homeschool, STEM

Weathering & Erosion Lesson: Geology for Young Minds Unit

Weathering & erosion cause fantastic, as well as fascinating changes to our world’s surface.  Just look at the concept of Pangaea of yester-year and onto the development of islands and Earth features today.  These observations can really bring to light just how our landscape is slowly changing each and everyday.  But, the changes don’t stop at the surface, if we dig down deep we can find that this process possess prehistoric surprises below the surface as well.

Disclaimer:  To expand and gain a deeper understanding, this lesson can be split over the course of two to three days!

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Learning Objectives

  • Changes to Earth’s surface: erosion 
  •  Introduction to fossils 
  • Identify and classify fossils

Day 4: Weathering & Erosion

Warm Up:

Let’s excavate some fossils!


Story Time

Fossils Tell of Long Ago By Aliki really breaks down and simplifies the entire concept of the fossilization process.  It uses clear to understand explanations accompanied by detailed illustrations.  All while still engaging its reader.  

I read through this book, and then I allowed the kids an opportunity to explore it to discuss what they found most interesting, and ask the questions they found most curious.

So what knowledge of Changes to the Earth’s Surface are we taking into our lesson?

  • What are fossils?
  • How are fossils created?

The Lesson

This last question will lead us into our lesson, and informative quick Crash Course for kids video.

After the video discuss what, other than fossils, are created by weathering and erosion?

  • Canyons
  • Glaciers
  • Caves

How does this happen?  What is weathering and erosion?

Weathering:  Wear away or change the appearance or texture of (something) by long exposure to the air.

Erosion:  the process of gradual destruction by wind, water, or other natural agents.

Thinking back to not only today but all this week what can cause changes to the Earth’s surface?

  • Water
  • Wind
  • Magma
  • Natural Disasters

The Experiment:

Water and Surface Changes:

  1. To prep, I had the children measure the circumference of the lip and base of a plastic cup.  
  2. Next, we pour water into our cups and place them in the freezer. (hot water freezes faster)
  3. While we wait, in a tub I have a placed a pile of sand and poured a bit of water.
  4. Gently, I had the kids create waves in the tub.  What is the water doing to the pile of sand?  Where on Earth does this process happen?  The Beach!
  5. Finally, when water in the cups are frozen have the kids measure the cups circumferences once more.  Did it change?
  6. The water should have expanded when changing from liquid to ice, what do you think water does when it freezes in the crevices of our rocky surfaces?

To see more lessons from this exciting Geology for Young Minds Unit Click Here!

Further Ideas and Inspirations

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