For Students: This lesson should be taught after a lesson on the rock cycle. This lesson focuses primarily on sedimentary rocks from the rock cycle.
For Teacher: The Grand Canyon is famous for the beauty of its many rock layers exposed and for the stories they tell. Scientists from all over the world come to study the rocks at the Grand Canyon.
Most of the rock layers at Grand Canyon are sedimentary rock. Sedimentary rock forms when the sediments (dirt) of rivers, streams, seas, or deserts are laid down and cemented together over long periods of time.
The principle of superposition is used to determine relative ages of rock layers (strata). According to this principle, before the topmost layer of rock was laid down, the layer below it must already have been deposited. Any layer will be older than the layer above it and younger than the layer below it. So, the layer on the bottom is older than the layer on the top.
Remind students to use safety goggles during lab procedures
An online brainstorming tool called Answer Garden is used during the Before/Engage activity. Create an Answer Garden prior to introducing the lesson. Enter the topic "Use one to two words to describe the formation of the Grand Canyon." Then scroll down to the bottom of the page and hit Create. If you want to have more control, there are several options you can use to customize your Answer Garden.
The lab activity located in the during section should be set up prior to this time. The setup procedures for the Water and Wind Erosion Box are located in the attachments. This activity can be completed as a whole group or in small group stations.