Working in classrooms across Warren County, we often hear 4th graders reciting rhymes, chants, or songs aimed at committing to memory the three processes that change our Earth's surface; Weathering breaks or changes it, Erosion takes or carries it, and Deposition drops or deposits it.
Or in 8th grade classes, we witness students further investigating how combinations of constructive and destructive geological processes form Earth’s surface.
Understanding these concepts falls in line with Ohio Learning Science Standards and also helps lay the foundation for students to observe and learn how and why our planet is shifting and changing. Then they can better study how human activity may play a role in the acceleration or deceleration of these changes, for we too are part of this system.
One way Warren County SWCD assists in this learning experience is to bring in our interactive stream/geology table to the classroom for students to visually observe destructive erosion and constructive deposition in action. Students have the opportunity to make hypotheses about what they may see, and then participate in creating stream ecosystems and/or various land forms. Multiple scenarios can be developed to see how the addition or removal of elements changes the rate of weathering, erosion, and deposition on the model sand table.
By being able to visually watch formation of land forms, soil erode from river cut banks, and deltas form via deposition, students can connect the definition of these processes with real life effects. They also gain correct terminology and vocabulary to better discuss a river ecosystem and prepare them for future ecology studies.
Weathering, erosion, and deposition are constantly occurring in our environment. Agents of change include water, wind, gravity, and ice. Studying earth formations through hands on demonstrations of different types of weathering and erosion, sets up students to delve into both the past and the future.
Exploring topics like glacial evidence of mechanical weathering provides insight into how the Ohio landscape started to emerge.
Kelly's Island, Sandusky, Ohio
And how glacial melting from climate change may alter landscapes in the future...
Muir's Inlet, Riggs Bay glacier
River systems connect to topics of erosion which impacts human development and water quality issues. Sediment pollution in river systems affects ecological balances and drinking water. Streambank erosion in tributaries contribute to overall stream health.
Turtle Creek, Lebanon Ohio
Chemical weathering and erosion contribute to karst formations like sink holes and caves. These underground wonders can be explored with different activities and demonstrations.
As education specialists, we are thrilled and excited to share knowledge with students and teachers that bring in real life examples pertaining to the rivers, formations, and ecosystems around their school district. Empowering students with ways they can help protect their local environment gives them an active role in conservation as well.
Some conservation tips to share:
Recycle and Reuse
Place appropriate items in the recycling bin instead of the trash.
Choose rechargeable batteries, then recycle them when they die. You'd have to use hundreds of single-use batteries to equal the energy you'd get out of one rechargable battery. Be sure to recycle all batteries to keep harmful metals from entering the environment.
When you drink bottled water, reuse the bottle before recycling it. Or instead use a refillable water bottle rather than buying bottled water from the store.
Improve the Outdoors
Plant a deciduous (leafy) tree. Trees help clean the air we breathe. They produce oxygen and reduce carbon dioxide. Their roots help to stabilize soil and reduce erosion.
Participate in cleanup days at a beach or park. Use those outdoor trash cans! Never litter. Keep our waterways clean. When you visit a park or beach, be sure you deposit your trash in containers and volunteer at some state and national cleanups.
Safeguard Storm Drains
Don't litter. Trash tossed carelessly outside often washes into storm drains, which empty into rivers and streams that eventually flow to the oceans. Pollution is a growing problem for all the Earth's ocean and its wildlife.
Cut Down on Waste
Ban all drips. If you have a dripping faucet in the house, ask your parents to replace the washer inside it. If you stop a faucet from leaking one drop each second, you can save 2,700 gallons (10,220 liters) of water a year.
Don't pile your plate. "When's dinner?" you want to know. You're starving after a long day at school! Even so, restrain yourself and take only what you know you'll really be able to eat. Enough edible food to feed 49 million people ends up in landfills in the United States each year. When you do have food waste, compost it!
Spread the Word
Tell your friends! The more people who treat the Earth well, the safer all its inhabitants will be.
To learn more about the interactive stream/geology table and earth formations programs, or to schedule a classroom presentation, contact Marta or Melissa, Warren County SWCD's Education Specialists.
*Details also available about loan opportunities of the Stream / Geology Table to your classroom for teacher guided use.