5. Transformations

Crashing waves

What happens to a pile of shells if we crush them into hundreds of tiny pieces? Does the weight change? What about a ball of clay? If we mold it into the shape of a dragon, does the volume change?

These are not idle questions. In fact, earth materials are changing all the time, subject to such forces as wind, water, gravity, tectonic movements, chemical reactions, and human activity. As they undergo transformations, some things change and others remain the same. In this final set of investigations, students consider the effects of certain physical transformations on weight, volume, color, shape, size, and other properties of earth materials.

As they make their way through the investigations, students continue to distinguish properties of objects from properties of materials. They also strengthen their developing understanding of conditions under which mass, weight, volume, and other properties are conserved or changed. In the concluding investigation, students return to the question they began with — "What's underfoot?" — to create a new story of a place on Earth’s surface.


The Child and the Scientist

Concept Cartoon

Darwin from the Concept Cartoons

The Additive Property Concept Cartoon is typically used after Investigation 5.1 What happens to shells when we crush them?.