Earth's Changing Surface

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SciPacks are self-directed online learning experiences for teachers to enhance their understanding of a particular scientific concept and its related pedagogical implications for student learning. Unlimited expert content help via email and a final assessment both facilitate and document teacher learning.

The Earth’s Changing Surface SciPack explores how Earth’s ever-changing surface is due to continuous natural processes such as tectonic activity, earthquakes, volcanic activities, weathering and erosion, and sedimentation and the reformation of rock. The focus is on topics supporting Standards and Benchmarks related to how and why these processes occur, and how elements cycle through the land, oceans, and atmosphere as a result of these processes. This SciPack looks at Earth as a system that exists in dynamic equilibrium.

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Reviews (22)
  • on Fri Nov 30, 2018 1:25 PM

I really enjoyed completing this SciPack. I was doing a unit on plate tectonics, so this information was very relevant. From this information I was able to reteach myself some of the components about our Earth.

Adrian R
Adrian R

  • on Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:05 AM

I've taught 5th grade science for 11 years, so we always touch on changes to Earth's surface in my class. My students always have deeper questions that I'd love to be able to explore in more detail, but I haven't always had the answers for them or ways to explore their questions. This SciPack helped me brush up on my understanding of this huge topic and gave me insight into how I might be able to answer their questions and reminded me of high school concepts I haven't thought about in years.

Valerie Lord  (Katy, TX)
Valerie Lord (Katy, TX)

  • on Thu Oct 30, 2014 8:53 PM

This Sci-pack was a great review of weathering, erosion, and components of Geology. I loved how this resource gave ideas on how to relate these topics to relevant issues that my students would be very interested in.

Chris Taylor  (Boise, ID)
Chris Taylor (Boise, ID)

  • on Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:25 PM

The structure of the SciPacks really help me understand the underlying concepts that surround each topic. Initially, I was unsure of how well I'd grasp scientific concepts in a self-paced, online format, but the carefully sequenced topics, interactive activities and simulations, in addition to the voice-over explanations work well together to help deepen my understanding in the content area. Especially valuable are the pedagogical implications and common student misconceptions. I feel a lot more knowledgeable about a subject after using a SciPack, and I highly recommend the Earth's Changing Surface SciPack to anyone needing to learn more about scientific topics!

Naomi Beverly  (Marietta, GA)
Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA)

  • on Wed Jul 23, 2014 7:54 PM

I used this to help review for the Praxis II test. The SciPack provides a straight forward explanation related to the events that change the Earth's surface, whether fast or slow change.

Susan German  (Hallsville, MO)
Susan German (Hallsville, MO)

  • on Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:08 PM

I used this resource a lot in my middle school Earth Science Class and also as a C-DEBI asset during ALI'I with great results!

James Johnson  (Custer City, PA)
James Johnson (Custer City, PA)

  • on Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:35 AM

As a fourth grade teacher, this Sci Pack helped to deepen my own personal knowledge of many of the concepts we are required to teach students in Science. I loved the ability to refresh my memory on some topics and gain new knowledge on others. I think this knowledge will help me become more comfortable in explaining topics and clarifying misconceptions that the students may have.

Michelle Franko
Michelle Franko

  • on Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:02 PM

This document covers a variety of different information covering before during and up to everything around plate tectonics. It is a great resource to use as much as you need to for covering your content. I like how the info is set up especially for middle school science

Brandon  (Modesto, CA)
Brandon (Modesto, CA)

  • on Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:02 PM

This document covers a variety of different information covering before during and up to everything around plate tectonics. It is a great resource to use as much as you need to for covering your content. I like how the info is set up especially for middle school science

Brandon R  (Modesto, CA)
Brandon R (Modesto, CA)

  • on Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:01 PM

This document covers a variety of different information covering before during and up to everything around plate tectonics. It is a great resource to use as much as you need to for covering your content. I like how the info is set up especially for middle school science

Brandon R  (Modesto, CA)
Brandon R (Modesto, CA)

  • on Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:17 PM

This SciPack offers a brief yet comprehensive overview of plate tectonics as well as different types of weathering and erosion processes, both natural and human influenced. The text is a great resource for review of familiar content. There are some inconsistencies in the quizzes and the final assessment questions that inaccurately portray concepts from the text with either poorly worded questions/answers, unreadable graphs, and information that is not communicated in the text itself. With that said, this SciPack is mostly well organized and easy to read. I would recommend this as a brief refresher if you already feel mildly confident with the subject matter.


