1.2 Students will recognize the components and organization of
systems and the interconnections within and among them.
1.3 Students will understand that interactions in the physical environment may cause changes in matter and energy.
2.2 Students will apply science knowledge and skills to solve problems or meet challenges.
3.2 Students will know that science and technology are human endeavors, interrelated to each other, to society, and to the workplace.
Earth science and geomorphology
Erosion and deposition
Observation, inference, and measurement
Students will learn to identify landforms caused by erosion and deposition.
1 to 3 hours
Adapted from EARTH CONNECTIONS Resources For Teaching Earth Science
Permission is granted to photocopy this lesson. There is no copyright.
Caution students not to carry the comparison of mountain to mudpile too far. Mountains are not just piles of dirt but consist chiefly of bedrock. The bedrock is weathered and transported in several different ways and not just simply eroded away by water.
Running water (rivers and streams) is the most common agent of erosion. Glaciers, immense sheets of moving ice, slowly grind away and carry off large chunks of the Earth’s crust. The wind carries sand and dust, which act like sandpaper to wear down the rocks it contacts.
Erosional landforms illustrated by this activity include streams, canyons, and waterfalls. Depositional landforms illustrated include alluvial fans and deltas. This exercise also demonstrates the selective transport of materials by water. Fine particles are carried farther than coarse particles. Fast-moving water carries heavier particles than slowmoving water.
alluvium – silt, sand, clay, gravel, and other loose rock material deposited by flowing water,
as in a riverbed or delta.
alluvial fan – the fan-shaped deposit of alluvium left by a stream where it issues from a canyon onto a plain.
bedrock – the solid rock underlying the soil and other loose rock material on the Earth’s surface.
canyon – a narrow valley with steep walls, formed by running water.
delta – a triangular alluvial deposit formed where a river enters a large body of water.
deposition – the laying down of material carried by water
erosion – the wearing away of the soil and rock of the Earth’s crust
landforms – any physical, recognizable form or feature of the Earth’s surface having a characteristic shape and produced by natural causes. Examples include mountains, valleys, deltas, and canyons.
sediment – fragmented rock material, such as silt, sand, clay, gravel, carried and deposited by water, wind, or ice.
silt – sediment made up of fine mineral particles smaller than sand and larger than clay.
transport – to carry from one place to another.
weathering – the mechanical and chemical processes by which rock exposed to the weather turns into soil.