I am so proud of you 6th grade!
So with all our figuring out about Mt. Everest DONE, students wrote some books on what they figured out! We set our criteria and BOOM! They were off designing and writing! Check out their books at the library below....there's an entire section dedicated to Mt. Everest!
I am so proud of you 6th grade!
With all this figuring out about erosion and weathering, we were in a good place! At the beginning of our unit, we set out to answer some pretty interesting questions...
All these questions felt answerable to us! We spent a few days developing the models and then offered feedback to one another with a new app called Jamboard. We're doing this work remotely both individually and together as well as both live and asynchronously!
After discussing the feedback we gave to our peers we created a checklist to build out our last final model that would explain how Everest grows and shrinks! Each of Mrs. Brinza's two sections built out different checklists, but we're working towards the same goal! Way to go 6th graders!
Check back in a week as students are being given time to develop their models by creating an online book! We'll be sharing our models then!
The seafloor atop of Mt. Everest is super small...we know that there used to be a vast ocean between where a sea fossil originated and where it is now on the top of Mt. Everest. But where exactly has it gone?
Using other images similar to Everest, we're seeing the role that weathering and erosion can play! Using similar phenomena is making us realize that LOTS of places on the Earth seem to be experiencing what Everest experiences.
Since we're physically out of school due to COVID-19, it's hard to do hands-on investigations at home, so we resulted to two things to help us figure out about weathering and erosion:
1. A series of demonstration videos people have posted online (thank you to everyone who's been kind enough to do similar ideas to what we wanted to do to figure out about weathering and erosion).
2. A series of timelapse videos people have posted online (this is super cool that they've wanted to do this to show change in different places on the Earth's surface).
We have been able to clearly see how weathering and erosion can impact the Earth's surface. We closed out our figuring out about weathering and erosion by making some lighthearted memes before spring break...
Enjoy (and check back as we close out our Mt. Everest unit)!
This week was a whirlwind! We're on week two of remote learning and we're certainly plugging away!
We decided to dig deeper into understanding more about fossils and what they tell us. With some data from the United States--and in the middle of it in fact, we found out there are both sea-based and land-based fossils there!
Students submitted their ideas about how fossils could form in the first place! We got lots of ideas:
We began figuring out about fossil formation, and then saw that we could begin putting some pieces together. Maybe Utah and Mt. Everest were more alike that we thought!?!?! From here, we looked at where Mt. Everest was over millions of years, and developed some models to explain our thinking!
There were so many ideas!!! And such awesome effort on behalf of some amazing 6th graders! We came to consensus on how we could show how a fossil forms, and how the type of fossil, type of rock, and location of fossil could indicate how the Earth's surface has changed.
So now that we've figured out how a sea-based organism's fossil could become a fossil in the first place, along with how it could end up on the top of Mt. Everest, why is there so little of the seafloor on the top of Everest? Where is it going? What's causing it to disappear?
Now that we've figured out about earthquakes of different depths, different types of plates, and why volcanoes can occur when plates move away from each other or collide into one another, we're trying to see what other types of evidence can give us insight into Mt. Everest's past along with it's future. There are still some lingering questions on our DQB that focus on Mt. Everest's location. Like has it always been there? Where will it be in the future?
Since we're doing this figuring out remotely, we needed to change up our ways, and I am so proud of students doing a lot of the figuring out alone or with others they can connect with remotely (I can't video conference with kids due to our district's acceptable use policy).
A video with a geologist is giving us some new evidence...all centered on sea-creature evidence! This is so intriguing to us since Mt. Everest is not near an ocean...but there are sea-creature fossils near the top!
Students were asked to ask any questions of the geologist...and here's a snapshot of what they submitted via Google Forms:
Asking students to explain this interesting phenomenon--how a sea-creature fossil on the top of Everest could give us insight into how the Earth changes...we got some great responses!
From here, we worked on developing a model, and some students were able to submit their models via Google Classroom. Check them out!
And we settled on this model as an agreement:
So if we know the Indian and Eurasian plates are moving towards one another, how is it that the fossil actually ends up on top? Students gave their insight into this question:What could have happened to cause sea creatures to be found at the top of Mt. Everest?
This week was a tough one. In light of the COVID-19 school closure, our "figuring out" has turned into a remote, e-learning experience. I am completely aware of the access and equity issues this is presenting, and while I am trying to continue on with our Dead Raccoon unit and everything we set out to figure out, I have mixed emotions that not all of my students are having an equitable experience.
I will continue to blog here with what we're doing in hopes that those students who don't have access to what is happening over an online platform can return here to this space and see what we've done. Again, not ideal at all, but I can't think of any other way to do this knowing there are many hurdles in the way right now.
Returning to the earthquake simulator and really investigating what's happening at plate locations where plates are coming together is paying off! We could change the simulator's settings to not only see plate movement (so we could focus on the plates moving towards one another), but so we could also see where volcanoes are occurring.
The oceanic plates sinking under a continental plates are evident when we pull up a location like the Andes mountains. This shows how deep earthquakes are happening. And looking at the earthquakes happening near Mt. Everest is helpful too--those earthquakes are only shallow (two continental plates colliding).
With all this figuring out, we've come to an agreement that we can explain why lots of locations look the way they do and why they may or may not experience volcanoes and/or earthquakes.
This means we went back to the Driving Question Board to see what we could answer based on what we've figured out! Goodness we've figured a lot out!
We've still got some looming questions regarding the future of Mt. Everest...like where it will be or what it will look like. Maybe the past can tell us more about the future! Maybe other processes that happen on the Earth are able to help explain what we don't know!
So with looking at all our locations, we are starting to notice some interesting patterns.
Not all places that have plates coming together have JUST mountains. They might also have volcanoes, too! This is so interesting to us because we're not really sure how plates that move together can cause magma to explode and flow out of the Earth's crust. This is leaving us perplexed!
So we turned to a video and some simulators to help us better understand what's going on at a deeper (no pun intended here)! Screenshots of these tools are here:
We spent a ton of time discussing what's actually happening as two plates come together, especially as at least one of them is an oceanic plate, saturated with water and layered with dead plankton on top! Since oceanic plates are denser than continental plates (made of different types of rock), they're sinking below the land-based plates. As the oceanic plate sinks deeper into the mantle, the rock begins to melt and the dead organisms and water are heated. This builds pressure. When the water, carbon dioxide, and magma can't be contained in the space below the crust, we end up with a volcano erupting!
We worked towards building consensus together to explain such an interesting phenomena! Two different sections built two similar models!
We are now seeing how plates coming together just don't build mountains, but also build volcanoes, too! We also acknowledge how the two plates that are colliding are deep in the Earth's crust...
Take a look at this now...several students have asked to return to the earthquake simulator! What do places that have oceanic and continental plates look like? Especially knowing earthquakes are happening there. What do locations look like that have earthquakes and only continental plates?
We're also seeing that some of the places we've looked at have volcanoes, too. Why is it that some places have mountains and volcanoes and others only have mountains? Why is it that plate movement can be the same but different landscapes are evident? Gosh, we've got some figuring out to do! Next steps: volcanoes!
After sharing out similarities and differences between models, we came to a consensus after a LONG, THOUGHTFUL discussion of how to represent what's going on with Mt. Everest!
We focused on the cause of the Indian and Eurasian plates' movement in multiple directions, thinking about both their size, speed, and direction. We attempted a moving model with some random things we found in the classroom and taped it to show the NE annual movement of the Eurasian plate.