Lessons & Activities Designed by Participating Teachers

Debbie Line
Mark Murdock









Debbie Line
Lesson Plan

Grade level: Second grade

1. Students will recognize the earth’s oldest layers are the deepest ones.
  2. Students will recognize that the earth’s layers can preserve animals and plants of long ago.

Science processes: 
Recognizing time/ space relationships.


  1. Conduct a KWL chart to find out what the students Know about fossils, What they want to learn, and at the end of the lesson the class can write down What they Learned. This activity will help direct students thinking about what they want to learn from this lesson.


What you know

What you want to learn

What we learned


2.  Explain that fossil is the word for the preserved remains or impression of an animal or plant of long ago.

3.  Explain to students that they will learn about living things that were buried in rock layers over a long period of time. To develop the concept that the oldest layers are the deepest a teacher can have the students participate in the two activities below.

Activity One:

1.  Press some clay into a flat layer. This is a layer of rock.

3.   Press pieces of pasta into the clay. These are “fossils”.

4.  Add more layers of rock and more layers of fossils.

5.  Cut through the layers with a craft stick.

6.  Ask students which layer they formed first. Ask students which layer they formed last. Point out that new layers of rock are formed on top of the older ones. Ask students to find the fossils?  Explain to students that over time layers can be built up as well as worn down by the environment. Have them brainstorm what kind of environmental factors could build or wear down the earth’s layer.

Activity Two:

1. Explain that scientists take core samples of soil and rock by boring down through it with a metal tube.

2. Have students press some clay into a flat layer and continue this five times using different colored clay each time.

3. Let students take a core sample of their clay layers by pushing a clear drinking straw through them to the bottom.

4. After the students draw out the straw, point out that the core shows all the colored layers of the model in the same order - bottom to top.

Other activities:
Show them an actual core sample from a mine OR take an actual core auger tool and take a core sample from a nearby field.  Students will enjoy seeing the actual layers that scientists use to make conclusions.

Return to the KWL chart from the beginning of the lesson and refer back to the “What they wanted to learn column”. See if they could answer their own questions and write the answers down in the third column. Students will feel a sense of accomplishment when they see all that they learned.



Mark Murdock
Lesson Plan

Students will demonstrate their understanding of the following volcanic terms through musical expression. The students may use music of their own  creation, someone else’s music or through the written description of what they think the music should sound like. The students will be encouraged to make quick time movies with their sound tracks and video clips from the internet or other sources.

Volcanic terms:
Pre-eruptive action, plinean column, lahar, ash, pyroclastic flows, explosive eruptions, tephra emission, lateral blast, dome-building eruptions.

General Directions:
1. The teacher will show pictures and movie clips from the following or similar web sites 
2. Introduce the vocabulary terms while the pictures are being displayed.
3. Review the terms
4. Play sections of the “Mt. St. Helens Symphony” by American Composer Alan Hovhanness

**Note to teachers: 
It is a very good idea, once you have found good stuff on the web to archive it you your own computer (or a school server) so that in case the site ceases to exist before the project is completed, students can still have access to the pictures and movies they need.

This archival process is very easy with Internet Explorer 4 or 5.  Under the file menu use the “Save as..” and with the pop-up menu will be a choice to save as web archive.  That’s the choice to use.



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