Mechanical vs. Chemical Weathering Lesson Plan: How Geological Features are Formed

Submitted by: Anna Marie

Grade Levels: 6-8

In this lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 6 through 8, students use BrainPOP resources to investigate the scientific view of how the Earth’s surface is formed. Students will explain the effects of physical processes (plate tectonics, erosion, deposition, volcanic eruption, gravity) on geological features including oceans (composition, currents, and tides.) They will also describe soil as consisting of weathered rocks and decomposed organic material. The lesson includes a free PowerPoint presentation.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Investigate the scientific view of how the Earth’s surface is formed.
  2. Explain the effects of physical processes (plate tectonics, erosion, deposition, volcanic eruption, gravity) on geological features including oceans (composition, currents, and tides).
  3. Describe soil as consisting of weathered rocks and decomposed organic material.

Materials:

  • Access to BrainPOP and internet
  • Projector for Power Point
  • Blank white paper or card stock
  • One marker
  • One pair of scissors
  • Notebooks for students to take notes

Vocabulary:

weathering; chemical weathering; physical weathering; oxidation; hydrolysis; ice wedging

Preparation:

Section the blank paper or card stock into fourths. Use a marker to label each section with A, B, C, and D, and laminate if you wish to re-use. Cut the sections apart. Create enough so that each student has as a set of cards (or if you want to have students work in small groups to answer the quiz questions, create enough for each group to have a set). Locate and prepare to show the BrainPOP Weathering movie and the PowerPoint (see below under 'Worksheets' to download).

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Watch BrainPOP’s Weathering movie. Have students take notes as they watch.
  2. Have students share one interesting fact from the video.
  3. Show previously prepared Power Point that covers the basics of weathering, chemical weathering mechanisms, physical weathering mechanisms. Discuss the differences between them.
  4. Hand out the cards labeled A, B, C, and D.
  5. Have students take the Review Quiz on as a class. Let students hold up which letter they think is the appropriate answer.

Extension Activity:

Students can suggest situations and have the class discuss whether it is an example of mechanical or chemical weathering. You might also have students watch the BrainPOP video on Erosion and discuss the differences in erosion and weathering.

Downloadable Resources

weathering lesson power point.ppt

1 comment
  1. jrivas said:

    Thank you