Grade 2Science

Focus: In this unit, students explore the phenomena of different landforms to gather evidence of how Earth events change Earth’s surface. The unit builds on student understandings about changing environments and weather patterns from the Kindergarten Performance Expectation K-ESS2-2, in which students explore how plants and animals change the environment. The unit also develops new understanding of Performance Expectation K-PS3-1, in which they learn about weather patterns and the effects of wind and water on land.

Students explore concepts that include the following:

  • Hills, mountains, valleys, rock arches, plains, geysers, volcanoes, sand dunes, and beaches are types of landforms.
  • Landforms can be created quickly or slowly.
  • Quick changes to landforms include rockslides, landslides, mudslides, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.
  • Wind and water can erode rock, sand dunes, and beaches.
  • There are different solutions to prevent water from changing the shape of rock and to prevent sand erosion.
  • Glaciers are frozen forms of water.
  • Flowing water moves earth materials.
  • Maps are used to help locate things in nature.
  • The land and water features of an area can be modeled.
  • Water soaks into the ground.
  • Geysers and volcanoes bring underground materials to Earth’s surface.
  • Sand landforms include dunes and beaches.
  • Sand dunes and beaches are formed in different ways.

Scientists, including geologists and geographers, observe, analyze, and study Earth processes and changing landforms to describe patterns in the natural world to answer scientific questions. This series of lessons incorporates learning goals that support scientific principles and practices, such as analyzing and interpreting. Engineering practices are stressed in this lesson, with students considering ways of preserving rock formations, protecting beaches, and preventing landslides.

Number of Lessons: 6

Instruction Time: Each lesson is divided into 2-6 lesson segments. We recommend that you plan for about 30-45 minutes for each lesson segment. We further recommend that you spend a minimum of twenty-seven days and a maximum of forty-one days teaching the Exploring Land and Water unit so that you have time to teach the other units in the Grade 2 CKSci series.

Please note that a Pacing Guide template is provided within the Teacher Guide so teachers can map out customized instructional days for this unit.

Additional Search Terms:

landform • national monument • hill • mountain • preserve • glacier • map • valley • scale • erupt • geyser • volcano • groundwater • lava • earthquake • landslide • waterfall • arch • dune • Mt. Rushmore • Arches • Yellowstone • Yosemite • Cape Cod • nonfiction • informational text


CKSci Grade Levels: CKSci units are correlated to topics at the grade levels specified in the K–5 Core Knowledge Science Sequence.

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