Connect and Explore - Rapid Changes of the Earth's Surface



  • Video Activity (15  minutes)

    A compelling video segment can be an excellent resource to use during the "Open" phase of a Guided Inquiry unit.

    Landslide Video Segment:

    • Watch the first 50 seconds of the video with the sound turned off. 
    • Pairs Share-- Allow students to discuss their reactions with a partner. Choose several volunteers to share their observations and ideas with the class.
    • Watch the first 50 seconds of the video with the sound turned on.
    • Discuss as a group. 

    Geography Connection

    Ask students whether or not landslides are a natural hazard found in Texas. Examine the Landslide Overview Map on the USGS website. Use this map to confirm or refute students' suppositions about landslides in our state. Ask students to make other observations about the map. Discuss.

    Inquiry Skill

    The video below is a strong example of a primary source - a first-hand account of a topic, from someone with a direct connection to the event or topic. Most resources that students work with are secondary sources. This is a good opportunity to introduce or review this concept with students. 

    Reflection/Ticket Out the Door (Note: could be a Google Form)

    What do you wonder about landslides?

    What surprised you?

    Spanish Reflection Questions:


    ¿Qué te preguntas sobre los deslizamientos?

    ¿Qué te sorprendió?

Video - Watch the first 50 seconds

  • "Immerse" Activities (15 minutes)

    San Antonio Connection

    In order to help students to identify with the topic of study, relate it to natural hazards that occur in San Antonio, such as floods. View Flooding in San Antonio, Texas, then give students a few minutes to discuss their own experiences with thunderstorms/heavy rain/flooding. Another strategy is to have students to quickly come up with a caption for each image.

    Geography Connection

    Examine NOAA's Flood Guage Map, which shows current flooding in the United States.

    Local Connection

    Use the Interactive Floodplain Viewer to examine flood risks for areas in San Antonio (suggested searches: San Antonio Airport, North Star Mall, Rolling Oaks Mall, Alamodome).

  • Building Background Knowledge- Vocabulary Mix and Match (5 minutes):

    Vocabulary Mix & Match Activity (SMART Board activity; NEISD Google account required to access and download file)

    So far students have been introduced to landslides and floods. This activity introduces the other types of Rapid Changes that comprise the unit of study.

  • Alternative Activities (Times Vary):

    • Open-ended Photo Sort- given photos of blizzards, vocanic eruptions, etc., students group them into groups of two or more and explain why they grouped the photos that way
    • Mix & Match photo to description/definition of phenomena (check and discuss by displaying using a document camera)

  • Sample Inquiry Journals Prompts (10 Minutes):

    Write two things you have learned so far in this unit.

          I learned that...

    Write about something that surprised you. 

          I was surprised that...

    What do you wonder about?

          I wonder...

    What do you want to know more about?

          I want to learn more about...

  • Sample Spanish Inquiry Journal Prompts (10 Minutes):

    Escribe dos cosas que has aprendido hasta aquí en esta unidad.

          Aprendí que...

    Escribe acerca de algo que te sorprendió. 

          Me sorprendió que...

    ¿Qué es lo que te preguntas?

          Me pregunto...

    ¿Sobre qué quieres saber más?

          Quiero saber más sobre...

  • Explore Session (approximately 45-60 minutes)

    Session Starter:

    Explain why exploring a variety of different types of resources is important.

    Work Time:

    Students will use the Stop & Jot strategy (see Guided Inquiry Design Figure 6.1) to record ideas and questions. This strategy gives students a structure for recording ideas and questions, while avoiding the tendency to start recording full-blown notes too soon in the research process.


    At the end of the class session, use a modified Pair Share Protocol

    • Ask students to read over their notes and find one or two things they would like to share with someone else. (Inquiry Journal Prompt: I would like to tell about...)
    • Pairs share. 
    • Debrief as a whole class.
    • Closing question (may be done as a journal prompt, a paper exit ticket or a Google form): What do you want to know more about?


    Note: A Guided Inquiry Design Posters and Reproducibles CD-ROM has been purchased for each campus librarian.

    • Spanish Reflection Questions:
    • Estímulo para la consulta: Me gustaría hablar sobre…
    • ¿Sobre qué quieres aprender más?
Phase: Connect & Explore
  • This phase is intended to:

    Connect students to the topic and spark their interest in learning more.

    Key ideas:

    • Activate background knowledge
    • Build curiosity
    • Allow time for further topic exploration independently or in small groups
    • Begin questioning