How Was the Grand Canyon Formed?

3rd - 5th

Students examine the formation of the Grand Canyon focusing on erosion as the process that enabled the rock layers to be formed. They make posters showing what the Grand Canyon looks like now and during its formation.

Resource Details

Instructional Design
Project-Based Learning
2 hrs


Third graders define and recognize the characteristics of erosion based on their reading.  In this erosion reading lesson, 3rd graders prepare a graphic organizer showing various types of erosion.  Students answer comprehension question about erosion related to the book.

Changes in Earth's surface

Fourth graders use sand, clay, and water to try and make the Grand Canyon. In this Earth's surface lesson plan, 4th graders discuss how the use of water when flooded can change the Earth's surface. They explore how it would change the look of sand or clay over time.

Grand Canyon

For this Grand Canyon worksheet, students read a passage on the Grand Canyon and answer short answer questions about it. Students complete 5 short answer questions.

Grand Canyon Suite 

Take a trip to the Grand Canyon! Lesson one explores how Ferde Grofe painted a musical landscape of America when he wrote the Grand Canyon Suite. Learners then examine art that shows the Grand Canyon in lesson two. Finally, lesson three incorporates the music from lesson one in an interpretive dance that retells the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Wow now that's a lot of great ideas!

Layer By Layer

Have your class learn about the formation of the Grand Canyon using this instructional activity. After listening to a variety of stories about the Grand Canyon and erosion, learners complete worksheets related to the geology of this area. What a motivating way to learn about Arizona and this wonder of the world.

The Grand Canyon

Fourth graders study the Grand Canyon. They research the Grand Canyon and locate the Colorado River on the map of Arizona. They discuss erosion and read how sedimentary rock was formed. They view photographs of the Grand Canyon and discuss the layers and the bottom of the canyon. They create posters of one of the layers of the Grand Canyon.

Earth Rocks!

Students study the basic elements of the Earth's crust: rocks, soils and minerals. They categorize rocks, soils and minerals and how they are literally the foundation for our civilization. They also explore how engineers use rock soils for many different purposes.

Weathering and Soil Formation

A set of 27 slides systematically shows how weathering, erosion, and deposition contribute to soil formation. Both chemical and mechanical weathering are described, as are resulting soil layers and properties. There is no longer any need to scour the Earth in search of a pertinent weathering presentation!

Rock Cycle

Third graders identify various types of landforms of the United States. They discuss earth movements that produce geologic structures and landforms and define cycle as it relates to rocks and soil. They demonstrate the processes forming sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous and predict the changes that a rock may undergo in the rock cycle.

Introduction to the Grand Canyon

Students explore the Grand Canyon. They observe pictures of the three canyons and compare the canyons o mountains and plains. Students brainstorm ways how the Grand Canyon might have been created. They draw pictures of the Grand Canyon explaining how it was formed.

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