Our planet is old, so old it is hard to imagine. And children have so little reference for time. So why teach about Earth? It is important for even young children to learn about our planet, and when we begin with the things they know, we can begin to build our students’ knowledge about Earth.
Each of the Earth unit’s four modules begins with the students’ prior knowledge, relating the study of the Earth to subjects students already know and whetting their appetites for new knowledge.
The Earth’s Materials module taps into student knowledge immediately by beginning with a story about a class rock collection. Students use a dichotomous key to sort materials based on their attributes, such as whether they are natural or man-made, rough or smooth. This activity builds both science and language skills as students classify materials and build deeper understanding of new vocabulary.
Our planet is ancient and fascinating. The Earth unit allows students to learn and think about our changing Earth. Online and offline activities allow students to study both the slow change of life on Earth over millions of years and the sudden change of extreme storms, earthquakes or volcanoes. As they learn, students create a base of concepts and vocabulary to build upon as they grow.