Marie Curie Math & Science Center
Ann Bowler, Helene Collins, Steve Schianger, 7B
Science (Constructive/Destructive forces) - Grade 4

Commencement content standard from MST:
Standard 1: Students will use mathematical analysis, scientific inquiry, and engineering design, appropriate, to pose questions, seek answers, and develop solutions.

Standard 2: Students will access, generate, process, and transfer information using appropriate technologies.

Standard 4: Students will understand and apply scientific concepts, principles and theories pertaining to the physical setting and living environment and recognize the historical development of ideas in science.

Standard 5: Students will apply technological knowledge and skills to design, construct use, and evaluate products and systems to satisfy human and environmental.

Standard 6: Students will understand the relationships and common themes that connect mathematics, science, and technology and apply the themes to these and other areas of learning.

Benchmark standards
Content standards

  • Standard 1: Analysis, Inquiry, and Design

Scientific Inquiry- Number 1: The central purpose of scientific inquiry is to develop explanations of natural phenomena in a continuing creative process.

  • Standard 2: Information Systems

Number 1: Information technology is used to retrieve, process, and communicate information and as a tool to enhance learning.

  • Standard 4: Science

Physical Setting- Number 2: Many of the phenomena that we observe on Earth involve interactions among components of *, water, and land.

Number 3: Matter is made up of particles whose properties determine the observable characteristics of matter and its reaction.

  • Standard 6: Interconnectedness

Models- Number 1: Through system people can recognize the commonalties that exist among all systems and how parts of the system interrelate and combine to perform specific functions.

Content standards or outcomes

  • Students will label a world map with the seven continents and four oceans.
  • Students will correctly identify cardinal directions on a map.
  • Students will design and create a map that includes a continent, an ocean, a legend, and a compass rose.
  • Students will compare plate tectonic models to theoretic maps.
  • Students will assemble a puzzle of the continental plates.
  • Students will research volcanoes using a variety of sources.
  • Students will design a model of the composition of the Earth and label all layers
  • Students will discuss the concepts presented in the book, The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth.
  • Students will participate in a demonstration of the effects of pressure on magna.
  • Students will predict what effects constructive forces will have on the Earth's surface.
  • Students will design a model volcano and stage an eruption.
  • Students will review and apply new science vocabulary through a variety of activities.
  • Students will become f with myths and myth-Eke stories through literature.
  • Students will work cooperatively to describe, create, and compose volcano myths.
  • Students will use the writing process to write and edit their myths.

Performance standards

  • Students will ask "why" questions in attempts to seek greater understanding concerning objects and events they have observed and heard about.
  • Students will question the explanations they hear from others and read about, seek clarification and compare them with their own observations and understandings
  • Students will develop relationships among observations to construct descriptions of objects and its and to form their own tentative explanations of what they have observed use of what they have o
  • Students will use a variety of equipment and software packages to enter, process, display, and communicate information in different forms using text, tables, pictures, and sound.
  • Students will telecommunicate a message to a distant location with teacher help. Access needed information from printed material, electronic data bases, and community resources.
  • Students will describe the relationships among air, water, and land on Earth.
  • Students will describe chemical and physical changes, including changes in states of matter. discover that a model of something is different from the real thing but can be used to study the real thing.
  • Students will use different types of models, such as graphs, sketches, diagrams, and maps, to represent various aspects of the real world.

Performance Measures
The following constructive and destructive forces unit will be ongoing taking a minimum of 4 weeks to complete. The 15 activities listed below each have a special educational component that includes support and modifications from our Inclusion team. The volcano portion of this unit will be followed by additional interdisciplinary instruction of concepts pertaining to erosion, weathering, and earthquakes.


Activity 1
Materials needed: One "Geo Ball," large world map, chalkboard or chart paper
Time Frame: Approximately 30 minutes

The lesson will begin with a KWL chart on the chalkboard or chart paper listing what students know regarding the names and locations of the continents and oceans. After completion, the "Geo Ball" will be tossed to a student; he/she will need to try and name the continent or ocean that is located under his/her light index finger. A world map will be available for students to refer to for assistance should they need it.

Special Education support- Speech therapist will assist with introduction and reinforcement of vocabulary.

Activity 2:
Material needed: KWL chart from the previous day, blank world maps, reference materials

Time Frame: Approximately 45 minutes

Review KWL chart from the previous day. Emphasize the names of the continents as well as the oceans. Discussion will also take place regarding appropriate spelling and capitalization of the these locations. Students will be divided into groups of 45 to label all continents and oceans on individual maps. In addition, students will be given a color code to follow so that they can shade in all of the areas on the maps. There will be reference maps, encyclopedias, desk maps and computers available for this activity. (Internet source for blank world maps After a sufficient period of cooperative work, a review of the maps will take place. This review will be done using the overhead or the large screen monitor or the VP100 projector.

