Sunday, January 20, 2013


The Earth is Changing!

If you teach a unit about the Earth and how its surface changes, you are going to love these ideas.  I can't take credit for most of them as they were blogs, Pinterest and TPT.  But there is no denying that they were super successful!

First, we made a model of Earth with clay.  I saw this idea at Meet the Dubiens who completed their model with Playdoh.  

Our third graders made their models with VanAken Plastalina modeling clay.  As long as you keep it in a baggie, it will never dry out.  My son still has his Earth Model from 5 years ago! 

To begin, you start in the center, then keep building the layers of the Earth with the different colors.  The last full layer is blue for the oceans.  Then the students get  bit of green to place the continents in the proper areas.  Don't forget a tiny piece of white for Antarctica!  To cut the model open, use a piece of very strong thread.  A knife may "smoosh" the model too much.  You will love the Ooooo's and Awww's when their model is dissected.  

Next we studied landforms and a Landforms Salt Map Project was assigned to be completed at home.  I will have pictures of them later this week!

For our Science Notebooks, we completed a Landforms Flip book created by Ginger Snaps Treats for Teachers (click on this link to get a free copy).  

I adapted it for the landforms that we were required to teach.  The kids loved making it and it gave them the perspective of elevation. Once finished, we glued it into our Science Notebook.  

Next we discussed weathering and made a foldable to go in our Science Notebooks.  The little pictures are from a Mailbox Magazine worksheet that was shrunk down to fit the foldable. 

Next, we set up hands-on Weathering Stations for each of the ways Earth is weathered.

Station 1 -  The students hammered a rock (inside a zip lock bag) while wearing goggles to demonstrate weathering by living things.  I recommend using sandstone as it breaks easily.

Station 2 -  The students weathered their rock piece by rubbing it   
with a 2" x 2" piece of sandpaper.  This simulated the wind driving sand against a rock of a long period of time.

Station 3 - Each student took turns shaking two rocks together in a container to show weathering by moving water.  
When the shaking was done, the rocks were smoother and rounded.  We also observed sediment on the bottom of the jar to show the bits of rock that had weathered away.  

Station 4 - The day before this lesson, you need to completely fill a glass bottle with water, place it in a plastic bag, and freeze it.   When we took ours out of the freezer, the lid was forced off and the water had frozen in a column coming through where the cap was.  The expanding ice broke out the bottle of the bottle, too.  There were also noticeable cracks in the bottle from the expansion of ice.  Because broken glass was involved, I walked around with the bag to allow each table group to view it.  

How do you demonstrate these topics in your classroom?  I would love to hear your ideas!

Check out more successfully implemented Pinterest projects at 
Learning in Wonderland and join the Linky Party to share your Pinterest success!


  1. I used to teach this stuff with 8th graders and I was always looking for hands-on ways!! Why didn't I see this 2 years ago? What an amazing lesson and your students will never forget!

    And I love your blog design, Megan does awesome work. Thanks for stopping by my blog and I can't wait to see your recipe!

    My Journey to 5th Grade


  2. I love your land-forms flip book! I need to remember this for next year!

    Love your new blog design :)

    The Frizz

    The Frizz in First Grade

  3. The earth model is awesome! I will have to try that out! The land-forms book is such a great way for kids to learn about our earth. Thanks for sharing these ideas and thank you for linking up!
    Learning In Wonderland

  4. Do you know which worksheet that was? I would LOVE to do the same foldable with my kids!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. In response to your question, "How do you demonstrate these topics in your classroom? I would love to hear your ideas!" For weathering, erosion, and deposition we do hands-on activities with sand. We put sand in containers and then model weathering, erosion, and deposition with a straw (wind), water in a spray bottle (precipitation), and ice cubes (ice). I also set one up in a paint tray with water in the bottom to represent waves. After we explore these ideas I give them a tabbed book that I made. You can see that on my blog if you're interested at I LOVE the inclusion of living things! That's definitely something I need to add next year!

  7. I am teaching 4th-6th grade science this year for the first time. I really like the different forms of weathering foldable, but I can't find the pictures anywhere. I would really love to do this with my students. Where can I find the pictures and information for the foldable?

    1. I have the pictures in a file a school. If you send me your email, I will send you a copy.

    2. I have the pictures in a file a school. If you send me your email, I will send you a copy.

    3. I would love that file with the pictures.

    4. I would love a copy of the file with the pictures!!! I love your site!! :)

    5. I am teaching this in my 4th grade science last coming up. Is there any way I could get the pictures to make my own foldable? I would greatly appreciate it. :)

    6. I am still waiting for the pictures.

  8. Did you ever find the pictures fromantic mailbox magazine? I never received the copy.

  9. Thanks Diane, for sharing the informative post with us. Creative ideas really help in teaching kids with ease and they too understand the topics conveniently. Keep sharing innovative ideas regularly. All the best!


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