Second-grade scientists study erosion at Ridge Park Elementary

Colonial School District  |  Posted on

Students work together on the project in Mrs. Cook’s class.

Second graders at Ridge Park Elementary School (RP) recently learned about erosion by seeing its effects firsthand in a science unit called Work of Water.

“We’re trying to figure out if water can make a canyon,” said RP second-grader Jaxon Raiken. “There was a small puddle in the beginning, then it started to make a big river. It’s making a canyon.”

Rather than simply reading or watching a video about the process, the class split into small groups for a hands-on activity. The students made landforms out of cornstarch, dripped water onto the land, and looked for changes.

“I like that you get to do something, not just find out about it,” said RP second-grader Grace Marquis. “My favorite part was when I got to make the land.”

The lesson is part of an interdisciplinary project that covers social studies and science standards. For example, looking at the Grand Canyon and seeing the different layers of strata created over time is a social studies concept. How those layers were created is a science concept.

“We can teach about the landforms that are out there in different parts of the world but at the same time go through the science behind why those landforms are the way they are,” said Maria Wileczek, Colonial School District curriculum supervisor. “Science and social studies go hand-in-hand. There’s no reason to be teaching them as separate silos, when they mesh very nicely.”

Next, the students will incorporate the engineering design process to create a system to prevent the erosion from happening. The second-graders will brainstorm ideas, draw sketches, build and test working models and have a chance to revisit their designs.