Preparation time: hours and hours. Baking time: two hours.
Note: Recipe has various stages of development.
- Maine Master Naturalist Sarah Otterson and her team of three volunteers
- Ms. B, grade 2 teacher
- 19 interested and interesting second graders
- Pond by Jim LaMarche
- string, clothes pins and towels
- school nature trail
- recycled containers
- air, sand, dirt, rocks, boulders, warm water, found materials
- surprise ingredient
Directions: Part 1
At 1 pm, meet the students and listen to an introduction to the landforms/erosion “field trip.”
Break the students into four pre-assigned groups.
After donning coats, hats, and mittens, head outside.
Discover a book strung throughout the woods.
Stop to read it and wonder about the action as well as the illustrations.
While walking, pay attention to the lay of the land. Use hands and arms when appropriate to mimic mini ravines, hills, etc.
Repeat above action when the landforms appear in the illustrations.
Directions: Part 2
Once everyone has finished reading the story, gather by the large boulder in the school yard and review some of the story action. Again, use hands to mimic landforms, including weaving fingers together to form a dam, which was the key ingredient to form the pond in the story.
Recall that the characters exclaimed about running up a mountain by placing hands high over head. But really, they were on a hill as demonstrated by the student with the green soles.
Directions: Part 3
Introduce the concept of a model as a three-dimensional representation of something, but on a much smaller scale.
Ask for examples of models the students have made or seen.
Using recycled containers, add sand and then water to create a model of a mountain.
Once the two mix, gently tip the mixing container onto a cover.
With care, set both down on the frozen ground.
A mini mountain is born.
Pour rain (warm water) through clouds (wiggling fingers) to create a weathering situation.
Watch the mountain change as the water strikes it.
Slowly it “melts.”
Directions: Part 4
Review words to the erosion song the students have learned and show off various components that create a mountain.
Have student pour top soil into container.
Add to it some seeds from hemlock and pine cones. Use the moment as a teachable one to note the differences between the two types of cones. (Not all cones are pinecones since they don’t all grow on pine trees.)
Stir in a crushed leaf, acorn, and the surprise ingredient.
Give many students an opportunity to add rocks to the mixture.
And then pour in a couple of bigger boulders.
Top off with a pinch of sand.
Pour in some water.
Replace a big boulder with a slightly smaller one.
Again, add some more water until mixture is moist.
Flip structure onto cover.
Give it a tap for good measure.
Ask the kids to share their thoughts.
And then, ever . . .
so . . .
slowly . . .
lift . . .
Smile as everyone exclaims.
A mountain is born.
Let students move in to admire (and covet the surprise ingredient).
And then . . . watch it rain again.
And the mountain quickly erode.
Two hours from start to finish: the final product.
Despite the mud and rocks and leaves and acorn and cones, I think the students would have fought over the coveted ingredient: gummy worms. Every mountain should have gummy worms.
Notes written in cookbook margin: Thanks to Sarah for letting me be a part of her lesson for Ms. B’s Forest Friday. I was blown away by the kids knowledge both as I walked the trail with my group of four and as a larger group. I was also blown away by Sarah’s demonstration. She’s one of my favorite role models when it comes to elementary environmental education.