This teaching box focuses on mountain building as a tool for teaching some of the essential concepts typically covered in middle and high school Earth science curricula: mountain formation, erosion, rocks, minerals, the rock cycle, faulting, folding and deformation of the crust, as well as plate tectonics, earthquakes and volcanoes. It reinforces the concept that mountains have a history and that it is possible to use clues from the shape, composition, and location of the mountains to discern that history.
The unit provides teachers with a complete curriculum unit on Earth science supported by a wealth of background resources and student activities. It includes a Student Journal (requires Adobe Reader) in which students record their observations, data, and reflections as they progress through the study of the composition and formation of mountains and how they change over time. Please note that we have also provided a Teacher Guide to the Student Journal which provides suggested answers.
From the menu at left you can access details about the supported concepts and standards, lessons with activities organized into teachable units, and a section describing the online resources used in the box for ready reference.
Lesson 1. Why do mountains look the way they do?
This serves as an introductory lesson in which students are introduced to mountains and how they are shaped.
Lesson 2. How to Make a Mountain
This lesson consists of four activities.
Lesson 3. Erosion: What Goes Up Must Come Down
In this lesson, students discover that mountains erode at different rates and form different shapes as a result of their underlying composition.
Lesson 4. Rock Composition and the Rock Cycle
This lesson consists of two activities.
This lesson consists of three activities.
Students develop an informatory caption for each of the mountains based on what they have learned in lessons 1 through 5.
Authors of this teaching box
This box was created during the summer of 2005 as part of a pilot project by the following professionals from the San Francisco Bay area of California: