Title: Exploring Beach Erosion in the Great Lakes Author: Amy Martin-Crowel, Hillel Day School Target: Grade 4 Science

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1 Title: Exploring Beach Erosion in the Great Lakes Author: Amy Martin-Crowel, Hillel Day School Target: Grade 4 Science Lesson Overview This lesson is meant to expose students to an example of environmental change, beach erosion, in the Great Lakes. As a part of the 4 th grade science curriculum at Hillel, we study erosion and weathering so this lesson will bring the topic closer to home for them since many of them journey Up North in Michigan to vacation homes with beaches or near beaches. Additionally, in 4 th grade social studies, they will be studying the effects of environmental change and the challenges that they create. I hope to provide them with a brief overview of why the Great Lakes are important, focus on erosion as one of the challenges, explore beach erosion with a hands-on activity, view ways of stopping beach erosion, and then have them explore these methods for stopping erosion in a hands-on activity. Sources Consulted The idea for this lesson came from a poster that was given out at the GLMTTI entitled Where Land Meets Water. This Sea Grant Michigan website then lead me to where there are images of erosion along the Great Lakes. I then did a search for preventing great lakes beach erosion and came up with a video, Saving America s Primary Water Source, made by MSNBC toting the challenges and importance of the Great Lakes, and a blog and video made by a woman making a 1,000 mile trek around Lake Michigan where she discusses her journey and blogs about erosion, These websites are the basis of the ideas for this lesson, as well as Patricia Eaton s, Great Lakes Maritime Academy science teacher, discussion during the seminar of ways to include the Great Lakes in science by using erosion as a point of integration. Learning Objectives: The students will be able to: 1. State two ways that beach erosion occurs. 2. List two ways to stop erosion along the Great Lakes. 3. Build a model that can sustain or reduce the erosion of sand by both wind and water. 4. Create a movie of how they built their model and what they were thinking, the subsequent testing of their model, and their synopsis of the success of their model and how it sustained the erosion and to whether it had a positive or negative effect on the environment. Michigan Benchmarks Addressed Earth Science GLCE-E.SE.E.2 Surface Changes - The surface of Earth changes. Some changes are due to slow processes, such as erosion and weathering, and some changes are due to rapid processes, such as landslides, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes. E.SE Identify and describe natural causes of change in the Earth s surface (erosion, glaciers, volcanoes, landslides, and earthquakes). Social Studies GLCE G5 Environment and Society Understand the effects of human-environment interactions. 4 G5.0.1 Assess the positive and negative effects of human activities on the physical environment of the United States. Materials Per group: Shallow rectangular pan Sand

2 Water Hair Dryer Rocks to act as a barrier Wooden blocks to represent a retaining wall Plant material to act as beach grass Plastic/burlap to represent a strip of barrier Skewers/toothpicks to help hold up the plastic or burlap barriers Flip Video Camera New Vocabulary Erosion is the process of weathering and transport of solids (sediment, soil, rock and other particles) in the natural environment or their source and deposits them elsewhere. It usually occurs due to transport by wind, water, or ice; by down-slope creep of soil and other material under the force of gravity; or by living organisms, such as burrowing animals, in the case of bioerosion. Focus Questions Has anyone ever seen a beach that appears to be disappearing or wearing away on the Great Lakes? What have you seen done to try to preserve Great Lakes beaches? What would you do to save your Great Lakes beaches from disappearing into the water? Classroom or Field Activities 1. Ask the students the focus questions and let them brainstorm what they have seen or what they might do to stop erosion of Great Lakes beaches. Accept all answers during brainstorming without comment as to their success. 2. Show students the Where Land MeetsWater poster provided at the workshop. Have students identify where the beach erosion exists at in the poster. 3. Visit the following website: where there are images of erosion along the Great Lakes. As you show each photo, have the students brainstorm what role humans may have had in this erosion for the good or the bad. As with the previous brainstorming, accept all answers. Students should come away from this video with at least two ways that beach erosion appears to occur. You can glean this from your discussion with them. 4. Watch the MSNBC video clip Saving America s Primary Water Source, to help students understand the importance of why challenges such as erosion need to be addressed on the Great Lakes. The video doesn t mention erosion, but does mention that many vacation along the Great Lakes, it is a huge water source for millions of people, and pollution, habitat loss, and invasive species are the most serious challenges they face right now. It does hint that anything that can be done to help the Great Lakes due to its importance as a water resource should be done. After watching the clip, ask students if they feel time, effort, and money should be spent on tackling erosion on the Great Lakes. 5. Provide each lab group with a shallow rectangular pan, sand, water, and a hair dryer. The students will start with a small amount of water in the shallow pan to represent water in the Great Lakes. They will pour a pile of sand to create a slope on one of the short sides of the rectangular pan. The pile should stretch from the top of the pan into the water a less than a 45 degree angle, as most beach do. The students will first use the hair dryer to create a wind coming off of the Great Lakes. Observations should be recorded on their lab sheets as to what happened to the beach as a result of the wind created by the hair dryer. The students will then create a wave by picking up the pan using the other short side of the pan opposite the beach and tilting the pan slightly back and forth to create a small wave that journeys up slightly on the shore. Observations should be recorded on

