Earth science is an engaging topic, which I find motivates many reluctant readers. Children are fascinated by natural occurrences such as thunderstorms and volcanoes. In past years because of student interest, I have planned units on natural disasters. I began teaching these units only to find that my students lacked the background knowledge necessary to understand the driving forces that fuel the disasters. At that point I would back track and unsuccessfully try to fill in the gaps in their understanding. Upon reflecting on these shortcomings, I realized that I was approaching the unit backwards.
The following curriculum unit is designed for second graders. It is intended to help teachers gain content understanding and pedagogical methods to effectively teach students about matter and motion, as a means of building the background knowledge necessary to understand occurrences in nature. The unit focuses on presenting students with inquiry based science activities and experiments that build schema. The knowledge that the children will gain from these activities will directly support students in understanding the natural disasters and weather occurrences that they find so interesting.