Draft as of
July, 2009
FOSS Unit Overview

Unit Files

Pebbles, Sand, and Silt Unit Overview


What are earth materials and how do we use them?
How do scientists learn about pebbles, sand, silt and other earth materials?
Why is it important to learn about earth materials?


Students will begin to understand and appreciate that . . .

  • Asking questions about the world helps us learn.
  • Tools help scientists make better observations.
  • Objects can be sorted by properties.
  • Earth materials are useful in different ways.


Students will be able to . . .

  • Ask and answer questions
  • Use simple tools to make observations
  • Make reasonable explanations using observations
  • Separate earth materials by size using different techniques
  • Observe, describe, and sort earth materials based on properties
  • Observe and discuss the similarities and differences in the materials in a river rock mixture
  • Identify places where earth materials are found and ways that earth materials are used
  • Compare the ingredients in different soils
  • Use the vocabulary associated with earth materials


Students will know that. . .

  • Rocks and soils are earth materials.
  • Rocks can be sorted by size, color, and shape.
  • Many building materials come from the earth.
  • A scientist uses many tools when conducting an investigation.

Developing Vocabulary:
Basalt, Collection, Crystal, Different, Dull, Dust, Flat, Geologist, Group, Large, Museum, Pointed, Rock, Rough, Same, Scoria, Small, Smooth, Sort,
Striped, Tuff, Boulder, Clay, Cobble, Dry, Earth material, Gravel, Layer, Mixture, Particle, Pebble, Sand. Screen, Separate, Settle, Shake, Silt, Size, Wet, Asphalt, Bead, Brick, Build, Coarse, Concrete, Fine, Harden, Matrix, Medium, Mortar, Sandpaper, Sculpture, Sidewalk, Texture, Alike, Amount,
Humus, Ingredient, Sample, Soil

ASSESSMENTAlong with on-going student observations and anecdotal notes, the following assessments can be used to form instruction and provide evidence of student understanding:
FOSS Student Sheets, FOSS Checklists, End of Module FOSS Assessment, Student Inquiry Notebook