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Authors

The Kid Should See This, Fun Science Demos

Grades

K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th

Subjects

Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Video, 7 minutes, 36 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Article

Regional Focus

Global, North America

Erosion Demonstration: Comparing Grass, Dead Leaves, and Soil

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Synopsis
  • This video and accompanying article demonstrates how different types of ground cover (specifically grass, dead leaves, or bare soil) affect the process of erosion. 
  • Students will learn what erosion is, how water runoff is affected by different types of ground cover, what roots do underground, and the best way to prevent erosion. 
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • This video provides a straightforward and engaging demonstration of how erosion works. 
  • This resource provides links to additional resources and provides an example of an experiment that students could easily do in their classroom. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • It may be helpful for students to have a basic understanding of the concept of erosion and how plants "drink" water. 
  • The PBS link in the article is broken. 

Differentiation

  • This experiment could be replicated in a classroom or teachers might choose to use the link to other Fun Science Demos referenced in the article. 
  • The article provides a link to 14 other videos about erosion that could be used for extension activities. 
  • Language arts classes could write a few sentences that compare and contrast the water runoff from the three containers, being sure to explain why the process works differently.
  • Science classes could work in groups to research how human activities are impacting the land, rates of erosion, and our Earth. 
  • Other resources on this topic include this video about slowing coastal erosion and this video which provides an overview of soil science. 
Scientist Notes
This resource is an 8-minute video with an accompanying website that demonstrates the ways in which ground cover can affect water runoff and water retention. Bare soil is compared to soil with leaf litter and soil with grass. This is a very clear and interesting demonstration. This resource is recommended for teaching.
Standards
  • Science and Engineering
    • ESS2: Earth’s Systems
      • 2-ESS2-1 Compare multiple solutions designed to slow or prevent wind or water from changing the shape of the land.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • K-ESS3-3 Communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on the land, water, air, and/or other living things in the local environment.
    • PS1: Matter and Its Interactions
      • 2-PS1-1 Plan and conduct an investigation to describe and classify different kinds of materials by their observable properties.
  • English Language Arts
    • Reading (K-12)
      • R.3.5 Provide an accurate summary of various texts; determine the central idea(s) or theme(s) and analyze its development throughout each text.
      • R.4.6 Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
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