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Develop a Model to Represent the Natural World

Develop a Model to Represent the Natural World

TEKS Objective

The student is expected to represent the natural world using models such as rivers, stream tables, or fossils and identify their limitations, including accuracy and size.

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Essential Understanding

The student uses critical thinking and scientific problem solving to make informed decisions.

Science Background

A Closer Look, Scientific Models: Annenberg Learner (website) - Important information about scientific models, what they are, how they are developed, how and why they change over time, and what their limitations are.

A Closer Look, Scientific Models
Annenberg Learner (website), www.learner.org

Models are the Building Blocks of Science: The University of Texas (website) - Online article discusses different types of models, and explains their purpose and importance in the scientific world and other disciplines.

Models are the Building Blocks of Science
The University of Texas (website), www.utexas.edu

Signature Lesson

Erosion and Deposition: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Education Programs (website) - Students will: 1) observe and identify agents of erosion and deposition by examining the features formed and the processes that influenced their formation; and 2) represent the natural world by constructing detailed models that illustrate human impact on the environment.

Erosion and Deposition
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Education Programs (website), www.education.gsfc.nasa.gov

Supporting Lessons

Using a Stream Table to Investigate Erosion Control: Maine Geological Survey (PDF) - Investigate different methods of controlling water-induced topsoil erosion.

Using a Stream Table to Investigate Erosion Control
Maine Geological Survey, www.maine.gov

Elaboration Lessons and Extensions

Make a Model Fossil: Minnesota Science Teachers Education Project (website) - Students model the process of fossilization by creating molds and/or casts from natural objects found locally.

Make a Model Fossil
Minnesota Science Teachers Education Project (website), www.serc.carleton.edu

Assessment Ideas

Have students bring recycling materials from home and use the materials to build a model water system or a fossil.

Literature Connections

Kids’ Paper Airplane Book. Blackburrn, Ken (ISBN-13: 978-0761104780)

The LEGO Ideas Book. Lipkowitz, Daniel (ISBN-13: 978-0756686062)

Related Science TEKS

(4.2A) Plan and Implement Descriptive Investigation 
The student is expected to plan and implement descriptive investigations, including asking well-defined questions, making inferences, and selecting and using appropriate equipment or technology to answer his/her questions.

(4.2B) Collect Data
The student is expected to collect and record data by observing and measuring, using the metric system, and using descriptive words and numerals such as labeled drawings, writing, and concept maps.

(4.2C) Graphs, Tables, Charts   
The student is expected to construct simple tables, charts, bar graphs, and maps using tools and current technology to organize, examine, and evaluate data.

(4.2D) Analyze Evidence and Explain  
The student is expected to analyze data and interpret patterns to construct reasonable explanations from data that can be observed and measured.

(4.2E) Value of Repeated Experiments    
The student is expected to perform repeated investigations to increase the reliability of results.

(4.2F) Communicate Conclusions
The student is expected to communicate valid, oral, and written results supported by data.

(4.3A) Analyze, Evaluate and Critique Explanations
The student is expected to in all fields of science, analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing, including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.

(4.4) Science Tools      
The student knows how to use a variety of tools, materials, equipment, and models to conduct science inquiry.

(4.4A) Tools for Collecting and Analyzing Information  
The student is expected to collect, record, and analyze information using tools, including calculators, microscopes, cameras, computers, hand lenses, metric rulers, Celsius thermometers, mirrors, spring scales, pan balances, triple beam balances, graduated cylinders, beakers, hot plates, meter sticks, compasses, magnets, collecting nets, and notebooks; timing devices, including clocks and stopwatches; and materials to support observation of habitats of organisms such as terrariums and aquariums.

(4.4B) Safety Equipment
The student is expected to use safety equipment as appropriate, including safety goggles and gloves.

Related Math TEKS

4.11A  The student is expected to estimate and use measurement tools to determine length (including perimeter), area, capacity and weight/mass using standard units SI (metric) and customary.

4.11B   The student is expected to perform simple conversions between different units of length, between different units of capacity, and between different units of weight within the customary measurement system.

4.11C   The student is expected to use concrete models of standard cubic units to measure volume.

4.11D  The student is expected to estimate volume in cubic units.

4.11E   The student is expected to explain the difference between weight and mass.

4.12A  The student is expected to use a thermometer to measure temperature and changes in temperature.

4.12B   The student is expected to use tools such as a clock with gears or a stopwatch to solve problems involving elapsed time.

4.13A  The student is expected to use concrete objects or pictures to make generalizations about determining all possible combinations of a given set of data or of objects in a problem situation.

4.13B   The student is expected to interpret bar graphs.

4.14A  The student is expected to identify the mathematics in everyday situations.

4.14B   The student is expected to solve problems that incorporate understanding the problem, making a plan, carrying out the plan, and evaluating the solution for reasonableness.

4.14C   The student is expected to select or develop an appropriate problem-solving plan or strategy, including drawing a picture, looking for a pattern, systematic guessing and checking, acting it out, making a table, working a simpler problem, or working backwards to solve a problem.

Additional Resources

Earth Science Week: American Geosciences Institute (website) - Links to numerous, diverse activities that use models of earth science processes and structures.

Earth Science Week
American Geosciences Institute (website), www.earthsciweek.org

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