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Earth Scientists

Earth Scientists
Posted on 11/02/2017
FMA fourth graders transformed into earth scientists on recent field trips to the Maynard Ecology Center at Fresh Pond in order to extend their learning about changes in the earth’s surface. Under the guidance of coordinator Susan Agger, students walked through the woods to observe evidence of the effects of weathering and erosion. Students observed roots and plants growing through sidewalks, soil washed away from the banks of the pond, and sand that had traveled off the path after a recent stretch of rainstorms. Lily Bilodeau said, “I now understand that you can find changes in Earth’s surface even in your own neighborhood.” Back in the science classroom, fourth-grade students were tasked with conducting their own erosion investigation using models. As Anycia Pierre stated, “Models are great to really help you understand something better.”

They students were given a testing variable and taught how to form an investigation question. After careful planning, students performed experiments and analyzed data to answer questions such as “Which erodes faster: sand, soil, or gravel?” “Does a faster stream of water change the amount of erosion?” and “Does the slope of a hill cause more erosion?” Students used teamwork, communication, and investigative skills to draw conclusions about the ways in which the amount and rate of erosion can change. Many students agreed that these science concepts became more clear as a result of the trip. As Laurent Valentin reflected, “Weathering and erosion make sense now.”