How Can Wind Change the Shape of the Land?

Jeri Faber
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.



This lesson builds on another lesson created by Jeri Faber in which students discovered how water changes the earth. For this lesson, students take part in a teacher-led investigation to show how wind changes the land. The children use straws to blow on a small mound or hill of sand. As each child takes a turn, the other students record their detailed observations that will later be used to draw conclusions. Students also watch a short video on wind erosion and discuss the new learning with partners.

Intended Audience

Educational Level
  • Grade 2
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-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
This lesson is designed to have the students observe each other as they blow through a straw on the sand hill. However, to explicitly address the Performance Expectation, have students record and compare different strengths and speeds of "wind" as they blow through the straw to see what changes in the sand hill occurred. Students then discuss what could be done to slow or prevent the wind from changing the sand hill. Having the students generate, test, and compare what design solutions slow or prevent the changes in the sand hill further addresses the Performance Expectation. With these changes to the lesson, the recording sheet would need to be revised. By having the students share their observations and discuss the results of the investigation, students can make the connections to the new concepts. Be sure to have the students view the photographs of wind erosion. They are a great visual for the changes wind can make to the land. The water and land erosion video provides further information on wind erosion as well as weathering.

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
Listen in on partner conversations as the students evaluate the information from the investigation, photos, and prior experiences to capture students’ reasoning with evidence. They should be able to verbalize that blowing on the sand made crevices, and the sand hill was a bit smaller than it was in the beginning. Students also need the opportunity to generate and compare the solutions for slowing or preventing erosion. In the "Wrap-Up" section of the original lesson plan, the teacher gives the students the opportunity to communicate information and ideas about how wind erosion changes the Earth, but this discussion should also occur throughout the investigation. Students could also write in journals or do an exit slip about their new learning. Linking this discussion to a previous lesson on water erosion will help students connect different types of erosion to varying degrees of change.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
This lesson addresses wind erosion. Teach and connect both the water erosion and wind erosion lessons to fully address this Core Idea.

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
This cross-cutting concept is not explicit in the lesson as stated. However , if students are given the chance to run tests using fast and strong “wind” against slow and weak “wind,” they would meet the expectation for this Crosscutting concept:Things may change slowly or rapidly. The lesson discussions, investigations, and photos also help students visually connect the new learning that things may change slowly or rapidly.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: As stated, students are actively involved in the class investigation. Each child watches a classmate do the investigation, record their observations and make conclusions based on their notes and drawings, yet stronger alignment could occur if students are allowed to generate, compare, and test design solutions for controlling erosion.

  • Instructional Supports: The students are active participants in the investigation. Video clips of the process are included in the lesson plan. These video clips help teachers to clearly see the investigation in action. Student thought processing of the information is also in a video clip. All questions for teachers to ask are included.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: Teachers would have to develop formative and summative assessments and rubrics for this resource. Anecdotal notes could be taken for each student as the teacher circulates during the investigation and the turn-and-talk activities. Students’ notes and discussions could also be monitored to check for student understanding throughout the activity to allow for teacher guidance as needed. The students could also make a journal entry about their personal understanding of wind erosion. During the "engage section" of the lesson, it would be beneficial to write the students' answers and predictions up so everyone can see and refer to them later.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: The photos create a great visual and starting point for the lesson. All four pictures are visible. The video clip of land and water erosion is another visual for the students to view forms of erosion.