How can you stop a landslide?

How can you stop a landslide?

Lesson narration:
Scroll for prep
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DISCUSS:
What do you think happened here? What is this called?

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DISCUSS:

What do you think causes landslides?

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DISCUSS:

Why do you think landslides happen more often after there's been a wildfire?

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DISCUSS:

How could you stop erosion from happening?

Is there anything that would work like plants do to protect hills from getting washed away?

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Extensions

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the Exploration and Activity you just completed.
  • Lesson Assessment and Answer Key
  • Readings: Online readings to spark questions and discussions about erosion.
  • Video: An excerpt from an episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy explains how rocks are always changing because of erosion.
  • Video Discussion: Discuss what you notice as water floods a dry riverbed.
  • Activity: A creative activity about erosion, done with simple materials.
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Readings

These online books are free with registration as an educator on Epic!

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Video Discussion

Watch this video of a riverbed flooding, and discuss what you notice.

  • What happens when water rushes down the dry riverbed?
  • What happens to things that are in the path of the water (the rocks, the logs, and the barrel)?
  • What do you think it will look like after the water is gone?
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Activity

This fun erosion activity shows how a rock could be broken down in a stream.

For safety reasons, we recommend using a plastic jar instead of a glass one.

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Lesson narration:

Activity Prep

Print Prep

In this lesson, students compare multiple solutions for preventing erosion. In the activity, Erosion Engineering, they design and test ways to keep water from washing away a hill modeled out of cornmeal.

Preview activity
COVID-19 Adaptations
Digital worksheets available
Teacher demo recommended

Students at home
Set up a few cornmeal mountains as a model. Demonstrate a few of the student ideas over video conference. Students can draw their engineering solutions on a piece of blank paper or on the Save the Hills worksheet (printed or digital) instead of building their own.
Students at school
Set up a few cornmeal mountains as a model. Demonstrate a few of the student ideas. Students can draw their engineering solutions on the Save the Hills worksheet instead of building their own.
Number of students:
Erosion Engineering Prep Instructions worksheet 1 per class
Save the Hills worksheet 1 per student
Clean-up Supplies (Eg. Paper Towels)
1 roll per class
Containers of Cornmeal Land from Lesson 3
If you have not yet prepared Cornmeal Land, you can find instructions here.
Details
1 container per group
Drip Sticks from Lesson 3
If you have not yet prepared "drip sticks", you can find instructions here.
Details
1 drip stick per pair
Table Covering (eg. Trash Bags)
2 bags per group
Aluminum Foil
2" per group
Cotton Balls
10 balls per pair
Dixie Cups (3 oz)
1 cup per student
Paper Plates
1 plate per student
Paper Towels
1 sheet per pair
Plastic Plates (10")
1 plate per student
Solo Cups (9 oz)
3 cups per pair
Toothpicks
10 toothpicks per pair
Prep Instructions

You will need access to water for this activity.

Students will need to cover their workspaces with a table covering (e.g., trash bag) in case of spills.

We suggest students work in pairs and share materials with another pair of students at the same table. Homeschool students can work on their own.

Prepare the Cornmeal “Land” and “Drip Sticks” Before Class

For each group of four students, you’ll need a container of the cornmeal “land” that you made for Lesson 3. Each pair of students will also need a “drip stick" that you made for Lesson 3. (If you have not taught Lesson 3, you will need to make cornmeal “land” and "drip sticks." Here’s how .)

Prepare Aluminum Foil and Paper Towel Strips

Each pair of students will need two small squares of aluminum foil (about 1½” squares), and four paper towel strips (each strip should be about 1” x 5”).

Organize Materials for Distribution

We suggest that you create supply distribution stations for students. In the first part of the activity, each student will need the following supplies:

Erosion Engineering Pt 1 Supplies

In the second part of the activity, students will work in pairs to protect their cornmeal hill from erosion. To create their erosion protectors, each pair of students will need the following additional materials:

Erosion Engineering Pt 2 Supplies

In the third part of the activity, students use "drip sticks" to create rainstorms over their cornmeal hills. Each pair of students will need the following additional materials:

Erosion Engineering Pt 3 Supplies

Exploration

17 mins

Wrap-Up

3 mins

Extend this lesson

Download this Lesson to your device so you can play it offline: