The Grand Canyon

Contributor
Jason Chin Roaring Brook Press
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Informative Text
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 nonfiction informational text describes and illustrates the geological history of the Grand Canyon. The effects of weathering and subsequent erosion are detailed in descriptions of the rock layer formations. Evidence of landscape changes are examined in conjunction with investigations of fossil locations. The student-friendly text includes both canyon illustrations and diagrams of rock layers as a means of explaining the geological history and its relationship to the current landscape (a “walk through time”). The text could be included as a supplemental resource in a weathering and erosion unit.

 

Intended Audience

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

Available for purchase - The right to view, keep, and/or download material upon payment of a one-time fee.

Performance Expectations

4-ESS1-1 Identify evidence from patterns in rock formations and fossils in rock layers for changes in a landscape over time to support an explanation for changes in a landscape over time.

Clarification Statement: Examples of evidence from patterns could include rock layers with marine shell fossils above rock layers with plant fossils and no shells, indicating a change from land to water over time; and, a canyon with different rock layers in the walls and a river in the bottom, indicating that over time a river cut through the rock.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include specific knowledge of the mechanism of rock formation or memorization of specific rock formations and layers. Assessment is limited to relative time.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
The book supports the performance expectation by illustrating the patterns in rock formations and fossils in rock layers of the Grand Canyon that provide evidence of changes in the landscape over time. To strengthen the connection to the performance expectation, teachers could have students focus on ways geologists gather evidence of Earth’s history as they read the book. Guiding questions might include asking students to explain why geologists study rocks and fossils, how rock layers and fossils provide clues to the past, and what connections they might observe between those clues and the subsequent landscape changes. Students could work in groups to discuss these questions, then share their comments with the class. Teachers may jigsaw the groups using different sections of the book.

4-ESS2-1 Make observations and/or measurements to provide evidence of the effects of weathering or the rate of erosion by water, ice, wind, or vegetation.

Clarification Statement: Examples of variables to test could include angle of slope in the downhill movement of water, amount of vegetation, speed of wind, relative rate of deposition, cycles of freezing and thawing of water, cycles of heating and cooling, and volume of water flow.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to a single form of weathering or erosion.

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
The book supports the performance expectation because it depicts a variety of fossils/rocks found in the sedimentary layers of the Grand Canyon , giving evidence of how landscape changes are caused by erosion and weathering. To strengthen the use of this resource, teachers may introduce students to the phenomenon of the Grand Canyon with photos or a video prior to reading the book. Allowing them time to formulate questions and discuss how they think the canyon was formed could provide the teacher with evidence of prior knowledge, as well as identify potential misconceptions.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
This resource supports the practice because students use it to gather evidence of the effects of weathering and erosion in the Grand Canyon. They could also gather information from videos and other resources as well.

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 book supports the disciplinary core idea by showing examples of the ways the natural processes of water, wind, and gravity weather, then erode rock layers of the Grand Canyon. However, it mainly focuses on the evidence geologists use to uncover Earth’s history. To find out more about the processes involved, students should refer to the end notes of the book.

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
This resource supports the disciplinary core idea because the illustrations depict how the presence and location of certain fossil types in the Grand Canyon explain the order in which the rock layers were formed. To make the connection to the disciplinary core even stronger, students could use an art and science integration activity to diagram rock layers and fossil locations. “Biome Is Where the Art Is,” a Science and Children 2005 article, details ways torn paper could be used to visually represent rock layers. See: http://www.nsta.org/publications/news/story.aspx?id=50915. Students could create a wall mural, adding fossil symbols in appropriate layers. Diagrams could also be created in student journals. Knowledge of specific rock layer names would not be the focus of this activity. Instead, student written/oral descriptions would focus on changes in landscapes over time due to the effects of weathering and erosion.

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 resource supports this crosscutting concept because it focuses on the patterns of change that occurred based on evidence in the geologic layers of the Grand Canyon, explaining how the landscape changes occurred and why. To make the crosscutting concept more explicit, whole class teacher guided discussions could focus on evidence of patterns of change noted in the text.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: Three-dimensional learning occurs as students gather information from the informative text to make sense of the Earth forces that created the Grand Canyon. The phenomena of weathering and erosion are integrated with the patterns of rock layers and the geological history of the Grand Canyon as evidenced by the presence and location of the fossils in those layers. In order to more fully align to NGSS, the teacher could include a discussion of how rock layers and fossil formations can be used as evidence to note the passage of geological time. During discussions and/or student art presentations, patterns of erosion caused by wind, water, and gravity could be integrated with geological history. Based on what they learn from the book, students could record and classify patterns of landscape changes, connecting them to the phenomena of weathering and erosion.

  • Instructional Supports: This book does not include explicit supports for differentiation, although the illustrations will be a helpful resource for struggling learners. The beautiful illustrations and accurate scientific information will help students make sense of the many amazing phenomena evident in the Grand Canyon. Working in groups to analyze portions of the book, and sharing learning through a K-W-L chart or the art project suggested above will support student learning.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: Specific assessment of student learning is not provided in this resource. The teacher could embed formative assessment questions as the text is being presented. Their focus could be directed toward student observation of patterns noted in rock layers, fossil locations, and sediment movement over time. Student responses could guide further instruction. The text could be presented over several sessions, allowing students to journal/illustrate/diagram their thoughts about the questions for each section.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This resource does not include a technologically interactive component.