• Third Grade Unit: Rapid Changes to the Earth's Surface

  • Unit Goal:

    Students will understand types, locations, and causes of Rapid Changes in Earth's Surface (blizzards, earthquakes, hurricanes, landslides, tornados, tsunamis, wildfires and volcanic eruptions) and will be able to explain how to prepare for and respond to them.

    Essential Concepts:

    Blizzards, earthquakes, hurricanes, landslides, tornados, tsunamis, wildfires and volcanic eruptions cause rapid changes in Earth's surface.

    These physical processes/natural hazards shape features on Earth's surface and can impact people.

    Understanding and preparing for blizzards, earthquakes, hurricanes, landslides, tornados, tsunamis, wildfires and volcanic eruptions can help keep people safe.

    Sample Questions:

    How do ________ (e.g.) change earth's surface, and it what ways can they impact people?

    What are the best ways to prepare for ___________ (e.g., hurricanes)?

    What should people do during a ______________ ? 

    What things should be done in the aftermath of a _____________ ?

    What are some historic examples of _____________ (e.g., volcanic eruptions) and what can we learn from them?

    *Note: Questions should be student-generated (formulated with teacher/librarian guidance).

TEKS Addressed

  • Science

    (7) Earth and space. The student knows that Earth consists of natural resources and its surface is constantly changing. The student is expected to:

    (B) investigate rapid changes in Earth's surface such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and landslides;

    Social Studies

    (4) Geography. The student understands how humans adapt to variations in the physical environment. The student is expected to:

    (A) describe and explain variations in the physical environment, including [climate, landforms, natural resources, and] natural hazards;

    (C) describe the effects of physical processes such as volcanoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes in shaping the landscape;

    Process Objectives:

    English Language Arts & Reading

    (25)  Research/Research Plan. Students ask open-ended research questions and develop a plan for answering them. Students are expected to:

    (A)  generate research topics from personal interests or by brainstorming with others, narrow to one topic, and formulate open-ended questions about the major research topic; and

    (B)  generate a research plan for gathering relevant information (e.g., surveys, interviews, encyclopedias) about the major research question.

    (26)  Research/Gathering Sources. Students determine, locate, and explore the full range of relevant sources addressing a research question and systematically record the information they gather. Students are expected to:

    (A)  follow the research plan to collect information from multiple sources of information, both oral and written, including:

    (i)  student-initiated surveys, on-site inspections, and interviews;

    (ii)  data from experts, reference texts, and online searches; and

    (iii)  visual sources of information (e.g., maps, timelines, graphs) where appropriate;

    (B)  use skimming and scanning techniques to identify data by looking at text features (e.g., bold print, captions, key words, italics);

    (C)  take simple notes and sort evidence into provided categories or an organizer;

    (D)  identify the authortitlepublisher, and publication year of sources; and

    (E)  differentiate between paraphrasing and plagiarism and identify the importance of citing valid and reliable sources.

    (27)  Research/Synthesizing Information. Students clarify research questions and evaluate and synthesize collected information. Students are expected to improve the focus of research as a result of consulting expert sources (e.g., reference librarians and local experts on the topic).

    (28)  Research/Organizing and Presenting Ideas. Students organize and present their ideas and information according to the purpose of the research and their audience. Students are expected to draw conclusions through a brief written explanation and create a works-cited page from notes, including the author, title, publisher, and publication year for each source used.

    Technology Applications TEKS (Gr. 3-5)

    (1)  Creativity and innovation. The student uses creative thinking and innovative processes to construct knowledge and develop digital products. The student is expected to:

    (A)  create original products using a variety of resources;

    (2)  Communication and collaboration. The student collaborates and communicates both locally and globally using digital tools and resources to reinforce and promote learning. The student is expected to:

    (A)  draft, edit, and publish products in different media individually and collaboratively;

    (3)  Research and information fluency. The student acquires and evaluates digital content. The student is expected to:

    (B)  collect and organize information from a variety of formats, including text, audio, video, and graphics;

    (C)  validate and evaluate the relevance and appropriateness of information; and

    (D)  acquire information appropriate to specific tasks.