Watch Out for Landslides

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Resource Type:Classroom Activities; Curricula and Instruction
Grade Level:
5 6 7 8
Organization:American Geosciences Institute (AGI); Earth Science Week (ESW)
Summary:Landslides not only are dangerous — causing on average more than 25 deaths and over ¤1 billion in damages a year — but are also widespread, occurring in all 50 states. Compounding the hazards, these natural disasters often occur along with other similar natural phenomena, such as floods or earthquakes. To minimize risk, the slope of land and materials underground must be considered when planning how to build in a community. Altering the slope of land, or even the amount of vegetation on a slope, can have dangerous consequences. Students create miniature landslides with different substrates and record their findings. Students then discuss how and why certain substrates fall the way they do. A discussion on what areas of the world are prone to these types of landslides should follow the experiment.
Earth Science Big Ideas:Big Idea 8
NGSS Discplinary Core Ideas:ESS2.A; ESS3.C
NGSS Performance Expectations:MS-ESS2-2; MS-ESS3-2
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:Analyzing and interpreting data; Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
NGSS Crosscutting Concepts:Patterns; Scale, proportion, and quantity
Subjects: 6-8; earth science week; earthquake; flood; geology; landslide; middle school; natural hazards; rocks; soils; water
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