The Amazing Life of Sand | Deep Look

Contributor
PBS. org Designed by PBS Digital Studios.
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Documentary , Animation/Movie
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

The short video from PBS Deep Look shows how water is integral to forming sand.  The video's imagery is beautiful and the pace is engaging.  Students will learn about one of the Earth’s processes and have opportunity for follow-up investigations. 

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • Elementary School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

2-ESS1-1 Use information from several sources to provide evidence that Earth events can occur quickly or slowly.

Clarification Statement: Examples of events and timescales could include volcanic explosions and earthquakes, which happen quickly and erosion of rocks, which occurs slowly.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include quantitative measurements of timescales.

This resource was not designed to build towards this performance expectation, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
This resource supports learning how water has slowly changed the shape of the earth. It provides a close-up perspective of sand and sand particles, describing how water has played a role, over time, in slowly breaking and moving around larger materials. The video, highlighting this phenomenon, shows an example of a non-earth material getting larger, to create a grain of sand. Teachers may need to trace the journey backwards, asking students to consider what happened to the earth materials when the sand was chipped away (it got smaller) and to think about how such small particles of sand can form giant hills that shape the land.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource was not designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
The resource describes the phenomenon that water changes the surface of the land, but it does not frame this phenomenon as an engineering problem. To meet the engineering practice in the Performance Expectation, the teacher would need to ask, “How would you keep the particles of sand from breaking up and traveling in water to the beaches?” Students could list various ideas. Some ideas could be tried in an area such as a container garden in the classroom. The idea that water is breaking up of the larger materials and carrying them across the land would have students moving toward an understanding of the Performance Expectation.

This resource was not designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
After an investigation where students observed sand through a hand-lens and ask questions, this video will help students answer questions about where the different particles come from; how they are shaped the way that they are; and other questions related to shape and color.

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
The teacher would need to support students in considering time scale and focus on relative time. At first glance, it might be easy for students to think that the granite tumbling down the mountain into the river and eventually to the ocean, happens quickly. In order to avoid misconceptions to develop, teacher guided discussion is needed. The teacher needs to support the video with guided discussions. The teacher should emphasize both sides of the process, not just the “making and moving” of the earth material, but also the breaking down of larger materials at the source. In addition, the teacher may need to help students consider how important vast amounts of sand and soil materials are when pushed together where water and land meet.

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 students would benefit by using this Crosscutting Concept lens as they describe the event and demonstrate of the process of shaping the land through pictures and models. Through observing and describing sand dunes in their local area or other local landforms, students might be able to see the event through the lens of “stability and change”.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: The video is aligned to the three dimensions listed in the Performance Expectation. However, in order for a teacher to meet the Performance Expectation fully, she or he would need to provide students with multiple hands-on opportunities to explain or predict the same phenomenon. The idea of erosion is authentic in both science and engineering careers. These ideas are current and relevant to most communities. The resource includes lengthy background information with up-to-date scientific research that pertains to the content in the video and provides background for the teacher.

  • Instructional Supports: The video’s narration and imagery comprehension of content for all students. Teacher supports might include; slowing down the speech through paraphrase, previewing vocabulary and highlighting some of the ideas in the video through class discussion.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: There is no assessment provided. The teacher may present questions in which students use a science journal to answer. The teacher should check progress as students observe sand and soil through a hand lens. What does sand look like up close? What was the process to how it looks now?

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: The quality of the video is superior. The magnified imagery is striking and the processes are shown in slow motion.