My first mission with FYRA is to design curriculum for the first two investigations in their book- dealing with soil, weathering, landforms, and stormwater runoff. What this really meant was that I spent a long time browsing news sites for anything interesting that related to the curriculum. I wanted things that would bring to life what they were studying, making it easier to answer the following questions as learning standards for the investigations-
Investigation 1: What is soil? How do big rocks break down into smaller rocks? How are rocks affected by acid rain? What is in our schoolyard soils?
Investigation 2: How do weathered rocks move from one place to another? How does slope affect erosion and deposition? How do floods affect erosion and deposition? Where are erosion and deposition happening in our schoolyard? What events can change the Earth’s surface rapidly?
Extra: What is stormwater runoff? What can we do to combat the negative effects of stormwater runoff?
The highlights of my search were as follows:
- A cute video about stormwater runoff made by the EPA, titled “A Drop’s Life”(watch here)
- An article detailing the geology of the Grand Canyon (bringing the learning back to my Arizonian roots) (here)
- An interactive soil tetris game (here)
- A discovery that “Soil- Breaking Down” happens to be the name of an alternative rock song, completely unrelated to the earth’s processes. (Not highly recommended, but here if you’re interested)
If you’re interested in some other news articles that I’ve found (detailing Nebraskan landslides, Icelandic volcanoes, and erosion of British monuments) these were the most engaging. I struggled to find articles that painted a realistic picture of the material, were captivating, were fairly recent, and were also understandable on a 4th-5th grade reading level. Let me know what you think.
The next step when dealing with the curriculum involves getting my hands on a soil testing kit- I want to be able to test one out and hep write instructions/troubleshoot for when the kids use it to test the soil in their schoolyard. They are fairly expensive though, I’ll keep you posted.
It’s hard to coordinate so much long distance (what with both the company and the school based in Nebraska), but I’ll hopefully get better at it with time, and also have more substantive material to share on the blog.