ALEX Lesson Plan

     

Modeling Earth's Layers: How Can Thermal Convection Cause Earth's Materials to Move?

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Hannah Bradley
System: Dothan City
School: Carver Magnet School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 35250

Title:

Modeling Earth's Layers: How Can Thermal Convection Cause Earth's Materials to Move?

Overview/Annotation:

Students will create a labeled sketch of Earth's interior, read a variety of informational texts and complete a jot chart that will utilize available evidence to describe the Earth's interior layers and explain the role of thermal convection in the movement of Earth's materials.

Students will create a model of the Earth's layers and present this model to their classmates, explaining the role of thermal convection in the movement of Earth's materials. 

This lesson results from a collaboration between the Alabama State Department of Education and ASTA.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
SC2015 (9-12) Earth and Space Science
12. Develop a model of Earth's layers using available evidence to explain the role of thermal convection in the movement of Earth's materials (e.g., seismic waves, movement of tectonic plates).

Local/National Standards:

 

Primary Learning Objective(s):

  • Students will develop a model of Earth's layers.
  • Students will research available evidence and explain the role of thermal convection in the movement of Earth's materials.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 
 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

Greater than 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Student Materials (per student)

Paper

Pencil or pen

"Earth's Interior Layers" Jot Chart

"Earth's Layers Model and Presentation Planning Guide" Sheet

Materials to Create Model: In this lesson, students will develop a model of Earth's interior layers. Depending on the resources available to the teacher and students, the teacher may wish to provide students materials to create the model or the teacher may require students to bring materials from home.

Website Links Used in Lesson (to be copied prior to lesson if internet-capable devices are unavailable to students)

"How Many Licks Does it Take to Get to the Center?" from Utah State Office of Science Education

"Inside the Earth" from National Geographic

"The Earth's Interior" from rocksandminerals4u.com

"Inferred Properties of Earth's Interior" from New York Science Teacher

"How do we Know What's Inside Earth?" from U.S. Array

"Earth's Structure" from Trinity University

"Structure of the Earth" from physicalgeography.net

Website Links for Acceleration Strategy

"Hot Planet" from ck12.org

"Earth's Layers Discussion Questions" from ck12.org

Teacher Materials

Video clip for before strategy: "Journey to the Center of the Earth-Official Trailer" from youtube.com-2:16

"Earth's Interior Diagram" from the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies

"Earth's Layers Model and Presentation Rubric" (rubric was designed using Edutopia's sample rubric)

Technology Resources Needed:

Student Technology Resources

An internet capable device to view informational text (if available)

Teacher Technology Resources

Teacher computer with internet access

Interactive whiteboard or projector with ability to project sound

Background/Preparation:

Student Background Information: This lesson assumes that students have basic background knowledge of the layers of Earth's interior, including the convection currents that occur within Earth's mantle which result in tectonic plate movement. This content is covered in the sixth grade Alabama Course of Study standards 9, 11, 13, and 13a.  

The teacher can review these concepts with students prior to teaching this lesson by viewing the following video clips:

"Earth's Interior Isn't Quite What We Thought It Was" from Talk Nerdy to Me on youtube.com-3:44

"100 Greatest Discoveries: The Core of Earth" from the Science Channel-2:39 

"Convection Currents" from youtube.com-3:42

If using technology devices, the students will need to be able to navigate to a particular website.

Teacher Background Information: The inner core is a solid sphere of dense metals, composed of mostly iron and nickel. The outer core is liquid metal, consisting of mostly iron and nickel. The convection currents within the outer core create Earth's magnetic field. The mantle consists of extremely hot rock; the upper part of the mantle is called the asthenosphere, this part of the mantle flows very slowly in convection currents. Above the asthenosphere, is the lithosphere, the brittle, rigid part of Earth's crust. The lithosphere is separated into tectonic plates which float slowly on the asthenosphere. Although we are unable to study the Earth's interior directly, scientists have studied the interior indirectly using seismic waves.

Convection currents occur when a heat source is applied to a fluid substance. In Earth's interior, energy from the outer core heats the rock of the mantle, causing it to become less dense. This hot rock rises towards the lithosphere, where it cools, becomes more dense, and sinks back towards the outer core. Although the convection currents in the mantle are very slow, they cause plate movements over millions of years. These plate movements can cause a variety of effects on Earth's surface, such as earthquakes.

In this lesson, students will be developing a model of Earth's interior layers. Depending on the resources available to the teacher and students, the teacher may wish to provide students materials to create the model, or the teacher may require students to bring materials from home. The teacher should make copies of all required resources prior to teaching the lesson.

  Procedures/Activities: 

Before Strategy/Engage: 25 minutes

1. The teacher should show the following video clip: "Journey to the Center of the Earth-Official Trailer" from youtube.com. As the students view the video clip, the teacher should ask them to focus on the accurate and inaccurate portrayals of Earth's interior.