Special Education support: Consultant teacher to assist with organization, modification of maps (size, spacing, spelling, color coded labels, assistance with internet access).

Activity 3
Materials: globes, wall maps, compass, cue cut out letters--N, S, E, W
Time Frame: 30-40 minutes

Each pair of students will share a compass. They will be given time to explore with and ask questions about the compass. A whole group discussion will follow. Students will discuss their discoveries and teachers will clarify. This will lead into a mini-lesson on cardinal directions and compass mechanics. Students will assist in the labeling of the classroom with the cut out letters.

In addition they will be asked questions about the location of continents in relationship to one another using cardinal directions.

Special Education support: Consultant teacher to assist with whole group lesson.

Activity 4:
Materials: white construction paper, markers, crayons, wall maps, globes, one inch graph paper.

Time Frame: Extended task

Using a sheet of large graph paper and or Corel Pain4 Color and Canvas, Paint Brush or any other software, students will design their own continent. (The shape can follow a theme so that other details can be incorporated later on.) This shape will be transferred to the construction paper and students will work on creating a compass rose and legend. Discussion should take place to introduce the intermediate directions ( NE, NW, SW, SE, ) Students should create 5 questions about their own continents that ask for specific locations and directions that pertain to their map.

Special Education support: Occupational therapist loll assist with design, cutting and application of continent to construction paper, and the labeling of the compass rose and the writing of the questions.

Activity 5-
Materials: Round balloons, paper mache, labeled cutouts of continents from previous activity, paints, newspaper cut in strips
Time Frame: Extended activity

Students will inflate round balloons and tie them. Each balloon will be covered with the newspapers and paper mache solution. After the students will paint the "globe" blue. They will then paste the labeled continents onto the "globes" in the appropriate locations. The oceans will also be labeled using dark markers.

Special Education support: Occupational therapist will assist with all fine motor tasks (cutting, tying, painting, labeling, etc.)

Activity 6
Materials: Hard boiled eggs, magic markers
Time Frame: 40 minutes

Each student will receive a hard boiled egg. He/she win then draw a representation of the globe on the en. carefully, each student will tap the egg gently to create as few cracks as possible in the shell. Explain that the cracks represent the edges of the different plates on the surface of the Earth. (Extension: discuss that volcanic activity frequently occurs in these regions.) At this point the teacher will read the informational packet on "Pangaea", and a discussion of plate tectonics will ensue.

Special Education support: Occupational therapist will assist with all fine motor skills associated with task

Activity 7
Materials: Plate tectonics puz7les, scissors, construction paper, glue
Time Frame: 30-40 minutes

Students will be given a plate tectonics worksheet that they will be required to rut apart. They will then be asked to try and fit the continent pieces together in a logical manner based upon the scientific theory that the continents were once all one land mass. Once the pieces are assembled together, they will be glued onto construction paper labeled with the title 'Pangaea."

Special Education support: Consultant teacher will assist with visual/perceptual skills, enlarging materials, and labeling. Occupational therapist will assist with all fine motor skills associated with task.

Activity 8
Materials: Internet access
Time Frame: Extended task


Students will use the Internet and locate the web address: Here they will access "Volcano Lessons." Next they should click on "Online Lessons" which brings them to the "Earth Sciences Lessons."

Here they should go to chapter 1, "Plate Tectonics" and begin working through the lessons. This is an open ended activity which will supply them with supplemental information.

In addition, this site provides teachers and students with hands on activities, color diagrams and background information on Pangea Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Rocks and Minerals and Prehistoric Earth.

Special Education support: Consultant teacher will assist with internet access and organization of information found.


Activity 9

Materials: eggs from activity #4, a non-serrated knife, plates, chart paper or chalkboard
Time Frame: 30-40 minutes


Engage students in a discussion by posing the following question: If you were able to dig a hole in the Earth as deep as you could, what would you find? Record their answers on chart paper or a chalkboard. Have students peel the shell from the eggs. Explain that this shell represents the Earth's crust.

Then, carefully slice the egg for each student and have them analyze what they observe about the egg. Guide discussion to include the following vocabulary: layer, cross section core, etc. Explain that the yellow yoke is where the inner core and the fluid outer core are located m the earth and that the egg white is where the molten rock, called the mantle, is in the Earth. Draw attention to the thinness of the Earth's crust in comparison to the other layers.

Special Education support: Consultant teacher/speech teacher to assist r4th mufti-step directions, acquisition of new vocabulary and general organizational skills.

