Understanding Connecticut's Landscape
Glacial "pothole"
Basalt cooling columns visible at East Rock Park
Basalt cooling columns at East Rock Park
Evidence of weathering at Savin Rock

Using museum specimens, exhibits and activities, Landforms: Evidence of a Changing Earth brings the concept of a dynamic Earth to life.  This program will explore constructive and destructive geologic forces and the evidence of these activities in Connecticut.  Topics covered include tectonic movement, volcanism, sedimentation, glaciation, erosion and weathering.  Current research being conducted by Yale University's Department of Geology and Geophysics will be presented.


Grade Level: Middle and High School

Core Science Curriculum Framework Standard: 7.3; Dynamic Earth Processes


NGSS Standard MS-ESS2: Earth's Systems

  • MS-ESS1-4: Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence from rock strata for how the geologic time scale is used to organize Earth's 4.6-billion-year-old history.
  • MS-ESS2-1: Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth's materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.
  • MS-ESS2-2: Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth's surface at varying time and spatial scales.
  • MS-ESS2-3: Analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to provide evidence of the past plate motions.


NGSS Standard HS-ESS2: Earth’s Systems

  • HS-ESS2-1: Develop a model to illustrate how Earth’s internal and surface processes operate at different spatial and temporal scales to form continental and ocean-floor features.
  • HS-ESS2-3: Develop a model based on evidence of Earth’s interior to describe the cycling of matter by thermal convection.


Science and Engineering Practices:

  • Analyzing and Interpreting Data

  • Engaging in Argument from Evidence

  • Developing and Using Models


Disciplinary Core Ideas:

  • ESS1.C: The History of Planet Earth

  • ESS2.A: Earth Materials and Systems

  • ESS2.B: Plate Tectonics and Large-Scale System Interactions


Crosscutting Concepts:

  • Cause and Effect

  • Energy and Matter

  • Structure and Function

  • Stability and Change

Photo/Image (left): A relic of the last North American Ice Age glacier that covered Connecticut about 20,000 years ago, this pothole - a scoured out circular cavity formed by turbulent floodwaters laden with sand and pebbles that attack the bedrock  - was found in Fair Haven Heights in New Haven in the 1890s. (Yale Peabody Museum Archives)


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