Big Idea 6: Earth Structures

Humans continue to explore the composition and structure of the surface of Earth. External sources of energy have continuously altered the features of Earth by means of both constructive and destructive forces. All life, including human civilization, is dependent on Earth’s water and natural resources.
General Information
Number: SC.4.E.6
Title: Earth Structures
Type: Big Idea
Subject: Science
Grade: 4
Body of Knowledge: Earth and Space Science

Related Benchmarks

This cluster includes the following benchmarks.

Related Access Points

This cluster includes the following access points.

Independent

SC.4.E.6.In.1
Recognize that rocks are classified by the way they are formed, such as sedimentary.
SC.4.E.6.In.2
Identify physical properties (hardness, streak color, and luster) of common minerals, such as rock salt, talc, gold, and silver.
SC.4.E.6.In.3
Recognize that some natural resources used by humans are non-renewable, such as oil.
SC.4.E.6.In.4
Identify that wind and water cause physical weathering and erosion of rocks.
SC.4.E.6.In.5
Identify tools used to observe things that are far away and things that are very small.
SC.4.E.6.In.6
Identify natural resources found in Florida, including solar energy, water, and limestone.

Supported

SC.4.E.6.Su.1
Sort rocks according to observable characteristics, including color, shape, and size.
SC.4.E.6.Su.2
Sort common minerals, such as rock salt, talc, gold, and silver, by their physical properties (luster and color).
SC.4.E.6.Su.3
Recognize that some natural resources can run out (non-renewable).
SC.4.E.6.Su.4
Recognize examples of weathering or erosion in the environment.
SC.4.E.6.Su.5
Recognize tools that will make things look larger, such as a telescope and a magnifier.
SC.4.E.6.Su.6
Recognize natural resources found in Florida, such as solar energy and water.

Participatory

SC.4.E.6.Pa.1
Distinguish rocks from other substances found on the Earth’s surface.
SC.4.E.6.Pa.2
Recognize common minerals, such as rock salt, talc, gold, and silver.
SC.4.E.6.Pa.3
Recognize the universal symbol for recycling.
SC.4.E.6.Pa.4
Recognize the effect of weathering on an object.
SC.4.E.6.Pa.5
Recognize that something has been magnified.
SC.4.E.6.Pa.6
Recognize water as a resource in Florida.

Related Resources

Vetted resources educators can use to teach the concepts and skills in this topic.

Educational Game

Identify The Rock:

This game allows students an opportunity to identify different kinds of rocks based on an actual photograph of the rock as well as characteristics of the rock, which are also shown.

Type: Educational Game

Formative Assessment

What Kind of Rock? - Expository Writing:

Using this resource, students are given an opportunity to use their science vocabulary and content knowledge to organize and write an essay on the subject of the three different kinds of rocks: igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary.

Type: Formative Assessment

Image/Photograph

Rocks for Kids:

This resource collection includes information about rocks and minerals. Included are glossaries, photos/images, links to other rock/mineral websites, and other information to develop understandings of rocks/minerals and the processes by which they are formed. A table of contents is included to guide navigation.

Type: Image/Photograph

Lesson Plans

Just Right Goldilocks’ Café: Temperature & Turbidity:

This is lesson 3 of 3 in the Goldilocks’ Café Just Right unit. This lesson focuses on systematic investigation on getting a cup of coffee to be the “just right” temperature and turbidity level. Students will use both the temperature probe and turbidity sensor and code using ScratchX during their investigation.

Type: Lesson Plan

Just Right Goldilocks’ Café: Turbidity:

This is lesson 2 of 3 in the Just Right Goldilocks’ Café unit. This lesson focuses on systematic investigation on getting a cup of coffee to be the “just right” level of turbidity. Students will use turbidity sensors and code using ScratchX during their investigation.

Type: Lesson Plan

Just Right Goldilocks’ Café: Temperature:

This is lesson 1 of 3 in the Just Right Goldilocks’ Café unit. This lesson focuses on systematic investigation on getting a cup of coffee to be the “just right” temperature. Students will use temperature probes and code using ScratchX during their investigation.

 

Type: Lesson Plan

Preventing Soil Erosion Lesson:

Students will investigate the factors that contribute to soil erosion.  Students will then design and model a berm that will resist soil erosion.

Type: Lesson Plan

Rocks:

Students will use their knowledge of minerals and the rock cycle to analyze the rocks on three available sites for a new skate park. After analyzing each rock site, they will write a one page recommendation that will explain the classification of the rock and why it is the best for option for building. In addition, they will create a product plan that contains information on the rocks, their history and their uses. Student groups will present to fellow group members then each student will evaluate the products.

