Rose Canyon in the midst of urban San Diego serves as an example in this activity. By participating directly in data collection and analysis, students will gain an appreciation of the erosion and weathering processes in the Californian environment. Students will also be able to connect key concepts in earth science to their direct experience and local environment.

  • Day 1: Introduce weathering and erosion. By the end of the lecture, students should know the causes of weathering and erosion, how they are similar, and how they are different.
  • Day 2: Assess what the students have learned from the previous day’s lecture. Students should be able to relate classroom concepts to the surrounding environment, and make predictions based on their own observations.
  • Day 1: Introducing Erosion.
  • Day 2: Erosion in the Field.
  • Remind students to wear field-appropriate shoes and clothing.
  • Remind students of proper behavior in the field (e.g., no picking flowers) and of potential hazards (poison oak, cactus spines).
  • The warmup is the first slide in PowerPoint presentation, showing a huge boulder in the middle of a paved road. How did this boulder get there?
  • Students will likely answer that it fell off a hill, which allows the instructor to ask why? Were there specific conditions that caused it to fall off, like rain?
  • Conclude: Weathering and erosion are important processes controlling the California environment. Now that students can recognize weathering and erosion, we will look for them on campus tomorrow.
  • Extra time: Extra time may be used introducing students to field equipment, such as thermometers and probes.
  • Warmup: Ask students to make hypotheses about the kinds of weathering and erosion they may see in the field. For example, in Rose Canyon we reminded students that it had been an extremely rainy year, and asked them to predict what had happened to a) Rose Creek and b) the dirt path.
  • Conclude: Ask students about their observations. Ask them to make predictions: what would happen if it rained for a month? What would happen if there was a drought.

Mechanical Weathering

Erosion on Campus

Lesson Specifics
  • Grade Level: 6-9
  • California Science Standard: 9b and 9c

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