Hands-on Activities: Earth System Cards
Grade Level K-4
Essential Question How are things divided among Earth's four spheres?
Objective Students will use their knowledge opf Earth's four major spheresland, water, living things, and airto classify information. They will also make connections among the spheres.
Materials A deck of cards, labeled with words and/or pictures of things representing each of Earth's spheres
Everything on Earth belongs to one of four spheres. Earth's spheres are land, water, living things, and air. Make a deck of cards. Label each card with a word that represents something from one of Earth's spheres. For example, you may label one card worm, another icebergs, a third sand, etc. Make several cards for each sphere. Give your students these cards and tell them the item on each of these cards belongs in one of Earth's spheres. Instruct your students to sort the cards into four piles. One pile is land, one is water, one is living things, and one is air. After they sort the cards, ask them why they placed the cards where they did. Ask them if the things in different spheres are connected. If so, how? For example, how does water affect sand?
This activity can be modified and used with younger children who cannot yet read. Simply paste or draw pictures on the cards in addition to the words. The K-1 students can even help design the cards by cutting pictures from magazines. They can do so in learning groups named for the spheres.
Reflection To make the connection between the Earth System Cards game and the Earth system in which they live, ask students to think about what they've done today. What did they do when they got out of bed? What happened on the way to school? Have they played outside?
Then ask students to describe things in each of the four spheres that they saw, heard or felt. For example, they might have seen a bird in the sky. The bird would be a living thing. The sky it was flying through would be the air.
Students can either tell the story of their living thing or write a short summary of their ideas on the back of the paper.
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