Type: Lesson Plan

Dune or Doom: The Effects of Wind Erosion on Sand Dunes:

In this lesson, students will address the following real-world problem of sand dune erosion while integrating Engineering Design concepts:

Florida’s coastline has been ravaged by winds from hurricanes, resulting in damage to sand dunes and oceanfront properties. Your mission is to design the most effective barrier that would limit the amount of sand displaced from our tall sand dunes and prevent further damage to oceanfront buildings. Your designs can help us save the sand dunes before they are blown away!

Type: Lesson Plan

Building up Beaches:

In this STEM build, students will use problem solving skills and teamwork to model an effective way of slowing down beach erosion caused by the ocean. Students also will practice sharing their results through PowerPoint presentations.

Type: Lesson Plan

Physical Properties of Minerals Lab:

The 5E Learning Cycle lesson introduces students to the concept of minerals and their physical properties of hardness, color, streak color, luster, and cleavage. Students will explore the properties of minerals and learn about and practice determining the specific properties of a mineral sample.

Type: Lesson Plan

Going Green - Renewable and Non-Renewable Florida Resources:

Students will use their knowledge of renewable and non-renewable resources to create a green community in Florida. The students will be given a map of a plot of land in Florida on which to develop a green community. They will need to use renewable resources while protecting the non-renewable resources on the plot of land.

Type: Lesson Plan

Physical Properties of Minerals Student Activity Lab:

During this lab activity students will use their knowledge of the physical properties of minerals to investigate and describe seven common minerals including quartz, feldspar, biotite mica, calcite, pyrite, graphite, and talc. Students will determine hardness, color, luster, streak color, and cleavage using various hands-on testing methods.

Type: Lesson Plan

Resources Bulletin Board Challenge:

In this lesson, students will work to research and compare renewable and non-renewable resources. Students will then design and/or create bulletin boards to share their findings and teach others.

Type: Lesson Plan

Washed Away:

In this Engineering Design Challenge lesson, students will create a model beach and use different materials to find a solution to slow down the erosion process.

Type: Lesson Plan

Design a Dune:

Students work in teams to rank and determine which vegetation is best for a coastal dune restoration project.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Type: Lesson Plan

It's in the Bag!:

This is a 4th grade MEA. This MEA will ask students to work in teams to help Greens R Us, a fruit and vegetables business, decide which type of shopping bag to give their customers. Students will consider factors such as renewable and nonrenewable resources, environmental impact, and sustainability. This MEA allows students to use high-level problem solving skills in a real-world application involving Earth's natural resources.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Type: Lesson Plan

An Energetic Place to Live:

Sunny Land Developing is about to develop a new community in Florida. Students are needed to make suggestions for the company's choice of energy to integrate into the new homes. In this activity, students will review how people use electricity in their daily lives and learn about the differences between renewable and nonrenewable energy resources. Students will also be introduced to sound energy and how it is measured.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Type: Lesson Plan

Mastering Minerals!:

This MEA requires Students to review data and rank minerals from best to worst in terms of mineral properties, to help a mineral jeweler decide on the best mineral to use to make a necklace. Students will consider hardness, luster, color, cleavage and safety by analyzing the given charts which include these data by mineral. Students will work as a group and create a model for ranking the minerals.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Type: Lesson Plan

Florida's Natural Resources Quandry:

This Model Eliciting Activity (MEA) is written at a 4th grade level. In this open-ended problem, students are presented with a variety of natural resources found in Florida, a description of the resources, and the advantages/disadvantages of each. Students must consider which resources are both environmentally friendly and beneficial to our society. Students will describe their procedures for reasoning, and defend their decisions by providing proper validation.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Type: Lesson Plan

Fertilizers in Florida:

Growing Green, Inc. is planning to expand their business into Florida. The client has specific criteria for selecting a good location to set up their new fertilizer manufacturing plant. This project will familiarize students with some of Florida's natural resources (with a great emphasis on phosphate) and will present students with opportunities to interpret different types of maps.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Type: Lesson Plan

Weathering and Erosion Video Project:

Using a digital video recorder, 6th grade students will create an informational video that teaches 4th grade (or 5th as an FCAT review) students about weathering and erosion using images from around the school and local areas. This will most likely be a long-term project, depending on how many digital video recorders and computers are available.

Type: Lesson Plan

Greener School Cafeteria:

In this MEA students help their cafeteria manager make greener choices in selecting utensils.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Type: Lesson Plan

Wind at Work: Wind as a Renewable Resource:

This is an Engineering Design Project that follows the CIS: Wind at Work Lesson. This is lesson two of two in the Unit and builds upon the understanding of wind as a natural resource. It is applying content knowledge and is not intended as an initial introduction to the benchmarks.

