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Stage 2 Science Inquiry Unit

Earths Surface Changes over time

Term 1 2016
Unit Description
We live in a world that is constantly changing. Even things that we might consider immovable, such as mountains or rock
formations are gradually changing, sometimes with processes that are visible in our lifetimes. The modifications might affect us
either through catastrophic events such as natural disasters or through gradual processes that change the quality and
composition of soils we rely upon for sustenance. This unit is an ideal way to link science with literacy in the classroom. It
provides opportunities for students to explore how natural processes and human activity shape their surroundings. Students
understanding of soils, rocks and landscapes and how they change over time is developed through hands-on activities and
student-planned investigations.
Key Scientific Concepts- The following scientific concepts are integrated into the
lesson sequences:
The students will understand that
Continuity and change: some things change over time and others remain the same
Cause and effect: events, decisions or developments in the past that produce later
actions, results or effects
Perspectives: people from the past will have different views and experiences (Indigenous
Sustainability: some things change over a long period of time because of actions and
decisions humans can make.
Significance: The importance of an event, development or disaster, and how this can
impact on our world

describes some observable changes over time
on the Earths surface that result from natural
processes and human activity
describes how relationships between the sun
and the Earth cause regular changes

The students will need to know that Describes and explain

They will need to be able to do

KEY Inquiry Questions

Essential Questions that

link to statement.

Respond, read and write to show understanding of scientific matters

and Use scientific terms and concepts
Analysis and use of sources- Locate relevant information from sources
provided. Compare information from a range of sources
Perspectives and interpretations- Identify different points of views
Empathetic understanding- Explain why the behaviour people may
impacts our Earths surface
Time Research-Identify and pose questions to inform a scientific

What causes night and day?

Why is it dark at night?
What is a shadow? Do they
What is a season? When are
they? What happens in a
season? How do the seasons
change the earth? (ATSI link-

What is Earth?
Where is it?
What is on Earths
What is the surface
made of?
What is a surface?
What is change?

inquiry. Identify and locate a range of relevant sources to support

scientific inquiry
Explanation and communication- Develop texts, particularly
informative and descriptions, which incorporate source material. Use
a range of communication forms (oral, graphic, written) and digital

Year 4
Assessment for learning - TOMAC + PRU
Creating their own primary source/
Natural disasters- Students are given a
primary source and create their own
secondary source using the primary
Assessment as learning:
Self-assessment Peer-assessment
Working towards learning goals
Assessment of learning:
Create a product or presentation that
explains their knowledge and
understanding Earths surface has
changed over time
observations and anecdotal records
Genius Hour projects- investigate a
natural disaster
Seasons notebook
Research project/presentation
Wonder wall

seasonal calendar)
What is a disaster? What is
natural disaster? How do they
change the Earth?
How do people impact on the
Earth? How does nature impact
on Earth?

Achievement Standard
By the end of Year 3/ 4, students will be able to discuss
how natural and human processes cause changes to the
Earths surface. They describe relationships that assist the
survival of living things and sequence key stages in the
life cycle of a plant or animal. They identify when science
is used to ask questions and make predictions. They
describe situations where science understanding can
influence their own and others actions.
Students follow instructions to identify investigable
questions about familiar contexts and predict likely
outcomes from investigations. They discuss ways to
conduct investigations and safely use equipment to make
and record observations. They use provided tables and
simple column graphs to organise their data and identify
patterns in data. Students suggest explanations for
observations and compare their findings with their
predictions. They suggest reasons why their methods were
fair or not. They complete simple reports to communicate
their methods and findings.

What is time?
What are examples of

Science Inquiry Skills

Questioning and predictingWith guidance, identify
questions in familiar contexts
that can be investigated
scientifically and predict what
might happen based on prior
knowledge (ACSIS064)
Planning and conductingSuggest ways to plan and
conduct investigations to find
answers to questions
Uses appropriate materials,
tools or equipment to make and
record observations, using
formal measurements and
digital technologies as
appropriate (ACSIS066)
Communicating- Represent
and communicate ideas and
findings in a variety of ways
such as diagrams, physical
representations and simple
reports (ACSIS071)

use appropriate tools and equipment to collect and record data about some changes in natural conditions, eg tides, daily

temperature, rainfall and wind NLICT

investigate how change in the environment is used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to develop seasonal
calendars AHCCCT
describe some changes in the landscape that have occurred over time as a result of natural processes, eg erosion by wind
and water
research changes that have occurred in a local environment in Australia or an Asian region as a result of human activities, eg
increasing erosion, construction of built environments and regeneration of an area ASE
Earth's rotation on its axis causes regular changes, including night and day. (ACSSU048)
demonstrate that the rotation of the Earth on its axis is the cause of night and day, eg by using models of the Earth and sun
describe local seasonal changes that occur as a result of the Earth's movement around the sun
observe and record changes in the length and direction of a shadow during the day to show how the movement of the Earth
around the sun can be used to measure time, eg by using a shadow clock or sundial

Earths Surface changes over time


Framing up
and tuning in

Up/Tuning In

Teaching & Learning Experiences

Statement- Earths surface changes over timeLooking at what the statement means. What is Earth, Where is it? What is on the Earths
Surface? What is the Surface made of? What is a Surface? What is Change? What is time?
What are egs of time?
Discussion of what each individual word means within its own context. Students can research
the word and report back their own understandings. Pre- Assessment See, Think, Wonder
I Wonder.
Ss pose any wonderings for the unit based on the major inquiry question.
Earths structure, discussing layers.
Youtube video which shows and explains what each layer consists of.
Students take notes about each layer and any facts that they find interesting.
They are given four semi circles. They must label each circle as a different layer of the earth
then write 1-2 interesting facts about that layer. They are to then colour in and cut out the
circles. The Circles are then glued down onto another piece of paper using the grey strips to
make it stand up. The layers are glued down with the smallest circle at the front then the other
layers directly behind one another to illustrate a layering affect.
Tuning In

Earths surface- Tectonic Plates- what covers the earths surface.

Students watch the video
Students are given a map of the world to colour in.
The black lines on the map are discussed and it is pointed out that these are the tectonic
plates that were discussed in the video. Students are asked to identify what countries the
plates cross over on.
Would it be better to live in the middle of a plate or on the edge?
What might happen if you live on the edge of two plates?
Students use their scissors to cut along the plate lines then put it back together by gluing it
onto another page.

Tuning in/
Finding Out

Night and day/Shadows

Students are placed into groups of three and given 3 different sized balls.

They must use the three balls as the sun, Earth and moon and try and explain night and
If students are struggle- reiterate the concept that the Earth moves around the sun.
Have students demonstrate to the class their groups understanding of night and day.
Watch the video
Give the students another chance to break off into their groups and re-explain night and day
now that they have watched the video.
Have a class demonstration and explanation of how it works. Use a flash light as the sun
Optional extension:

Tuning In/
Finding Out

What are the four different seasons?
Why is it hot in summer and cold in winter?
Recap on how night and day works using the balls. Ask the students to break off into groups of
three again and see if they can explain the different seasons using the three balls (or the
optional model that they made last lesson).
Students explain their groups understanding of the seasons. Discuss the different groups
Watch the video
Students are to return to their groups and re-discuss the cause of seasons and demonstrate it

using the balls.

Class discussion and demonstration.

Optional extension:

in/finding Out
Tuning In/
Finding Out
Sorting Out

Erosion- fast and quick change of our earths environment

Natural Disasters
Natural Disasters- Research

Natural Disasters Research/Presentations

Going further