Avalanche Lesson Plan

Authors: Colleen Garrity (Arizona State University GK12 Fellow)
Anne English (Desert Eagle Secondary School Science Teacher)
Patrick Dwyer (Desert Eagle Secondary School Science Teacher)

Area: Earth and Space Sciences

Grade Level: 6-12

Overview:

A common demonstration of snow stability and instability (why avalanches happen) involves layering different materials such as flour and sugar onto a board until a “break point” is reached. In this lesson, students will design and conduct their own experiments to determine what conditions are most conducive to naturally triggered avalanches. They may also investigate how different types of terrain and slopes affect snowpack stability. As an added option, students may design experiments to investigate other avalanche triggers, such as human recreational activities.

 

Standards:

1SC-P2 Compare observations of the real world to observations of a constructed model (e.g., an aquarium, a terrarium, a volcano)
P 01. Assess the capability of a model to represent a "real world" scenario.

1SC-P6 Identify and refine a researchable question, conduct the experiment, collect and analyze data, share and discuss findings.

P01. Construct a researchable question P02. Employ a research design that incorporates a scientific method to carry out an experiment P03. Analyze experimental data P04. Communicate experimental findings to others

3SC-P4 Identify and describe the basic processes of the natural ecosystems and how these processes affect, and are affected by, humans

PO 1. Describe the basic processes of the natural ecosystems (e.g. water cycle, nutrient cycles) PO 2. Explain how these processes affect, and are affected by, humans

5SC-P7 Demonstrate the understanding of gravitation as a universal force that each mass exerts on any other mass

PO 1. Use the universal law of gravitation to predict how the gravity force changes with a change of distance and/or mass

6SC-P6 Identify and compare the interactions between water and other earth systems including the biosphere, lithosphere, and atmosphere.

PO 2 Describe the interactions between water and the biosphere PO 3. Describe the interactions between water and the lithosphere PO 4. Describe the interactions between water and the atmosphere PO 5. Compare the interactions between water and earth systems

6SC-P7 Investigate, analyze, and evaluate the factors that may influence weather; describe their effects on the environment and daily activities on earth

PO 4. Evaluate the effects of various weather factors on the environment and daily activities on earth.

Components
Lesson Plan (pdf/doc)
Packet (pdf/doc)
Photo Worksheet (pdf/doc)