Lessons & Activities
Designed by Participating Teachers
Grade level: Second grade
1. Students will recognize the earth’s oldest layers are the
2. Students will recognize that the earth’s layers can preserve
animals and plants of long ago.
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.
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.
1. Press some clay into a flat layer. This is a layer of rock.
3. Press pieces of pasta into the clay. These are
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.
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.
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.
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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.
Pre-eruptive action, plinean column, lahar, ash, pyroclastic flows,
explosive eruptions, tephra emission, lateral blast, dome-building
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
**Note to teachers:
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.
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.
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