What Is Our Evidence That We Live on a Changing Earth?
What Is Our Evidence That We Live on a Changing Earth? is part of Smithsonian Science for the Classroom, a brand-new curriculum series by the Smithsonian Science Education Center. It is aligned to a group of grade 4 standards. It has a focus on Earth and space science with a secondary focus on engineering. In this module, students:
- Analyze models of Earth, maps and globes, identifying patterns in the locations of major topographic features and occurrences of earthquakes and volcanoes
- Obtain information about the hazards associated with earthquakes and volcanoes and ways humans monitor such Earth processes
- Explain differences between wind-driven ocean waves and tsunami waves
- Design and test models of earthquake-resistant buildings
- Investigate weathering and erosion processes and explain the roles these processes have in changing the landscape
- Use fossils and structures found in rock layers to explain the appearance of former landscapes
- Propose a Smithsonian exhibit on Our Changing Earth that answers the module question
Below are digital resources that support teaching of this module.
This image of a phenomenon should spark student thinking about evidence of change on Earth.
This is a map showing locations of active volcanoes on Earth.
This rocky cliff experiences several types of weathering and erosion.
This image of a phenomenon should spark student thinking.
This global map provides students with more exposure to different types of maps.
Use this site to show the global distribution of recent earthquake activity and volcano hazard alerts.
This video contains clips of eruptions at Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii.
Natural Hazards Viewer
A website with which you can search for several different types of natural disasters. To prepare the site for the Lesson 3 extension, select the Reset All Filters button on the lower left side of the viewer. Then select the check box next to Significant Earthquakes, Significant Volcanic Eruptions, or both. Use the search button for each of these hazards to limit the search to one year, possibly the year most of your students were born. Select specific events and access the information for students or prepare to show the viewer to the class and have them guide the selection.
Deep Water Floater
This video shows an object bobbing up and down in deep water when a wave passes through.
This video shows a wave moving through the crowd in a stadium.
This is an unlabeled diagram of a wave.
This file contains two photographs of evidence of a tsunami wave. One shows evidence in rock layers and the other shows evidence of a recent tsunami.
This link provides access to examples of tsunami warning and evacuation signs from several locations.
For Lesson 5, show the first 34 seconds of this video which shows shaking during a 30 November 2018 earthquake in Anchorage, Alaska. The earthquake’s focus was 46.7 km under the surface of Earth.
This link provides access to an earthquake database. Use the setting icon on the top right to select magnitude and time limits. The map view can be changed by using the “Zoom to” button to select a region or by using the +/- keys.
Shake It Up Model
This is a picture of the model students will use in their investigation.
This image provides a description of the Modified Mercalli Intensity scale.
In an Earthquake
For Lesson 6, show three video clips.
1:00-1:23 of this video (shown in Lesson 5) which shows shaking during a 30 November 2018 earthquake in Anchorage, Alaska. The earthquake’s focus was 46.7 km under the surface of Earth.
0:23-0:57 of this video which shows shaking during a 14 February 2016 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. The earthquake’s focus was 15 km under the surface of Earth.
The first 50 seconds of this video which shows shaking during a 05 July 2019 earthquake in Ridgecrest, California. The earthquake’s focus was 8 km under the surface of Earth.
School Earthquake Safety
This link provides information about school earthquake safety under the heading Preparedness and Safety Resources.
The images in this file are tips for joints students can use in their designs.
Resist This Engineering
This lists the criteria and constraints for the student project.
The video shows earthquake shake testing in the University of Buffalo Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory. For the initial discussion, show only the first 50 seconds of the video.
Video courtesy of Structural and Earthquake Engineering and Simulation Laboratory (SEESL), University at Buffalo (Buffalo, NY).
Drop Cover Hold On
This link provides resources for earthquake safety for people with disabilities.
This image shows natural and man-made materials moved around by a tsunami coming ashore.
This image shows a mountain glacier.
This image shows students how to mark an index card for measuring tray angle.
Water on Soil
This video includes two clips of water interacting with bare ground.
This image shows tree roots growing into rock on a cliff.
Soil Erosion Test
This is a photograph of the investigation set up for Lesson 10.
This is a collection of links to websites related to designing and building rain gardens.
Studying Earth Layers
This file contains several images to support the discussion of Lesson 11.
Red Rock Canyon
These are current pictures of Red Rock Canyon, showing variations in the landscape near Colorado Springs, Colorado.
This file houses the guidelines for the Science Challenge.
This file contains the prompts students will respond to when visiting other exhibits.
This is a link to a webpage from a Smithsonian Institution’s exhibits group.
Pepper the Robot
This file is an introduction to Pepper, a robot docent at the Smithsonian Institution.
Kit Tips & Tricks