Science, Geography
Material Type:
Lower Elementary
  • Earth's Surface
  • Lesson Plan
  • Review Earth Changes
  • Science
  • photography
    Public Domain Dedication
    Media Formats:
    Interactive, Text/HTML

    Education Standards

    Changes in the Earth's Surface

    Changes in the Earth's Surface


    Thumbnail  Image Credit: 

    Students will learn about the changes in the earth's surface and and how they occur by going on virtual and real fieldtrips, discussing in groups, and sharing with the class. They will showcase their learning by creating a book with photographs and descriptions. 

    Background for Teachers

    • To teach this lesson, you will need an understanding of the different causes in the changes of the Earth's surface and whether those changes happen rapidly, or slowly.
    • You will need to be able to implement the Think-Pair-Share strategy. 
    • You will need knowledge about basic photo editing (cropping, enhancement)








    Objective: Students will explore the concepts of changes in the Earth's surface through digital photography.

    Format: Face to Face and Virtual

    Duration: 2-3 class periods

    Author: Amy Pritchard


    Step 1 - Goals and Outcomes

    Step 1 Goals and Outcomes

    Learning Intentions:

    • Standard 2.1.2
      Students will be able to construct an explanation about changes in Earth's surface that happen quickly or slowly. Emphasize the contrast between fast and slow changes. Examples of fast changes could include volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, or landslides. Examples of slow changes could include the erosion of mountains or the shaping of canyons. (ESS1.C)
    • Standard 2.W.2:
      Write informative/explanatory pieces that introduce a topic, supply facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement.

    • Write, produce, expand, and rearrange complete simple and compound sentences.
    • Use appropriate conventions when writing.

    Success Criteria:

    • Students will produce a book with photographs and explanations of how the earth's surface changed in each photograph using Google Docs.


    Step 2 - Planning Instruction

    Step 2 Planning Instruction

    Student Background Knowledge

    • Prior to this lesson, students will need to have an understanding of Adobe Express and how to search for images and give appropriate credit for images that can be used without violating copyright law. ( Wikimedia Commons, Google Image Search, etc.)

    Strategies for Diverse Learners

    For students that struggle with typing on a keyboard or that have a difficult time converting their thoughts into written form, a speech to text converter can be used to help create their written explanation of changes in the earth's surface. 

    Step 3 - Instruction

    Step 3 Instruction

    1. Spend time going through the discussion slides and using the Think-Pair-Share strategy, giving students time to think about the discussion questions prior to sharing with their partner. Then have students share with the class what their partner shared with them. 

    2. After going through the discussion slides, have students Think-Pair-Share with a new partner the following:

                 * Name three things that you've learned that cause changes to the earth's                   surface and describe how those changes happen.

    3. Review with students how to properly handle photography equipment and rules for going on a neighborhood field trip. Have students partner up with someone and each pair of students should share a mobile divice for taking photographs. (Alternatively, take the class on a Virtual field trip.)

    4. Inform students that while they are out on the field trip, they need to watch for evidence of changes to the earths surface and take photographs of any evidence they find.

    5. When back at the classroom, have partners pair up with another set of partners to share their photographs in the group. 

    6. Students should download photos to Google Docs for use later. Students can also take photos with their families and bring in for the final project. 

    7. Review with students the proper way to cite borrowed photographs from Wikimedia Commons following this format:

    • Name of the Work, Name of the owner/creator, License, Location of the work

    8. Review with students how to write a complete sentence and use correct punctuation. 

    9. Students will write their books and create a book cover showcasing what they have learned (1-2 days will be spent on this assessment). Their books will include their photos and/or photos found on Wikimedia Commons. Each photo should include a description of the type of change that has occured and whether it was a rapid or slow change. Go through the Rubric with the students so that they know what is expected. 






    Step 4 - Assessments

    Step 4 Assessments


    Formative Assessment: Students sharing during Think-Pair-Share. 

    Summative Assessment: Students will create a book in Google Docs using photographs that were taken during the field trip, a trip with their families, and/or collected from Wikimedia Commons. Students are to include at least 3 different photographs that show changes to the earth's surface, and describe the changes that took place, also stating whether it was a slow or fast change. Students will be expected to use complete senteces and proper punctuation. Using Adobe Express or another photo app, students will create a book cover photo collage for their book.  See attached rubric.