Type: Lesson Plan

Town of Newberry: Alternative Energies MEA:

This Model Eliciting Activity (MEA) is written at a 5th grade level. In this open-ended problem, students are presented with a variety of energy resources, a description of the source, and the advantages/disadvantages of each. Students must consider which resource energy is the best to implement, describe their procedures for reasoning, and defend their decisions by providing proper validation.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Type: Lesson Plan

Save Our Sand--An Engineer/Design Challenge:

This Engineering Design Challenge is intended to help students apply the concepts of weathering and erosion from SC.4.E.6.4 as they build devices to stop beach erosion. It is not intended as an initial introduction to this benchmark.

Type: Lesson Plan

Cemented Together:

In this activity the students will create their own sedimentary rock using glue and various pieces of sediments found throughout the school yard. The students will create a model of a sedimentary rock and describe how they would identify a sedimentary rock in the real world.

Type: Lesson Plan

CIS Wind at Work:

This lesson is using complex text to teach "close reading" strategies using the Comprehension Instructional Sequence Method (CIS). It includes a lesson plan, a National Geographic article, and a summative assessment rubric. CIS is a detailed instructional method that should be used by those who have been trained in this strategy.

Type: Lesson Plan

Rocks, Rocks, Everywhere:

The students will be able to sort rocks based upon color, hardness, texture, layering and particle size.

Type: Lesson Plan

Power Up!:

This lesson is designed to compare and contrast renewable energy sources, such as the sun, wind, and geothermal, as well as nonrenewable energy sources, such as fossil fuels.

Type: Lesson Plan

Observing a Physical Change:

In this lesson, students are shown the difference between physical and chemical changes by dissolving and crushing seltzer tablets. Students learn to recognize that physical changes involved changes in size, shape, or texture, while chemical changes involve the formation of a new substance.

Type: Lesson Plan

The Lunar Cycle:

In this lesson, students learn about the Moon's changing appearance and its pattern of movement. Through class discussion, activities, and multimedia resources, students explore the phases of the Moon and are introduced to the concept of orbital motion. The Moon, Earth's only natural satellite, is easily observed with the naked eye. Over the course of one month, students observe and investigate its full range of appearances and its pattern of movement in the sky. Students then model the sun, earth and moon system in the classroom.

Type: Lesson Plan

Recycling and Composting:

This lesson shows students how important renewable resources are for our society & the world of living things. Trees, fresh water, and clean air support the majority of life on Earth; because of this, we must protect these and other critical natural resources from exploitation and pollution. One approach to this is conservation, the practice of ensuring that our natural resources will always be available to future generations. Class discussion and activities will help broaden students' understanding about some important conservation activities: recycling and composting.

Type: Lesson Plan

Find WHAT in Florida?:

This lesson addresses the topic of resources found in Florida. As 4th grade students learn about Florida, they should also be able to identify natural resources that are found and used within the state. Students have the opportunity to access and use their prior knowledge as they discover what a natural resource is and what resources can be found in Florida. Students will explore some of these resources in a hands on activity. Additional components include a non-fiction article and cooperative learning

Type: Lesson Plan

Recycle This!:

Students will learn about recycling renewable and nonrenewable resources while completing a model eliciting activity in which they help Sunshine School District to decide which material to start their recycling program with.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Type: Lesson Plan

What's your Resource: Renewable or Nonrenewable?:

Students will learn about renewable and nonrenewable resources and share their ideas by writing an expository paragraph.

Type: Lesson Plan

Original Student Tutorials

Natural Resources Part 3: Water:

Learn about the natural resources all around us in this interactive science tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Natural Resources Part 2: Material Use:

Learn about important natural resources, including limestone, silicon, and phosphate in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Natural Resources Part 1: Energy Use:

Learn about natural resources that humans use for energy in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Natural Resources:

Explore different types of natural resources and analyze the aspects of non-renewable and renewable resources in this interactive tutorial. You'll be challenged to question what we do with our resources and why it is so important to consider what we do with them after we have used them.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Weathering and Erosion:

Dig into the effects weathering and erosion have had on the shaping of our landscape.  Sift through the rocks of our world and how weathering has cut and shaped them and how erosion has transported  and molded the surfaces of the Earth.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Categories of Rocks:

Explore the three categories of rocks and what makes each one unique.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Properties of Minerals:

Explore the characteristics of minerals in our rock formations and what makes them unique. In this interactive tutorial, you'll learn about simple tests that are used to identify minerals.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Teaching Ideas

Earth Materials:

The Earth Materials Module consists of four sequential investigations dealing with observable characteristics of solid materials from the earth—rocks and minerals. The focus is on taking materials apart to find what they are made of and putting materials together to better understand their properties. The module introduces fundamental concepts in Earth science and takes advantage of the students' intrinsic interest in the subject matter and in the physical world around them.

