Earth science covers a range of topics, from the different biomes of the Earth to the layers of its crust. Many Earth science lesson plans cover weather, natural disasters, different types of terrain, and how the moon guides the tides. One of the best things about Earth science is that it provides plenty of fodder for hands-on activities. Not only do students love getting up out of their seats, but touching and visualizing the concepts in the lesson also helps them retain the information. Teachers can often create dozens of Earth science lesson plans from a single topic.
Introductory Earth science lesson plans might start with a cross-section of the Earth. The teacher could explain to the students that the world's plants, animals, water, and humans live on the Earth’s crust. Right underneath the crust is the warm, rocky mantle that holds all kinds of metal ore, gemstones, coal, and oil. Beneath the mantle lies liquid magma that sometimes seeps up through the mantle and crust through volcanoes. The very center of the earth is made up of very dense, superheated material.
This introduction may be followed by a hands-on activity, such as coloring a diagram of the Earth. Older children might construct a flat cross-section of the Earth with paper and glue, while still older students might create a three-dimensional model with foam balls and clay. The goal is for each student to label the layers of the Earth correctly and understand what each layer is made of.
Subsequent Earth science lesson plans usually focus on one area of the Earth at a time. For instance, studying biomes could be a single lesson that is broken up into many smaller sections. In this lesson, students learn about the weather, animals, and terrain in different sections of the Earth. When finished, the teacher can use matching games to help the students place animals, weather patterns, and plants in the correct biomes. For instance, the teacher might make a biome chart on the board and give one student a picture of a seal. If the student places the seal in the Arctic biome, he or she understands where the seal lives.
After the biomes unit, many teachers like to create Earth science lesson plans that revolve around different geological characteristics of the Earth. One lesson might focus on fresh and salt water, geysers, rivers, and ice while another focuses on caves and volcanoes. The final two or three Earth science lesson plans might focus on the water cycle and how natural disasters happen. As a follow-up, the teacher might have each student create a diorama or science experiment inspired by one of the sections covered in the lessons.