2. After viewing the video clip, the teacher should ask students to sketch and label a diagram of the Earth's interior. The teacher should instruct students that this diagram does not have to be perfect, instead, students should focus on representing the information they currently know about the layers of Earth's interior. The teacher should allow the students approximately 5-10 minutes to complete their diagram.

3. After students have completed their labeled sketch of the Earth's interior, the teacher should allow students to share and discuss their diagram with a partner. During the discussion, the students should be allowed to add or change their diagram as they see fit.

4. Next, the teacher should display a scientifically-accurate, labeled diagram, such as "Earth's Interior Diagram". The students should compare their diagram to the diagram shown by the teacher. The teacher should allow student volunteers to share the similarities and differences between the various diagrams. The teacher can begin a class discussion by posing the following questions:

  • What similarities do you see between your diagram and the diagram on the board?
  • What differences do you see between the two diagrams?
  • Did you leave out any layers of the Earth's interior? If so, which ones?
  • Did you add things to your diagram that are not actually part of Earth's interior?

During Strategy/Explore & Explain: 45 minutes

1. The teacher should give each student a copy of "Earth's Interior Layers" Jot Chart. Students will need access to the articles listed in the materials section. Students may use a printed copy of the article or access the article online using an internet-capable device.

"How Many Licks Does it Take to Get to the Center?" from Utah State Office of Science Education

"Inside the Earth" from National Geographic

"The Earth's Interior" from rocksandminerals4u.com

"Inferred Properties of Earth's Interior" from New York Science Teacher

"How do we Know What's Inside Earth?" from U.S. Array

"Earth's Structure" from Trinity University

"Structure of the Earth" from physicalgeography.net

Note: The teacher may also make use of other available informational text resources, such as classroom textbooks.

2. Students will read the articles while completing the "Earth's Interior Layers" Jot Chart. This note taking strategy will require students to read a variety of informational texts and graphics and organize the information into a table. Students will learn the composition, thickness, density, pressure, and temperature of the Earth's interior layers. In addition, this jot chart will require students to analyze the available evidence and determine how we have gained data about Earth's interior, as it can not be observed directly.

After Strategy/Explain & Elaborate: 45+ minutes

Note: The teacher should decide whether to allow students to work independently, in partners, or in collaborative groups for the final portion of the lesson. Depending on the available time and resources in the classroom, the teacher may allow students to create their model during class or assign this project as homework.

1. The teacher should explain that students will be creating a model of Earth's interior layers based on the research conducted in the previous part of the lesson. In addition to creating a model, the students will create a presentation (poster, PowerPoint, Prezi, etc.) to explain the evidence they used to create the model and the role of thermal convection in the movement of Earth's materials.

2. The teacher should give each student a copy of the "Earth's Layers Model and Presentation Rubric". The teacher should discuss his or her specific expectations with students.

3. Next, the teacher should give each student a copy of the "Earth's Layers Model and Presentation Planning Guide". This sheet will guide students in developing an accurate model of Earth's layers using the evidence from the jot chart during the previous portion of the lesson. The planning sheet will also assist students in developing their presentation, which should explain how the model was created based on available evidence and the role of thermal convection in the movement of Earth's materials.

4. After students have planned their project, the teacher should review each student's plan to ensure the project is feasible. The teacher may allow students time in class or at home to complete the model and presentation. After students have had ample time to complete the project, the teacher should allow students to present their model to their classmates. The teacher will formally assess each student's model and presentation using the "Earth's Layers Model and Presentation Rubric".


  Assessment  

Assessment Strategies

Formative Assessment: The teacher should informally assess students in the before strategy of the lesson by reviewing each student's labeled sketch of the Earth's interior layers. The teacher should review each student's "Earth's Interior Layers" jot chart to ensure students are taking complete and accurate notes. The teacher will informally assess each student's completion of the "Earth's Layers Model and Presentation Planning Guide" to verify that students will meet the expectations of the final project.

Summative Assessment: The teacher should formally assess students at the conclusion of the lesson by using the "Earth's Layers Model and Presentation Rubric" to determine the level to which students have achieved the objectives of the lesson.

Acceleration:

Students can expand their understanding of concepts introduced in this lesson by exploring the following website and answering the application questions: "Hot Planet" from ck12.org. Students may respond to the "Earth's Layers Discussion Questions" from ck12.org in a verbal or written format. If student technology devices are available, students can respond to the questions in an online discussion or message board and use this technology to communicate their ideas with classmates.

Intervention:

The teacher should provide additional scaffolding to students who have little background knowledge about Earth's interior layers. The teacher can provide extra assistance to these students as they plan their model and presentation to ensure the student is developing an appropriate final project. 

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.