Earth Studies – Level 1B


This unit is intended to give a simple, hands-on introduction to different water features and environments. Most activities are short and require minimal preparation. Indoor activities should not usually take more than the normal 20 minute lesson time. A few activities are rather more time-consuming or require more preparation. These are marked +, and can be left out if you prefer. To round out the study we have included in the Nature Study Pagoo by Holling C. Holling, the story of a hermit crab.

Outdoor Activities are marked with an asterisk. These could be included in a nature walk, or be made the focus of a separate trip.

Key Resources

*Rivers and Oceans: Geography Facts and Experiments by Barbara Taylor (previously part of the out-of-print book The Earth:The Geography of Our World by Barbara Taylor -ISBN: 0753454254)

Section 1: Local Geography

Lesson 1: Set up two separate notebooks:

(1) A fact file for information about rivers, seas and other water environments. (This can be continued at Levels 1A and 2). Earth, p.26; R&O, p.31

(2) Start a scrapbook about a local water environment – perhaps a stream, creek, river, canal or lake, or even a sea or ocean. Earth, p.6; R&O, p.4

* Lesson 2: Pay a visit to your chosen water environment. Observe wildlife and plant life. How it the area used by people? Add a page to your scrapbook.

* Lessons 3 to 7: Pay at least five further visits to your water environment (two each term). Monitor any changes, particularly seasonal ones.

* Lesson 8: Visit another local water environment. Compare it to your chosen one.

Section 2: The Water Cycle

Lesson 9: Explain the water cycle and introduce the idea of evaporation and condensation (see diagram, Earth, p.8; R&O, p.6); demonstrate condensation with steam from a kettle (Earth, p.9; R&O, p.7)

*Lesson 10: Demonstrate evaporation by monitoring a puddle (Earth, p.8; R&O, p.6).

+ Lesson 11: Make a bottle garden to demonstrate the water cycle. (Earth, p.9; R&O, p.7)

Section 3: Rivers

Lesson 12: Explain river sources (see Earth, p.12; R&O, p.12). Using a map follow the river nearest to where you live to its source. Find the source of two major rivers in your country.

* Lesson 13: Explore the way a river behaves by making your own river using sand, gravel and water. (Earth, p.13; R&O, p.13)

Lesson 14: Use salt dough, play dough or modelling clay to model a river with a levee, a meander and an ox-bow lake. (Earth, p.14-15; R&O, p.16-17)

* Lesson 15: Use twigs to explore the current of a river or stream. (Earth, p.15; R&O, p.17)

Lesson 16: Explain the terms river mouth and delta. Experiment with soil (dirt) in both salt and fresh water. (Earth, p.16; R&O, p.18)

Lesson 17: Find these six great rivers on a map: Mississippi, Amazon, Ganges, Nile, Rhine, Yangtze. If possible, mark them on a laminated map. What countries does each river pass through?

Lesson 18: Choose one of these great rivers and make a page for your fact file

Section 4: Lakes

Lesson 19: Explain lakes; find the world’s six deepest lakes on a map. (Earth, p.18-19; R&O, p.20-21)

Section 5: Oceans and Seas

Lesson 20: Find the five oceans on a map; explain icebergs; use a balloon to make your own iceberg. (Earth, p.20-21; R&O, p.22-23)

Lesson 21: Explain waves, current and tides; observe waves in the bath. (Earth, p.22-23; R&O, p.24-25)

Lesson 22: Look at a map of your country and name the seas and oceans that surround it; look at an example of a tide table, ideally for a place your child knows (you should be able to find one on the internet).

Section 6: Water Pollution

Lesson 23: Discuss pollution and its causes; make a water filter. Earth, p.24-25; R&O, p.29-30)

* Lesson 24: Monitor a local water environment for evidence of pollution.

Throughout the year:

(1) Add pictures and information to your fact file as you find them.

(2) Look for place names including water related words (lake, ford, bridge, for example).

+ Optional concluding activity:

Use salt dough or modeling clay to make a model showing as many of the water features and environments you have learned about as possible. Use the picture from Earth, p.6-7; R&O, p.4-5 for ideas

Optional Extra Resources

National Geographic magazine (older issues are easy to find inexpensively)

The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks by Joanna Cole

The Magic School Bus On the Ocean Floor by Joanna Cole

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