Changing the Earth: Erosion

Contributor: Samantha Penna. Lesson ID: 11717

Do you know what it's called when weather wears away, or changes, how Earth looks? Can water and wind really change rocks? You will get to play with soil (but not get too dirty!) in a fun experiment!


Earth Science

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


What landforms (rocks, lakes, hills, etc.) exist where you live? How do you think these landforms were created?

The earth is a beautiful place, filled with many different land forms like mountains and canyons.

All of these incredible landforms have been changed over the course of time. Think about the landforms around your home or learning space. A landform is a naturally-occurring formation on Earth's surface.

For example, mountains and hills are landforms. All the landforms around the world have been changed by weathering. In the previous lesson, found under Related Lessons in the right-hand sidebar, you learned all about weathering. Tell your parent or teacher two examples of types of weathering that affect the earth's surface.

Kharaza Arch

Image by Etan J. Tal, via Wikimedia Commons, is licensed under the CC BY 3.0 license.

  • Did you remember that weathering occurs when certain types of weather break down soil and rocks physically?

Great! Some examples of weathering are:

  1. A river flowing through a canyon wears down the sides of the canyon as it flows.
  2. Water seeping into the cracks of rocks and freezing, causing the rock to break.
  3. Glaciers moving across the surface of the earth wear away the surface of the earth.
  4. Wind causing rocks to break apart, and making soil move from one location to another.

Weathering constantly affects the earth around you.

  • Did you know weathering causes Earth's soil and rocks to erode?

Erosionoccurs when rocks and soil are moved to different locations by water, ice, and wind. Any time you think of the word "erosion," picture rocks and soil moving from one place to another. Erosion is all about the movement of rocks and soil.

Árbol de Piedra

Image by El Guanche, via Wikimedia Commons, is licensed under the CC BY 2.0 license.

Take a look at the example below.

  • Can you see where the soil and rock have been moved?
  • What do you think caused the soil and rock to be removed from this area? .

Share your answer with your parent or teacher.

This picture shows erosion caused by moving water. When an area floods and a small stream forms, this stream moves the soil and rocks from one area to another. Once the stream has dried up, a path is left showing where the stream once was. This path will eventually lead to where the soil and rock were deposited.

water erosion

Sand dunes are affected by erosion. When the wind blows sand from one area to another, it creates large piles of sand called "sand dunes." The sand dune you can see standing tall in the back will eventually be transported to another area in the desert through the process of erosion.

sand dunes

Now that you've seen some samples of erosion, before moving on to the Got It? section, tell your parent or teacher what the word "erosion" means.

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