model plateau in a stream table. As they observe the effects of water running over solid earth materials, they learn new landforms and vocabulary, including canyons, deltas, erosion, and deposition. They design and set up investigations to study how changes made by people affect the processes of erosion, deposition, and stream flow.

You can extend your child’s experiences in the classroom in a number of ways. Take trips to nearby parks that feature landforms common to your region. Watch the erosion and deposition that take place during and after a rainstorm. Visit your local library and check out books that include information about the local landscape. Have your child help you plan the route and destination for your next family vacation, keeping in mind the interesting and unusual landforms you could encounter along the road.

This unit will go all the way until spring break.
Best,
Mrs. Ripp

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