GEDB Rock Cycle: Weathering Simulations (Lesson 4 of 5)
In this lesson students will learn about the various processes involved in breaking down rocks both physically and chemically. They will also compare a process they do in class to what happens to rocks and other land forms in the real world. This lesson was developed by Richard Kidd as part of their completion of the North Carolina Global Educator Digital Badge program. This lesson plan has been vetted at the local and state level for standards alignment, Global Education focus, and content accuracy.
In this lesson students will learn about the various processes involved in breaking down rocks both physically and chemically. They will also compare a process they do in class to what happens to rocks and other land forms in the real world.
Learning Targets and Criteria for Success
Students will know the relevant vocabulary: abrasion, chemical weathering, mechanical weathering, igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary, sediment, erosion, deposition, rock, mineral.
Explain the process of the rock cycle as it relates to soil formation. (6.E.2.3)
Learning Tasks and Practice
- Why are some rocks smooth while others are sharp?
- How long does it take for rocks to move from sharp to smooth?
- What are some processes that can make rocks change forms?
To discuss these processes the first thing we do is view a BrainPop video and quiz. The BrainPop’s generally last about ten minutes overall including going over the quiz at the end of the short video. This is a great introduction to the processes of weathering.
The students have a page of notes in their notebooks that compare different forms of mechanical and chemical weathering. As a class, they will use technology to fill in their notebook sheet.
The class will then simulate one type of physical weathering (abrasion) and one type of chemical weathering (acid rain). Each group of students will receive a rough-cut block of wood and two types of sandpaper (one course grit and one smooth grit). The students will work together and use the different sandpapers to convert the rough wood into smooth wood using the different sand papers. They will write their observations and conclusions on a lab report.
Each group of students will also receive a piece of steel wool, a measure of vinegar (acetic acid), and a glass jar with lid. They will place the steel wool and vinegar in the jar and close the lid. They will draw or take a picture of what their jar looks like. They will observe what happens to the steel wool as it reacts with the vinegar at the beginning of class each day for two weeks. At the end of the time they will take another picture or draw what has happened to the steel wool in the vinegar.
Collecting and Documenting Evidence of Learning
The students have a page in their notebooks, the words in red are not filled in, as a result of the lesson the students will fill in the missing words in their notes. See the attached lesson for an example of the notes with the words filled in.