3 their lab sheets as to what happened to the beach as a result of the wave created by tilting the pan back and forth. Discuss what observations the students had about the changes that the wind and water did to the beach on the shoreline. The students should then watch a video entitled, Calvin College Lake Trek Video to get an introduction to Loreen Niewenhuis and her 1,000 mile trek around Lake Michigan. This video is posted under, April 23, 2009 on the following website, Then read the blog entry for Tuesday, April 28, 2009 from the same website. Students should be able to identify at least two ways that beach erosion can be prevented or controlled after reading this blog. You can assess this information orally during the discussion of the blog. Students will then use this information to create a model that can sustain or reduce the erosion of sand by both wind and water as seen in their first exploration. They should recreate the beach as they did in the first exploration. They then can use any of the following materials to try to prevent future erosion of their model by wind and water as tested previously. The materials are: rocks to act as a barrier, wooden blocks to represent a retaining wall, plant material to act as beach grass, plastic/burlap to represent a strip of barrier, and skewers/toothpicks to help hold up the plastic or burlap barriers. As students are building their models, they should video tape with descriptions of how they are building their model and what they are thinking as they build it. Why have they built it as they have? Students will then recreate the wind and water tests with the barriers in place and record the testing on video, as well as writing down observations on the lab sheet. Students should then tape a synopsis of what they felt they were successful at in preventing erosion and what could have been done differently that didn t work. Did their method of stopping the erosion have a positive or negative effect on the environment? Their video should then be edited using Window s Movie Maker to cut and splice the different pieces together. They will need to add a title page and subtitle pages for the building of the model, for the wind test, the water test, and for the summary of how they felt they did. They will also need to add a credit page at the end of the movie. Effects and transitions should be used for the title, subtitles, and credit page. The video will also be assessed for its graphic appearance, sound quality, and content. See rubric for specific details. Assessment Informal assessment will be made of oral discussion of the two ways beach erosion occurs and at least two ways of preventing beach erosion. Students lab sheets will be turned in so that a more formal assessment can be made of their observation skills during the wind and water testing without and with erosion protection. Personal comments will be used as feedback for the specificity of their observations. Where they specific enough about what happened in each instance? Could you see in your mind what they were saying in writing? Comments should be related to these questions. Students will be assessed using a rubric for their movie of their model to prevent erosion.

