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The Effects of Chemical and Physical Weathering on Gravestones

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Keywords: Weathering, Physical Weathering, Chemical Weathering,
Subject(s): Earth Science, Writing, Science, Grammar, Technology, Spelling, Photography
Grade 5
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Dearing Elementary School, Dearing, GA
Planned By: Trina Howard
Original Author: Trina Howard, Dearing
Lesson Plan:
The Effects of Chemical and Physical Weathering on Gravestones
(Lesson Plan)

This lesson is designed as a culminating activity at the end of the Weathering and Erosion Unit.
Lesson Purpose: Students will visit the Historical Magnolia Cemetery located in Augusta, Georgia to record digital pictures of the effects of chemical and physical weathering on gravestones. Students will take pictures and, using previously learned chemical and physical weathering concepts learned in class and recorded in their science journals, create a Prezi or a Glogster media presentation.
Georgia Performance Science Standards addressed:
S5CS1. Students will be aware of the importance of curiosity, honesty, openness, and skepticism in science and will exhibit these traits in their own efforts to understand how the world works.
a. Keep records of investigations and observations and do not alter the records later.
S5CS3. Students will use tools and instruments for observing, measuring, and manipulating objects in scientific activities.
c. Use computers, cameras and recording devices for capturing information.
S5CS8. Students will understand important features of the process of scientific inquiry.
c. Scientists use technology to increase their power to observe things and to measure and compare things accurately.
S5E1. Students will identify surface features of the Earth caused by constructive and destructive processes.
b. Identify and find examples of surface features caused by destructive processes.

EQ: How does weathering affect gravestones?
EQ: What are the differences between chemical and physical weathering?
EQ: What are the processes that cause chemical and physical weathering?

Vocabulary: weathering, chemical weathering, physical weathering
Materials: Digital Cameras for each group of students
Science Journals
Student Computers

Student Activities

Day 1.
Field Trip: In groups of 2-4, students will explore Magnolia Cemetery with their assigned Chaperone. Based on previously learned Earth Science concepts of the effects of chemical and physical weathering on Earth’s materials, student groups will use a digital camera to take pictures of gravestones showing the best examples they can locate showing chemical weathering and physical weathering. Student groups will take between 5 and 7 pictures of each type of weathering for their project. Students will download their pictures into the designated folder (Magnolia Cemetery pictures folder) on student computer desktops and/or flash drives.
Days 2, 3, and 4.
After the field trip, student groups will choose the media format for their presentation (Prezi or Glogster). They will then use the writing process (prewriting, drafting, editing, revising, and publishing) to plan and write their presentation. All presentations must include pictures from taken on the field trip. Students should include (but are not limited to) the following written information in their presentation:
• An introduction answering the question: What is chemical and physical weathering?
• A section describing the differences between chemical and physical weathering.
• A section describing the agents of chemical and physical weathering.
• For pictures showing examples of chemical weathering, describe the processes that caused the gravestones to be chemically weathered.
• For pictures showing examples of physical weathering, describe the processes that caused the physical weathering of the gravestone.
• A conclusion explaining what you learning from this project.
Once the written plan has been approved by the teacher, students will use their downloaded Magnolia Cemetery pictures and their written information about chemical and physical weathering to create their media presentation. Students will use the attached Rubric to guide their work.
Day 5.
Student groups will present their Prezi or Glogster to the class.
Students will submit their final product for judging in the Media Festival.

Today’s classrooms are vastly different than classrooms of the past. In 1983, there was just one computer for every 125 students (Quillen & Ash, 2009). Today, however, most classrooms have multiple computers for student use, and many schools have one or more computer labs to facilitate the ever-growing technological components of our society. Teachers have to think critically about the use of technology in the classroom. The research says that the use of technology in instruction can have the following outcomes: increased student engagement, increased learning, increased technology literacy of students, and building 21st century skills (Lemke, Coughlin, Reifsneider, 2009). The use of digital cameras is just one way to incorporate technology into instruction to help accomplish these desired outcomes for students. According to further research, carefully integrating technology into student assignments results in students who are more actively invested in the results of their learning and also allows students to explore subjects in unique ways (Roblyer & Doering, 2010). The design of my project promotes technology literacy, opportunities for collaborative learning, and connects students with an audience to share the efforts of their projects. Many of the students I teach have little or no access to technology at home. Thus, it is vital that I use technology as much as possible in my classroom to help develop citizens ready for life in our increasingly technology-savvy society.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Magnolia Cemetery is a source of valuable information pertaining to the Civil War. There are 7 Civil War Generals buried there and there are 2 Confederate Soldier sections located in the cemetery. There is also a Revolutionary War section, a Jewish section, and other important historical sections in this large cemetery. In addition to this, what is believed to be the oldest tree in the state of Georgia is located in there. The artifacts in this cemetery could be related to the Civil War Unit taught in 5th grade. Math could also be interwoven in both Social Studies and Science lessons related to this cemetery.
Students could use the digital cameras to take pictures of the outside of the school building, the outside recess equipment, and other outdoor materials in order to examine further examples of the effects of both chemical and physical weathering.
Materials: Digital Cameras
Other Items: 10 Digital Cameras (Point and Shoot)