Antarctica: 90 Degrees South Western Reserve Public Media

Lesson Plans

Procedures for Using the Science Lesson Plans


Arctic vs. Antarctic

Food Webs



Cupcake Core Sampling

Wind Chill

Ozone Hole

Plate Tectonics




As glaciers move, they create a variety of patterns on landforms by a process called glacial scour (or scraping).

The student will

  • create a glacier using water and stones;

  • pass the “glacier” over a piece of wood and record the shape of the “glacial grooves”;

  • explain how scrapings and deposits made by glaciers could provide clues to the climate.


Standards Addressed: Benchmarks

Earth Science
Grade 3

3-5 Benchmark

C. Describe Earth’s resources including rocks, soil, water, air, animals and plants and the ways in which they can be conserved.

Earth Systems / Y2003.CSC.S01.G03-05.BC.L03.I03

03. Describe that smaller rocks come from the breakdown of larger rocks through the actions of plants and weather.


Grade 4

3-5 Benchmark

B. Summarize the processes that shape Earth’s surface and describe evidence of those processes.

Processes That Shape Earth / Y2003.CSC.S01.G03-05.BB.L04.I08

08. Describe how wind, water and ice shape and reshape Earth’s land surface by eroding rock and soil in some areas and depositing them in other areas producing characteristic landforms (e.g., dunes, deltas and glacial moraines).


Grade 7

6-8 Benchmark

C. Describe interactions of matter and energy throughout the lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere (e.g., water cycle, weather and pollution).

Earth Systems / Y2003.CSC.S01.G06-08.BC.L07.I08

08. Describe how temperature and precipitation determine climatic zones (biomes) (e.g., desert, grasslands, forests, tundra and alpine).


Grade 8

6-8 Benchmark

E. Describe the processes that contribute to the continuous changing of Earth’s surface (e.g., earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, erosion, mountain building and lithospheric plate movements).

Earth Systems / Y2003.CSC.S01.G06-08.BE.L08.I13

13. Describe how landforms are created through a combination of destructive (e.g., weathering and erosion) and constructive processes (e.g., crustal deformation, volcanic eruptions and deposition of sediment).


Earth Systems / Y2003.CSC.S01.G06-08.BE.L08.I14

14. Explain that folding, faulting and uplifting can rearrange the rock layers so the youngest is not always found on top.




  • Plastic or paper cup

  • Sharp pieces of gravel

  • Water

  • Plastic wrap

  • Tape

  • Paper plate

  • Smooth piece of wood




  1. Review with the students what they have learned about glaciers — how and why they move. (Ice, under great pressure, becomes plastic and flows like a thick liquid.)

  2. Ask students how they think scientists can tell if glaciers have moved over the land. Explain that rocks and gravel freeze. The weight of the glacier causes the bottom of it to be “plastic-like” and gravity pushes it down ridges and crevasses. What would happen to the land over which a glacier travels? What evidence would a glacier leave behind?

  3. Tell the students they’re going to make a glacier. Divide the class into partners or groups of three.

  4. Fill a paper cup with sharp pieces of gravel.

  5. Cover the gravel with about an inch of water.

  6. Tape plastic wrap tightly over the top of the cup.

  7. Flip the cup on to a paper plate, so that the plastic wrap is next to the plate.

  8. Freeze overnight.

  9. When the “glaciers” are frozen solid, have students peel off the plastic wrap and scrape them, gravel end down, over a smooth piece of wood to simulate the action of a glacier. Be sure to only scrape in one direction, because glaciers move in only one direction.

  10. Have students observe the patterns the gravel has made on the wood. How would this compare to patterns made on the land by real glaciers?

  11. Have students sketch their patterns and write a paragraph explaining what they can infer about the way real glaciers affect the landforms over which they move.

  12. Discuss how patterns of glaciations provide clues to the climate in a particular area over time. For example, if evidence of glacial scraping is found in an area that is too warm for glaciers to exist, what can we infer about how the climate in that area has changed over a long period of time?




  • 3 points — sketches carefully and draws accurately; paragraphs clear, complete and error-free

  • 2 points — sketches adequate; paragraphs sufficiently clear, but with some errors

  • 1 point — sketches adequate; paragraphs lacking in clarity with numerous errors

Adapted from a lesson by Frank Weisel, Earth Science Teacher, Tilden Middle School, Rockport, Maryland





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