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Union Elementary students ‘rock and roll’ with landforms

Students in Michelle Johnson's fourth-grade class at Union Elementary School work on landforms research after they had to choose which type of rock they would like to be: igneous, metamorphic or sedimentary.

Fourth graders in Michelle Johnson’s class at Union Elementary have been having fun learning all about the rock cycle and the various landforms we have on Earth.

“What started out as simply observing various types of rocks soon turned into an adventure all on its own,” explained Johnson.

Students had to choose which type of rock they would like to be: igneous, metamorphic or sedimentary.

From there, they did a web quest on that particular type of rock’s cycle and created a comic strip representing what their life would be like through each step of the cycle.

“It was interesting to see how their imaginations played out when they had to become a lifeless character like a rock,” Johnson said.

Besides creating a comic strip and doing a web quest, Johnson’s class has viewed many videos on United Streaming and worked through several flipcharts to gain a better understanding of the rocks and minerals in our everyday lives.

Students were surprised at the types of minerals found in the common items of their household (clocks, lamps, bed rails, etc.)

“Several students have been so excited about rocks and minerals, that they have gone on scavenger hunts at their houses and gathered samples to bring in and show the class,” Johnson said. “Our study of minerals and the types of rocks found on Earth will lead into investigations of the various landforms we have.”

One investigation will focus on erosion, deposition, slope and topographical information, which will lead to students getting their hands dirty. The class will take powdered clay and mix it with sand to form a base “landform.”

Students will set up drip cups so that “rain” or “flood” water will run over the landform they create, causing erosion and deposition of the sand mixture. “With all of the rain we have had over the summer, the students should have a very good background knowledge of what real-life erosion and deposition looks like.” Johnson said.

The class’ final, culminating project will involve each student creating a slide for a class Google Presentation about rocks, minerals, and landforms.

“The students are very excited to get to use the laptops much more often, so we will be putting them to good use through our presentations,” Johnson said. “As you can tell, we have been ‘rocking’ it out and we are ‘rolling’ on through our Landforms unit.”

Written by: Michelle Johnson, fourth grade teacher at Union Elementary
Posted: Sep 26, 2013 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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