Finding Erosion at Our School

Jeri Faber, educator
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Lesson/Lesson Plan
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.



In this lesson, students walk around the school grounds, neighborhood, or another area of their community to locate evidence of erosion. Various problems caused by erosion are discussed and a solution is developed for one of the problems.  This lesson is one in a series on erosion by Jeri Faber.  A follow-up lesson is available where students compare their erosion design solutions.

Intended Audience

Educational Level
- none -
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

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 is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
The teacher should scope out an area on the school grounds, neighborhood, or community ahead of time to find multiple sources where there is evidence of erosion for the students to locate and observe. Have the students record their observations. If your school area does not have evidence of erosion, photos or videos of erosion issues in the community could also be shown.

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
The teacher should have the students investigate their community looking for evidence of areas needing erosion controls. Allow the students to share where there are erosion concerns and their design solutions for controlling the erosion. Connecting the erosion to the student's own area helps them see that members of a community work together to solve problems. Have a local landscaper talk to the class about ways they address erosion issues. This also introduces students to businesses and careers in the community working toward solutions regarding erosion.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
After the students have explored their schoolyard, have them look for other places in their backyard, neighborhood, or other areas in their community where erosion has taken place. Discuss whether it was caused by water or wind. Discuss whether it seems to have happened quickly or slowly. Record results on chart paper and post in the room for student reference. Share photos or videos of erosion issues in the community. Discuss the problems and solutions.

Crosscutting Concepts

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

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
As students explore their community for erosion problems caused by wind or water, observations are recorded about the possible causes. The lesson provides observation sheets for the students to record their evidence of erosion and observations about the cause(s) of the slow or rapid change. Opportunities for the students to listen to the thinking of their peers enhances understanding of the phenomena.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This lesson was designed to include the Practice of constructing explanations and designing solutions for erosion control. Evidence of erosion in the schoolyard is observed and recorded by the students. They are encouraged to look for patterns in the causes of the erosion as either air or water.

  • Instructional Supports: The lesson includes a recording sheet, student explanations of erosion within the schoolyard, and short video clips of student design solutions that enables three-dimensional learning.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: This resource provides observable evidence of three-dimensional learning through the use of a rubric for evaluating the students' design solutions.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: There is no opportunity for student interactivity with the video clips other than students can evaluate the design or thinking of their peers.