4 Name Date 4 th Science Section Great Lakes Beach Erosion lab Part 1 beach erosion by wind and water Materials needed: a shallow rectangular pan sand water a hair dryer Procedure for Part 1 1. Place a small amount of water in the shallow pan to represent water in the Great Lakes. The water should reach a height of ¼ to ½ inch. 2. Pour a pile of sand to create a slope on one of the short sides of the rectangular pan. The pile should stretch from the top of the pan into the water a less than a 45 degree angle, as most beaches do. 3. Use the hair dryer to create a wind coming off of the Great Lakes and headed towards the beach. Record observations on your lab sheet as to what happened to the beach as a result of the wind created by the hair dryer. Be specific. 4. The students will then create a wave by picking up the pan using the other short side of the pan opposite the beach and tilting the pan slightly back and forth to create a small wave that journeys up slightly on the shore. It should not reach the top edge of the pan or the entire beach. Record observations on your lab sheet as to what happened to the beach as a result of the wave created by tilting the pan back and forth. Be specific. 5. As a class, discuss what observations were made about the changes that the wind and water did to the beach on the shoreline. Observations of wind from the hair dryer and its affect on the beach Observations of water from the wave action due to tilting the pan back and forth and its affect on the beach

5 Part 2 preventing beach erosion by wind and water Materials are: rocks to act as a barrier wooden blocks to represent a retaining wall plant material to act as beach grass plastic/burlap to represent a strip of barrier skewers/toothpicks to help hold up the plastic or burlap barriers Procedure for Part 2 1. Create a model that can sustain or reduce the erosion of sand by both wind and water as seen in their first exploration. Recreate the beach as they did in the first exploration. 2. Then use any of the following materials to try to prevent future erosion of your model by wind and water as tested previously. The materials are: rocks to act as a barrier, wooden blocks to represent a retaining wall, plant material to act as beach grass, plastic/burlap to represent a strip of barrier, and skewers/toothpicks to help hold up the plastic or burlap barriers.*** As you are building your models, you should video tape with descriptions how you are building your model and what you are thinking as you build it. Why have they built it as you have? 3. Then recreate the wind and water tests with the barriers in place and record the testing on video, as well as writing down observations on the lab sheet. 4. You should then tape a summary of what you felt you were successful at in preventing erosion and what could have been done differently that didn t work. Did your method of stopping the erosion have a positive (good) or negative (bad) effect on the environment? 5. Your video should be posted as a movie for other students to watch. Video should be edited using Window s Movie Maker to cut and splice the different pieces together, as well as adding titles, subtitles, and credits. You will need to add transitions and effects, as well as check the video appearance, sound, and content. See the rubric for specific details that you will be graded on for this project. Observations of wind from the hair dryer and its affect on the beach with erosion control Observations of water from the wave action due to tilting the pan back and forth and its affect on the beach with erosion control

6 Erosion Video Rubric Video Content Video Graphics Video Audio Titles, Subtitles, and Credits Effects and Transitions Video addresses all of the following: taping of how the model was built and why it was built that way, taping of wind and water erosion tests, taping of summary of success and what could be done differently, and analysis of whether they had a positive or negative effect on the environment Video clips are clear, relevant to the content, and long enough to make a point without being too long Audio is relevant to the questions posed, fully explains thoughts, and is the same volume throughout the video Slides have good contrast between text and background and are easy to read, are visible for an appropriate amount of time, and have no grammatical or spelling errors Slides effects and transitions enhance the slides, help the flow of the movie, and last for an appropriate amount of time Video addresses some of the following: taping of how the model was built and why it was built that way, taping of wind and water erosion tests, taping of summary of success and what could be done differently, and analysis of whether they had a positive or negative effect on the environment Video clips are somewhat blurry, somewhat irrelevant taping of what was asked, or are somewhat too long or too short for the content needed Some of the audio is relevant to the questions asked or thoughts are partially explained or is sometimes louder or softer Some slides have poor contrast or are hard to read or are timed too long or short, or contain grammatical or spelling errors Some slide effects and transitions distract the viewer from the movie s intent or are timed too long or too short Video addresses a few of the following: taping of how the model was built and why it was built that way, taping of wind and water erosion tests, taping of summary of success and what could be done differently, and analysis of whether they had a positive or negative effect on the environment Video clips are blurry, have unnecessary parts taped, or are too long or too short for the content needed Most of the audio is not relevant and does not address the questions or explain their thoughts fully or is not audible or understandable Most slides have poor contrast or are hard to read or are timed too long or short, or contain grammatical or spelling errors Most slide effects and transitions distract the viewer from the movie s intent or are timed too long or too short

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