  • on Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:10 PM

I enjoyed the modules, and how it had the option to play the audio on each web page. I also liked the review questions at the end of each section. The only thing that was a problem for me were the videos on the pages, I could not get any of them to work. Overall, it was a great review for me. Thanks!

Megan Garwood
Megan Garwood

  • on Wed May 03, 2017 1:50 AM

The SciPak was a great learning tool to review on some Geology I had not went over in quite some time.

Rosalinda  (Palestine, TX)
Rosalinda (Palestine, TX)

  • on Sun Nov 04, 2012 5:15 PM

Earth Science is not my favorite topic, but this SciPack broke the subject down quite well and presented it in a way that was engaging and easy to follow.

Rebecca F  (Elizabeth, WV)
Rebecca F (Elizabeth, WV)

  • on Sat Sep 01, 2012 6:39 PM

The progression through the material had an easy flow. I really appreciated the diagrams and interactives throughout the descriptions. There was also a lot of interesting questions that were posed in the beginning that I could use in my own classroom.

Nathan Steier  (Billings, MT)
Nathan Steier (Billings, MT)

  • on Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:04 AM

I felt like there was a lot of overlap between this SciPack and some of the others, with the others expanding more on the different sections in this. In that sense, this SciPack could be an introduction to the others. I'm thinking specifically of the Plate Tectonics and the Resources SciPacks That said, there is a lot of unique material in this SciPack--I don't think chemical weathering is covered anywhere else, so the SciPack is worth the time.

Eric Carlson  (Royal City, WA)
Eric Carlson (Royal City, WA)

  • on Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:59 PM

I believe that this Sci Pack took me the longest to get through. I teach most of this material, which made it very relevant to me, but the way the material was presented was dry in a lot of areas. However, if you can get used to the "lecture style" of this Sci pack, you will come out of it knowing SO MUCH about the Earth and how it changes. I will definitely be using most of this information in the coming weeks of my teaching!

Brandy Stewart
Brandy Stewart

  • on Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:59 AM

I found this SciPack to be informative as a refresher. The content isn't anything that I did not already have knowledge of. However, the assessment put a lot of emphasis on boundaries and the land formations that can be caused from them while the training did not. I am not sure of the significance of the depth for this SciPack. I would have liked to have seen a more direct correlation between content and assessment.

Darlene Honaker  (Georgetown, Indiana)
Darlene Honaker (Georgetown, Indiana)

  • on Thu Dec 13, 2018 1:47 PM

The information contained in this Scipack was somewhat useful. I found it very time consuming and the information was very repetitive. The assessment was much harder than I expected and had way too many "check all the apply" questions. The reason I say this is because you don't even get partial credit for these, which is a little rough.


  • on Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:07 PM

I went completely through this Scipack twice, only to fail the test twice. It took three attempts to pass this test because several test questions had multiple correct choices and, missing even one choice, counted the entire question wrong. It would also help to be able to see exactly which questions were answered incorrectly so it would be possible to see where mistakes were made and why without having to review and entire section. Sorry I chose this Scipack out of so many other options. It cost me HOURS of time that I can ill afford this summer!

Bev Leeper
Bev Leeper

  • on Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:12 PM

As another teacher pointed out, there were a lot of typos in the material. It had not been edited as thoroughly as many of the other SciPacks. The audio program often didn't conform to the written text. Rough around the edges and redundant with some other Scipacks in the Earth & Space area. The final assessment, again, lacked consistancy in that some questions were superficial and others were trick questions having little value in measuring comprehension and mastery of the subject matter. The graph of the temperature gradiant and the melting rock/magma was a waste of time. Some of the pictures in the final were not clear enough to really determine what they were supposed to represent. Rather than lifting a poor picture from the SciPack exercise how about lifting a good picture. If you're going to cut and paste at least pick a picture that is a good example of something. Liked the SciPack but found the final test odious. This SciPack needs a lot of polishing. Diamond in the rough, for sure!

James Johnson  (Custer City, PA)
James Johnson (Custer City, PA)

  • on Sat Oct 15, 2011 10:39 PM

There were several places throughout the SciPack where there were uncorrected typos. Also, in the section comparing the Colorado and Mississippi rivers the article stated that both rivers have been important to humans since the colonization of North America. This is incorrect. It should have said since the migration of humans to these areas of North America. Finally, in several instances the quiz told me that I was incorrect in an answer when I used a a synonym for the word the quiz identified as correct such as decreased instead of slowed down. Also, I was told I was incorrect when identifying specific regions on pictures even though I clicked on the right area because the link area was too small.

Danielle Jones
Danielle Jones

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