Outline of unit

During this unit, students are engaged in the subject of geology by being introduced to the character Professor Ruby Stone, a geologist who shares with the students her passion for studying and collecting rocks and gemstones.

Students explore and examine geological processes and phenomena and how these change the Earth’s surface over time. Students are introduced to rock types and the rock cycle, in order to understand how rocks weather and erode. Students examine rocks and soil types and identify these in their local or school environment in order to assist in their understanding of how rocks change over long periods of time.

In order to consolidate their understanding of the Earth’s surface, rocks and soils, students study types of weathering and how these affect landforms. Students also explore the cause and effect relationships of weathering and erosion on landforms. Students apply this knowledge to conduct an investigation into how water affects landscapes and then consider ways that erosion can be minimised. Students discuss and consider how human activity influences changes to the Earth’s surface. Students explore erosion in their school grounds and suggest strategies to minimise or mitigate erosion.

Students examine a case study of Uluru, investigating how weathering, erosion and human activity have affected its surface. Students also explore how the human activity at Uluru has affected and is addressed by the local Indigenous peoples – the Anangu people. Students apply their knowledge and understanding of these learning experiences in order to research a local or significant landform, examining how weathering, erosion and human activity has affected their chosen landform over time and present their findings.


Australian Curriculum content descriptions

Science Understanding

Earth and space sciences

Earth’s surface changes over time as a result of natural processes and human activity (ACSSU075

Science as a Human Endeavour

Nature and development of science

Science involves making predictions and describing patterns and relationships (ACSHE061

Science knowledge helps people to understand the effects of their actions (ACSHE062

Science Inquiry Skills

Questioning and predicting

With guidance, identify questions in familiar contexts that can be investigated scientifically and predict what might happen based on prior knowledge (ACSIS064

Planning and conducting

Suggest ways to plan and conduct investigations to find answers to questions (ACSIS065

Safely use appropriate materials, tools or equipment to make and record observations, using formal measurements and digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS066

Processing and analysing data and information Use a range of methods including tables and simple column graphs to represent data and to identify patterns and trends (ACSIS068


Represent and communicate ideas and findings in a variety of ways such as diagrams, physical representations and simple reports (ACSIS071

Source: Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). 

Achievement standard

This lesson sequence provides opportunities to gather information about students’ understanding related to the sections in bold in the achievement statement below:

By the end of Year 4, students apply the observable properties of materials to explain how objects and materials can be used. They use contact and non-contact forces to describe interactions between objects. They discuss how natural and human processes cause changes to the Earth’s surface. They describe relationships that assist the survival of living things and sequence key stages in the life cycle of a plant or animal. They identify when science is used to ask questions and make predictions. They describe situations where science understanding can influence their own and other’s actions.
Students follow instructions to identify investigable questions about familiar contexts and predict likely outcomes from investigations. They discuss ways to conduct investigations and safely use equipment to make and record observations. They use provided tables and simple column graphs to organise their data and identify patterns in data. Students suggest explanations for observations and compare their findings with their predictions. They suggest reasons why their methods were fair or not. They complete simple reports to communicate their methods and findings.

Source: Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).

Wind erosion, loonyowl, CC BY-NC 2.0; Water weathering, © Shelley Murphy; Glacial moraines above Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada, Wilson44691, Public domain.

Additional information for teachers


Background information (PDF, 432 KB)

Safety advice (PDF, 375 KB)

Materials and equipment (PDF, 432 KB)