The Power of Erosion

Grade: 4th
Duration: Four 1-hour CWC led campus visits and 3 short teacher-led activities (an optional field trip can replace one of the CWC led campus visits)
Location: Classroom and San Lorenzo River/local tributary

Materials and teaching provided free by the Coastal Watershed Council
Supported by generous funding from the County of Santa Cruz Green Schools Program, City of Santa Cruz, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Supports Next Generation Science Standards:
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.
4-ESS3-2: Generate and compare multiple solutions to reduce the impacts of natural Earth processes on humans.

Complements FOSS Kit
Grade 4: Soil, Rocks and Landforms

Lesson Series Overview
How can humans reduce the causes and effects of erosion?
Through hands-on activities, discussions and reflections, students will discover the answer to this focus question. Students will investigate the causes and effects of erosion, learn about erosion control techniques to stop erosion. The program culminates with a student-lead action project to help stop erosion.

Week 1
CWC led activity:
Investigate how water level impacts steelhead trout.
Supplemental teacher led activity: Examine steelhead trout’s life cycle.

Week 2: 
CWC led activity on school campus or field trip: Using a model, observe how water causes erosion.
Supplemental teacher led activity: Investigate signs of erosion on the school campus.

Week 3: 
CWC led activity on school campus or field trip: Investigate the effects of erosion by testing water transparency. During the field trip, students will also observe for signs of erosion along the river banks. On the school campus, students will engage in a challenge to remove sediment from water to demonstrate the impacts of transparency.
Supplemental teacher led activity: Make close observations of one of the sites of erosion on the school campus. 

Week 4: 
CWC led activity on school campus or field trip: Identify solutions to stop erosion and begin preparation for the action project.
Supplemental teacher led activity: complete action project if additional time is needed

Click here for Lesson Guide (Google Doc)
Click here for Watershed Ranger Student Journal
Click here for Lesson #3 Jigsaw Assignment Cards
Click here for pre and post survey

Coastal Watershed Council Commitment to Education Equity
CWC is committed that every youth is supported, welcomed, included and championed as part of their education program. As such, CWC is seeking to incorporate culturally and linguistically responsive teaching and learning practices, principles of Universal Design for Learning, support mechanism for multi-lingual learners and wellness and mindfulness practices into each lesson. A number of activities are intentionally designed and set-up to validate, affirm and include all youth. We will also include some questions related to how we supported education equity into our teacher surveys. We welcome ideas, feedback, considerations as we continue to build more education equity.


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