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Earth's Erosion

Grade Levels

Pre-K - 2nd





Forest Locations

We will begin at the science center-glacier rock-upper reservior- Aleck Meadow. The bus will pick us up at Aleck Meadow. 

Download Trail Map


In order to complete this lab in the forest the students will need clip board, pencil, colored pencils. The lab form is where they will record the information that they are learning from the forest. 


The trip will begin at the science center. As a group we will travel to toward upper meadow. We will stop at the glacier walk along the way. At this point we will stop and discuss how ice and glaciers have shaped the earth. The students will fill in the first part of their lab sheet.  As a group we will then travel towards upper reservoir. Here the students will look for rocks that have been eroded by water. Finally, we will travel to Aleck meadow. At Aleck meadow we will then look for rocks that have been eroded by land. At Aleck meadow we will have lunch and then the bus will pick us up there.

Pre-Forest Activity

Before entering the forest we will work with the students on learning about erosion and the different types of erosion. Teachers should complete an erosion interactive notebook with the students in the classroom. This interactive notebook will teach them what erosion is and how it affects our earth. The students will learn about the three different types of erosion, water, ice and land erosion. They will learn about how these different environmental features affect the shape, size, texture and structure of a rock. The interactive notebook will allow the students to draw pictures, take notes, learn definitions, read articles and look at pictures to help them understand the erosion process. The interactive notebook can be purchased on Teacher Pay Teachers. The teacher should also read stories and watch videos about erosion. This will help the students gain a basic understanding of what erosion is and how it affects the earth. The lab activity in the forest will reinforce these ideas for the students to gain further understanding. 

Here are some resources the teacher may use to teach erosion in the classroom before attending the trip. 



weathering and erosion

Before leaving for the trip teachers should also make sure that they prepare the students for what to expect in the forest. Instruct the students to wear sneakers and comfortable clothing as you will be walking about a mile while in the forest. The students should also pack a lunch that they can eat while in the forest (sandwich and chips, no glass bottles). The students should also pack a water bottle so they stay hydrated in the forest. I would also make sure to tell the students that there is not bathroom in the forest. They need to use the bathroom before we leave. You must also ensure that the students understand that they must stay with the group. If students were to fall behind or go ahead of the group they risk getting lost in the forest. 

Forest Activity

        While in the forest the students will be looking for rocks that show evidence of erosion. They will have to identify what type of erosion the rock is. We will begin our trip at the science center. We will begin to walk together towards upper reservoir. As we walk towards upper reservoir the group will stop at the glacier rock. At the glacier walk the teacher will stop and talk with the students about how this rock is very different from other rocks in the forest. The teacher will explain that that is because this rock was brought her by a glacier. The teacher will prompt the students to then identify that this means that the rock was eroded by ice. The students will be given their lab sheets. On the lab sheet they will have to find rocks of the three different types and record them on the sheet. They will draw a picture of the rock in the box. They will then describe the rock by answering the questions on the lab sheet. Once all the students are done we will begin to move toward upper reservoir.

       Once at upper reservoir the students will again look for rocks that have been eroded. The teacher will talk to the students about what type of erosion the students think they will find there. The students should be able to understand that they should be looking rocks that have been eroded by water. The teacher will help picks some rocks out of the water that have been eroded by water. The students will look at these rocks and we will compare how they look to the rocks that were eroded by ice. The students will then fill in their lab sheet based on the rocks they find. Once the students are done we will finally travel together to Aleck Meadow.

       Once at Aleck Meadow we will look for rocks that have been eroded by the final type of erosion, Land erosion. The students will look around and find rocks that have been eroded by land and nature. The students will find the rocks and then fill in the lab sheet for their final rock. Once they have all completed the sheet we will have discussion about the rocks that we have found. The teacher should ask the students the following questions:

       How do each of the rocks differ?

       Why are they all shaped so differently.

       What do you think caused these different types of erosion?

       Predict what you think these rocks will look like in 20 years?

       How does nature and the environment affect erosion?

       What could we do to help slow erosion?

The students will end the lab by completing the lab report on one of the rocks they found in the forest. They will answer questions about erosion and how the rocks they found are evidence of erosion. 

Post-Forest Activity

Upon returning to the classroom we will discuss what the students learned on their trip. In order to expand this activity and have the students work on ELA skills the students will write an erosion story for their rock. They will pick of the rocks that they drew from the forest and they will write a story about how it eroded. They will have to tell about how it was shaped and where it was located long ago. They will then have to explain how it traveled and how this traveling caused erosion. They will then have to explain how it has been eroded over time to determine the current shape and size of the rock. For students who are higher level learners you might challenge them to write about how it got certain scratches or chips in the rock.


The student’s data sheet will serve as a form of assessment. They should be able to identify the different types of rocks and erosion. That will indicate that they understand erosion. Their erosion story written in the classroom will also serve as an additional assessment piece. It will indicate if the students understand the process of erosion.

Learning Standards


Compare multiple solutions designed to slow or prevent

Stability and Change

  • Things may change slowly or rapidly.

Influence of Engineering, Technology, and Science on Society and the Natural World

  • Developing and using technology has impacts on the natural world wind or water from changing the shape of the land.

ESS2 A: Earth Materials and Systems

  • Wind and water can change the shape of the land.


Within the second grade curriculum the students will be learning about weathering and erosion. The students will learn about how erosion affects the shape of the earth. They will be reading texts and reading stories about how erosion affects the earth. This activity will build on this.


Given an outdoor experience, Students will be able to identify different land and rock structures that have been affected by erosion.


In order to participate in this lesson the students will need background knowledge of erosion. The students should know what erosion is, how it affects the earth and the different types of erosion. The students will need an understanding of the vocabulary: erosion, weathering, wind, glacier, abrasion, pressure, runoff, Sedimentary rocks and geologists. 

Safety Concerns

The students should wear appropriate clothing and shoes. They should also were bug spray applied at home so that they do not have any reactions to the elements in the forest. They should also bring any medication that they may need.