Can We Save This Mountain?

Contributor
Veronique Paquette
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Activity , Lesson/Lesson Plan
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

This lesson was designed for students to investigate the impact that humans can have in controlling erosion.  Students plan, design, construct, and evaluate ways to slow or prevent landslides from changing the shape of the land.

Intended Audience

Educator
Educational Level
  • Elementary School
  • Grade 2
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access with user action - The right to view and/or download material without financial barriers but users are required to register or experience some other low-barrier to use.

Performance Expectations

K-2-ETS1-2 Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Students will need to be given the opportunity to design, compare, and collect data from their multiple solutions for preventing erosion on a mountainside.

K-2-ETS1-3 Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
To address the whole Performance Expectation, the teacher will need to give students the opportunity to modify design solutions and compare their ideas to the solutions of their classmates. Strengths and weaknesses of their design solutions will enhance the engineering design process. Students could replicate, or video record the design solutions that were the most effective and tell in the video about the design’s ability to prevent erosion. The lesson refers to different sizes of rocks being used to stop erosion.

2-ESS2-1 Compare multiple solutions designed to slow or prevent wind or water from changing the shape of the land.

Clarification Statement: Examples of solutions could include different designs of dikes and windbreaks to hold back wind and water, and different designs for using shrubs, grass, and trees to hold back the land.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
To address the whole Performance Expectation, the teacher will need to give students the opportunity to compare their ideas to the solutions of their classmates. Wind could also be addressed in a separate lesson by having students design solutions to control the shape of the land. Wind can be simulated by using a fan or students blowing through straws. Then the whole Performance Expectation can be addressed.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
It is implied in the lesson that students will compare their design solutions. To further address the practice, teachers would want to make sure students can view classmate’s solutions. The teacher should provide them the opportunity to discuss other students' data and the model. Having students video record the testing of the models and sharing with classmates about the model’s explanatory strengths and weaknesses would be beneficial.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
To address the entire Performance Expectation, the teacher will need to give students the opportunity to discuss, share, and compare solutions with their classmates to construct an evidence based account for natural phenomena. The students also watch a video of a landslide on a mountain and should discuss the changes to the land. Students need to be given the opportunity to test and modify their design solutions. The students write about their understanding of the concept in the lesson. Sharing what the students have learned with their peers can be added at the end of the lesson or to start the next day's lesson.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students need to discuss the possibility that there may be more than one solution to the same problem and that engineers consider many alternatives before determining the optimal solution.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The author uses the terms mountain slide, mud slide, and land slide throughout the lesson. Teachers should discuss the role of water in these disasters and the impact on the land.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
The lesson refers to different sizes of rocks being used to stop erosion. The size and placement of the rocks relates to the structure and function within their models. This leads to discussions of the strengths and weaknesses of their design solutions, which enhance the engineering design process. Students could replicate, or video record the design solutions and tell in the video about the design’s ability to prevent erosion as related to the structure and function of the objects used.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Teachers need to help students see the cause and effect relationship between their model and erosion in the real-world. Adding certain materials such as the rocks (cause) leads to less erosion (effect). Helping students see that the size and placement of rocks or structures in the path of the water or wind will enable students to experience and understand the cause and effect relationship. Students can also observe patterns by using different sizes of rocks to control the erosion. Comparing the model’s test results will show the pattern of more erosion when smaller rocks are used and less erosion when bigger rocks are used.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Students can see the slow or rapid changes from the tests of their first solutions and then of modified design solutions for preventing erosion of the mountainside in the investigation. For both designed and natural systems, conditions that affect stability and factors that control rates of change are critical elements to consider and understand. The teacher might consider adding a discussion about slow changes to the land, to contrast with this rapid event. For example, the changes that were made to the Wisconsin river happened slowly over a long-time period. Students could try to consider and compare some similar Earth process events that are slow, and others that are rapid.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: The lesson provides students with the opportunity to construct a solution to prevent water changing and impacting the shape of the land. Similar investigations using a fan or straws will help students apply the same concepts to wind erosion. Students plan, design, and test the solutions. Having students discuss and share their solutions would strengthen the alignment. Discussion among the students about the Crosscutting Concepts of stability and change, structure and function, and cause and effect will help students connect their model with real world situations.

  • Instructional Supports: The lesson includes clarifying videos for the students and the teacher about the Performance Expectation and the natural event of landslides. Samples of student work are included. Writing stems are provided to guide students in providing explanations and evidence of their learning.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: The students are given writing stems to assist with sharing their learning from their investigations. A rubric for scoring the writing would need to be created. Sharing of student learning with class members would enhance the concept of erosion and the understanding of the engineering design process.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: The students watch a video of a mudslide to experience the impact on the land.