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Fourth Grade Science

Shaping Earth Study Guide

Fourth Grade

Landforms – natural features on Earth’s surface.

Mountains – tallest and most visible landform.

Plain – flattest kind of landform.

Below Earth’s Surface:

  • Crust – solid rock that makes up Earth’s outermost layer; thin, brittle, and can crack easily.
  • Mantle – layer of rock below the crust; solid but can move or change shape at high pressures and temperatures.
  • Outer core – liquid layer below the mantle; made mostly of melted iron.
  • Inner core – sphere of solid material at Earth’s center; hottest part of Earth.

Fault – a long, narrow crack in the Earth’s crust that is caused when plates rub past each other.

Fold – a bend in rock layers.

How do mountains form? – Form from folding or faulting caused by pressure in Earth’s crust.

Earthquake – a sudden shaking of Earth’s crust.

What causes an earthquake? – Caused by plates sliding against each other and building up energy.

Earthquake safety:

  • Inside – duck under a table or stand in a doorway; stay away from walls and windows.
  • Outside – stay away from trees and power lines.

Seismic waves – vibrations caused by earthquakes.

Seismograph – an instrument that detects and records earthquakes.

Volcano – a mountain that builds up around an opening in Earth’s crust.

Magma – melted rock from a volcanic eruption.

Lava – magma that reaches Earth’s surface.

Weathering – the slow process that breaks rocks down into smaller pieces. Caused by flowing water, rain, and wind.

Factors that affect weathering: angle of the slope on a hill, amount of trees and plants, speed of the wind, speed and amount of flowing water.

Physical weathering – process where rocks change size and shape without changing their chemical makeup. (Alka-Seltzer hit by a hammer)

Chemical Weathering – process that changes the minerals that make up rocks; minerals change into new substances. (Alka-Seltzer dropped into water)

Erosion – the transport of weathered rock from one location to another by water, ice, or wind. Caused by flowing water, waves, wind, gravity, and glaciers.

Deposition – the dropping off of weathered rock in another location.

Events that cause the Earth’s surface to change quickly:

  • Floods
  • Fires
  • Tornadoes
  • Hurricanes

Landslide – the sudden downhill movement of rock and soil in large amounts.

Avalanche – the sudden downhill movement of ice and snow.

**Students should have numerous diagrams, foldables, and notes in their science notebooks that will provide all of the resources necessary to prepare for this test.