Activity 10
Materials: The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth, by Joanna Cole, Worksheets of the Earth's interior, crayons
Time Frame: 30 minutes

Read through The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth, stopping to discuss specific vocabulary that relates to the layer of the Earth (i.e. crust, mantle, outer core, inner core). After discussion, students will label and color layers of the Earth using worksheet charts and posters.

Special Education support: To provide alternate forms of the book (tape, video, etc.) and reinforcement/tmodification of vocabulary and concepts.

Activity 11
Materials: black, red, yellow, blue, green Plasticine, non-serrated knife, charts/posters with cross-section of the Earth, toothpicks, labels
Time Frame: Extended task ( 2-- 45 minute sessions)


Students will be making layered Plasticine models of the Earth. Plasticine will be flattened and roiled in the following order: black will represent the core, followed by red (the outer core), yellow (the mantle), blue (the crust). Green can be used to represent land forms. Slice models in half with a non-serrated knife. Discuss what the cross section represents; identify sections with toothpicks and labels.

Special Education support: Occupational therapist to assist with tactile experiences.

Activity 12
Materials: cornstarch, water, paper plates, magma worksheet
Time Frame: 45 minutes


A discussion will take place reviewing the layers of the Earth. The focus should become the mantle, with attention to the fact that it is made of melted rock or specifically, magma. When magma is under pressure below the Earth's crust it has one kind of property. When the magma (lava) escapes through a volcano, and is no longer under pressure, it has a different property.

The teacher should make a thick, syrupy mixture of cornstarch and water. Students will be grouped in pairs, with one paper plate in front of each student. The teacher distributes the mixture to one partner and the student must apply pressure immediately by rolling it in his/her hands like a ball of clay. Then he/she should release the pressure and try to pass the ball to his/her partner. Without the pressure the ' changes from a solid to a liquid and is difficult to pass. Make sure that each student has a chance to handle both states of the e.
Following activity and clean up, students will draw the two different states of the magna on a worksheet.

Special Education support: Consultant teacher and/or Occupational therapist to assist with multi-step directions, and sensory experiences.

Activity 13
Material: salt dough (2 cups flour, I cup salt 1 cup cold water, 2 tsp. cooking oil food color) aluminum cake pans, sheets of aluminum foil 4 oz. of baking soda, 8 oz. of vinegar, chart paper, markers 4 oz. of detergent 16 vials, 2 vial caps, food coloring
Time Frame: 60 minutes for demonstration (teacher preparation of salt dough must be done beforehand)

Begin whole group discussion with the question "Why do you think a volcano has been described as a mountain in a hurry?" Provide background information about the composition of volcanoes. Include the following vocabulary: cone, shield, composite,, steam, eruption, pressure, pumice, gases, ash, lava, folded, fault block mountains.

Before constructing models, students will predict the effects of constructive forces on the Earth's surface which alter its appearance. List these predictions on chair paper. Students will be divided into groups of 3-4. Each group will set one aluminum cake pan on a flat surface. A vial should be placed in the middle of the pan. The aluminum foil should be placed over the vial with the edges being pressed down into the cake pan (forming a mound). Some groups can use the salt dough to form the "mound7' around the vial. Clear the opening of the vial and place one teaspoon of the baking soda into the volcano vial. Fill the second vial with white vinegar. Add one or two drops of red food coloring some detergent and mix. Pour this mixture into the "volcano vial' and observe what happens.

Students should describe what they observed. They can also make an illustration of what they observed. Focus should be on the effects of destructive forces on the Earth's surface.

Special Education support: Consultant teacher to modify and assist with the multi-steps needed to complete the activity. Reinforce vocabulary and concepts related to volcanoes. Provide organizational strategies for all students.


Activity 14
Material: Unit review packet
Time Frame: 20 minutes


Students will be given a review packet of the continents, oceans, cardinal directions, elements of Earth's composition, Pangaea, volcano parts and types and related vocabulary.

Special Education support: Consultant teacher will provide modified format of review sheet

 Activity 15
Materials: crossword puzzle
Time Frame: 20-30 minutes

Students will complete a crossword puzzle using definitions of related volcano vocabulary. They may work with partners or in small groups.

Special Education support: Consultant teacher will provide a word search or alternate puzzles that are appropriate for varying levels.

Activity 16
Materials: sample volcano myths and a variety of myths, fables and legends
Time Frame: Extended activity

A volcano myth will be shared with students. Students will discuss myths and myth-like stories. Teacher will guide class through discussion and chart key ideas. Afterwards, student teams will try to create their own volcano myths.

Special Education support: Consultant teacher will assist with reading myths and taking student through the entire writing process.


St. Thomas Aquinas College, 125 Route 340, Sparkill NY 10976-1050