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FOSS Earth History Investigation 2: Into the Grand Canyon (4 days)
Big Idea
Making observations can stimulate questions to answer through scientific discovery and research.
Essential Questions
How can you describe John Wesley Powell based on evidence from the video and journal?
What features can you observe of the Grand Canyon and the rock samples?
What questions do you have based upon your observations?
How can we categorize the questions to be answered throughout our unit of study?

Formulate questions based on observations that lead to the development of a hypothesis.
Formulate new questions based on the results of a previous investigation.
Analyze environmental risks (e.g., pollution, destruction of habitat) caused by human interaction with biological or geological systems.
Keep a record of observations, notes, sketches, questions, and ideas using tools such as written and/or computer logs.
Identify how diverse people and/or cultures, past and present, have made important contributions to scientific innovations (e.g., Rachel Carson [scientist], supports Strand 4; Luis Alvarez [scientist] and Walter Alvarez [scientist], support Strand 6; Percival Lowell [scientist], supports Strand 6; Copernicus [scientist], supports Strand 6).
Analyze environmental benefits of the following human interactions with biological or geological systems
  • reforestation
  • habitat restoration
  • construction of dams
WHST.7: Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration. Generate questions Make observations and inferences using photographs, rock samples, video, and primary sources.
Science & Engineering Practices
Asking Questions: students work together to create questions regarding the Grand Canyon
Content/Core Ideas
  • John Wesley Powell was the first investigator to explore the Grand Canyon by river.
  • The Grand Canyon's history involves both natural phenomena and human interactions.
Learning Practices
CC:7.R.1 Read primary source document-John Wesley Powell's journal
CC:7.SL.1  students work in groups to come up with appropriate questions regarding the Grand Canyon
notes on Powell expedition
Grand Canyon Field Trip Guide
Grand Canyon Questions