Type: Teaching Idea

Looking at Weathering and Erosion:

Students will be divided into small groups to do simple science experiments that illustrate a type of weathering or erosion.

Type: Teaching Idea

Really Recycled-SeaWorld Classroom Activity:

In this activity, students will be able to recycle newspaper into their own conservation message. Students will also be given the opportunity to write about their experience with recycling or persuade the reader why it is important to recycle based on what they learned in the activity.

Type: Teaching Idea

Text Resources

Weathering:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article describes chemical, biological and mechanical weathering and includes causes and examples for each.

Type: Text Resource

Tower Of Power:

The article describes a new kind of solar energy which concentrates light waves from the sun.

Type: Text Resource

Tutorial

Weathering and Soil:

This tutorial will help student learners to understand the processes of chemical and mechanical weathering of the Earth. This tutorial also covers information about different kinds of rocks.

Type: Tutorial

Unit/Lesson Sequences

Weathering and Erosion: A Comprehension Instructional Sequence (CIS) Lesson Plan:

This lesson plan follows the template for the Comprehension Instructional Sequence (CIS), developed to implement Florida Standards in English/Language Arts. This sequence scaffolds students as they read and response to complex content-area informational text. This particular lesson plan uses informational text about weathering and erosion, which ties into the 4th grade benchmark .

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

Weathering and Erosion:

In this unit, students learn about weathering and erosion (and different types of weathering and erosion) through different models and activities. An engineering design competition asks students to synthesize knowledge about erosion to create an erosion-blocking process/product for the Atlantic Coast.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

Rocks and Minerals:

In this unit, students learn the physical properties of rocks and how they are formed.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

Video/Audio/Animation

Mars Science Laboratory-Curiosity Rover-Mission Animation:

This animation depicts key events of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, which launched in late 2011 and landed a rover, Curiosity, on Mars in August 2012.

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Virtual Manipulative

Solar System Simulator:

Use this resource to view the images of various planets from different spots from within the solar system. Set the parameters in the drop down menus and then click run simulator.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Student Resources

Vetted resources students can use to learn the concepts and skills in this topic.

Original Student Tutorials

Natural Resources Part 3: Water:

Learn about the natural resources all around us in this interactive science tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Natural Resources Part 2: Material Use:

Learn about important natural resources, including limestone, silicon, and phosphate in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Natural Resources Part 1: Energy Use:

Learn about natural resources that humans use for energy in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Natural Resources:

Explore different types of natural resources and analyze the aspects of non-renewable and renewable resources in this interactive tutorial. You'll be challenged to question what we do with our resources and why it is so important to consider what we do with them after we have used them.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Weathering and Erosion:

Dig into the effects weathering and erosion have had on the shaping of our landscape.  Sift through the rocks of our world and how weathering has cut and shaped them and how erosion has transported  and molded the surfaces of the Earth.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Categories of Rocks:

Explore the three categories of rocks and what makes each one unique.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Properties of Minerals:

Explore the characteristics of minerals in our rock formations and what makes them unique. In this interactive tutorial, you'll learn about simple tests that are used to identify minerals.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Educational Game

Identify The Rock:

This game allows students an opportunity to identify different kinds of rocks based on an actual photograph of the rock as well as characteristics of the rock, which are also shown.

Type: Educational Game

Video/Audio/Animation

Mars Science Laboratory-Curiosity Rover-Mission Animation:

This animation depicts key events of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, which launched in late 2011 and landed a rover, Curiosity, on Mars in August 2012.

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Parent Resources

Vetted resources caregivers can use to help students learn the concepts and skills in this topic.

Image/Photograph

Rocks for Kids:

This resource collection includes information about rocks and minerals. Included are glossaries, photos/images, links to other rock/mineral websites, and other information to develop understandings of rocks/minerals and the processes by which they are formed. A table of contents is included to guide navigation.

Type: Image/Photograph

Teaching Idea

Really Recycled-SeaWorld Classroom Activity:

In this activity, students will be able to recycle newspaper into their own conservation message. Students will also be given the opportunity to write about their experience with recycling or persuade the reader why it is important to recycle based on what they learned in the activity.

Type: Teaching Idea

Tutorial

Weathering and Soil:

This tutorial will help student learners to understand the processes of chemical and mechanical weathering of the Earth. This tutorial also covers information about different kinds of rocks.

Type: Tutorial