Way Down Under: Our Geologic Past

Students investigate the forces that cause the Earth’s crust to move and cause mountain building, volcanoes, and earthquakes. They actively model how geological processes shape the earth. Through hands-on labs, students explore the concepts of volume and density to help them understand how the magma and crust interact. Students then study the evidence used by scientists of the past century to develop their own theories to explain the movement and features of the earth’s crust. Guided by a local geologist, students conduct fieldwork at Hemlock Gorge Reservation, a state park that runs along the Charles River. They use their field sketches, notes, photographs, and internet resources to create an imaginative and informational comic about the land formations at Hemlock Gorge. A parallel ELA study of the graphic novel and its unique format and illustrative techniques inform students’ work.

Grade Level: 6
Subjects: Earth Science, ELA, Visual Art

How can I identify and describe the features of the earth’s crust?
What are geological processes? How do they shape the surface of the earth?
How do geologists use evidence to explain the movement and features of the earth’s crust?
What techniques can I use to explain and illustrate an entertaining and informative geological story about how Hemlock Gorge came to be?

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