This unit consists of 5 lessons and should take about 2 weeks to complete. It is intended for a senior (grade 11/12) marine science class. The goal of the unit is to have students learn about sediments provide further foundation for biology concepts later in the course. The lessons focus on how sediments are related to their source, how sediments are deposited, and how humans interact with them- utilizing them for their economic value as well as how we increase coastal erosion. Lesson 5 is a review/final evaluation in the form of a project.

  • Students understand where sediments come from and how they are deposited.
  • Students can describe how shape and size of particles is related to environment and how it affects settling rate.
  • Students know there are a variety of resources of significant economic value that come from marine sediments.
  • Students are familiar with various coastal defenses against erosion and can explain pros and cons of their use.
  • All sediments come from eroded rocks.
  • All sediments settle at the same rate, regardless of shape and size.
  • We do not use products of marine sediments in our daily lives.
  • Coastal defenses are designed because it is bad for the environment in the beach erodes.
  • There are 5 lessons in this unit. Each lesson has PowerPoint that contains teacher instructions and/or lecture content. The first 4 lessons have important vocabulary and a vocabulary sheet is provided for the unit. Each lesson also has an activity (lab) or analysis/extension questions to supplement the lecture. 5E charts are provided for teacher guidance as well. Students will have an introduction to sediments (lesson 1), learn about settling rates and sedimentation (lesson 2), learn about the economic value of sediments (lesson 3), study the effects of erosion using a stream table (lesson 4), and investigate a US coastal state (lesson 5).
  • This lesson introduces students to the concept of sediments and where they come from, and how we classify them. There is an activity where students research different types of sediments and teach their peers. Materials needed: The vocabulary sheet should be provided to students if you intend on using it for all 4 lessons.
  • In this lesson, students will investigate different factors that affect settling rate, and use sediment tubes to simulate sedimentation in natural environments. Materials needed: For the settling rate portion you will need large, clear cylindrical containers, corn syrup, water, modeling clay, stopwatches, rulers, and tape/marker. For the sedimentation portion you will need either purchased sediment tubes, or create your own with water, clear cylindrical containers that can be sealed, a mixture of different sized “sediment” (you can use ground up chalk, small pebbles, sand etc. just be sure there are distinct sizes).
  • This lecture-based lesson will teach students about the economic value that sediments have. This includes learning about fossil fuels, as well as alternative energy sources, and products that are made from the sediments themselves. The lesson asks students to consider the feasibility of different energy sources. Materials needed: Although no additional material is required, if you have a video about fossil fuel and/or energy use, it would fit nicely in this lesson.
  • In this lesson, students will learn about the affects of coastal erosion through a lab. They will investigate natural erosion, as well as erosion caused by coastal defenses, by creating a shoreline in a stream table. Materials needed: stream tables, water, large amount of sand, aluminum foil, rocks, toothpicks, modeling clay.
  • This final evaluation has students researching a US coastal state and designing a poster to communicate the information. Students will highlight main concepts learned throughout the sediments unit in the context of their assigned state. Materials needed: poster paper, markers, research resources (if students don’t have access to the internet you will have to provide them with resources to conduct their research- suggestions are given in the PowerPoint).
  • This unit is intended for a senior marine science classroom. For a class of about 30, this unit will take about 1.5 to 2 weeks to teach, depending on how long a class period is. Lessons 1 and 3 can be completed in a single class period, but 2 and 4 will likely take longer due to the lab component. The length of the 5th lesson (which is really a project/evaluation) is variable depending on how much detail is desired on the poster, it will likely take at least 2 class periods. The lessons are designed to be taught in order, but if necessary background information is provided, could be taught out of order. Ideally these lessons will be taught in a marine science class where students have already discussed earth formation, but have yet to learn about marine habitats.
  • Prerequisites:
          - Students should have some knowledge of plate tectonics and coastal margins.
          - Students should have basic lab experience (keeping a notebook, recording results).
          - Students should have a basic knowledge of maps, and latitude/longitude.
          - Students should know basic algebra.
  • Each lesson provides some way of assessing the students, though typically it is through discussion.
  • Lesson 5 is a final evaluation, in the form of designing a poster. Students will be assigned a coastal state to research, and will include information related to the key concepts taught throughout the unit, as well as concepts taught earlier in the course (margins and plate tectonics for example). Questions to guide poster design and grading are provided in the lesson 5 PowerPoint.
  • Teaching notes are provided in the PowerPoints for each lesson and in the 5e outline. The unit was designed for a marine science class and should be taught so that students can make connections between Earth and ocean basin formation, and marine environments and biology.
  • HS-ESS2-1: Develop a model to illustrate how Earth’s internal and surface processes operate at different spatial and temporal scales to form continental and ocean-floor features.
  • HS-ESS2-2: Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth's surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
  • HS-ESS2-5: Plan and conduct an investigation of the properties of water and its effects on Earth materials and surface processes.
  • HS-ESS3-1: Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
  • HS-ESS3-4: Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
  • HS-ESS3-2: Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.
  • HS-ETS1-1: Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
  • ESS2.A: Earth Materials and Systems.
  • ESS2.B: Plate Tectonics and Large-Scale Systems Interactions.
  • ESS2.C: The Roles of Water in Earth's Surface Processes.
  • ESS3.A: Natural Resources.
  • ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems.
  • ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions.

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Lesson Specifics
  • Grade Level: 11-12
  • Time Frame: 2 weeks

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