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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Soil Erosion and Runoff

Lesson Description:
In this lesson, students will investigate the role plants, grasses and trees have in preventing soil erosion. Soil erosion can be damaging because soil, chemicals and other particles travel into water sources. After students discover that planted material can help keep soil in place, they will extend their understanding of run‐off by exploring ways that people in their community can keep chemicals and dangerous substances out of our streams, rivers, and oceans.

Learning Objectives:
Students will be able to:
  • Identify some causes and effects of soil erosion.
  • Observe erosion results made with different materials and draw conclusions about the best ways to reduce erosion.
  • Explain how planting grass and other plants can reduce erosion and run‐off.

Lesson Type:
  • Discussion
  • Experiment

Sustainability Topic:
  • Gardening
  • Water

GEF Program Category:
  • Green Thumb Challenge

Time Needed:
2-3 classes
Standards Addressed:
4DESS3.1 The surface of the earth changes. Some changes are due to slow processes, such as erosion and weathering, and some changes are due to rapid processes, such as landslides, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes.

4FSPSP4.2 Changes in environments can be natural or influenced by humans. Some changes are good, some are bad, and some are neither good nor bad. Pollution is a change in the environment that can influence the health, survival, or activities of organisms, including humans.

4FSPSP4.3 Some environmental changes occur slowly, and others occur rapidly. Students should understand the different consequences of changing environments in small increments over long periods as compared with changing environments in large increments over short periods.

4EST1.2 Propose a solution. Students should make proposals to build something or get something to work better; they should be able to describe and communicate their ideas. Students should recognize that designing a solution might have constraints, such as cost, materials, time, space, or safety.

4EST1.4 Evaluate a product or design. Students should evaluate their own results or solutions to problems, as well as those of other children, by considering how well a product or design met the challenge to solve a problem. When possible, students should use measurements and include constraints and other criteria in their evaluations. They should modify designs based on the results of evaluations.

School or Group:
Discovery Education
Contact Email:
Lesson Documents:
application/pdf Soil Erosion and Runoff.pdf
Located in: Science

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