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Lesson Plan: Weathering

earth weather

Subject:  Science

Grade: 4

Lesson Objective: To understand the effects of different types of weathering

Next Gen Science Standard:  4-ESS2-1. Make observations and/or measurements to provide evidence of the effects of weathering or the rate of erosion by water, ice, wind, or vegetation.

Materials Needed:

  • Pie tin filled with dirt, soil or sand
  • Cookie sheet
  • Pitcher of water



  • What are some of the ways that land can change over time?  (Allow the students to answer.)



  • Changes that occur to land over time can happen because of weathering and erosion. 
  • Weathering is the breaking down or dissolving of rocks and minerals on the surface of the Earth.  Water, ice, salts, plants and changes in temperature all cause weathering.
  • Erosion is when earth is worn away by water, wind or ice.
  • Weathering and erosion are constantly happening.  Scientists make observations and take measurements to help them know how quickly changes are happening.
  • One type of weathering happens when water freezes and thaws.  When it rains, water goes into the cracks of rocks.  Then, as it gets cold, the water freezes in the rocks. 
  • We know that water expands as it freezes, so it pushes the rock apart.  Little pieces of rock come off and are carried away by water or wind.
  • Another type of weathering happens because of running water.  As water moves, it breaks down the stone or dirt that the water is running on and moves it along. 
  • One type of erosion happens because of wind.  Wind blows across the land and moves sand, dirt and small rocks.  The faster and harder the wind blows, the more erosion that happens.
  • We are now going to do an experiment so that you can see how weathering and erosion happen.
  • I have a pie tin full of dirt and a pitcher of water.  I also have a cookie sheet.  We are going to hold the pie tin at an angle and then pour a little water onto it. 
  • You are going to look and make observations about what is happening.  You will then write those observations down.
  • Does anyone have any questions?



  • Who would like to share what you observed?  (Allow the students to share.)

Written by Kimberly Greacen, Education World® Contributing Writer

Kimberly is an educator with extensive experience in curriculum writing and developing instructional materials to align with Common Core State Standards and Bloom's Taxonomy.

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