Lesson Plan

Landscapes: Past, Present, and Future

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Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Lesson Duration:
60 Minutes
State Standards:
Utah Core Curriculum
Fifth Grade Science
Standard 2: Objective 1, Objective 2, Objective 3


Activities in this guide focus on the relationship between long-term geologic processes and changes on the Earth's surface that have happened in the past, that are still occurring today, and will continue to occur in the future.


This guide contains background information about how geologic processes and changes over millions of years continually shape the landscape, and directions for three activities that will help students better understand how these processes are still at work in Utah. This guide is specifically designed for fifth grade classrooms, but the activities can be modified for students at other levels.


  • Download and review Landscapes: Past, Present, and Future Activity Guide
  • Download and review activity materials
  • Gather images, maps, drawing materials, and computers as necessary


Landscapes: Past, Present, and Future Activity Guide

Download Landscapes: Past, Present, and Future Activity Guide

Landscapes: Past Activity Materials

Download Landscapes: Past

Landscapes: Present Activity Materials

Download Landscapes: Present

Lesson Hook/Preview

Zion National Park is located along the edge of a region called the Colorado Plateau. Uplift, tilting, and the erosion of rock layers formed a feature called the Grand Staircase, a series of colorful cliffs stretching between Bryce Canyon, Zion, and the Grand Canyon.

Zion has spectacular geology. The arid climate and sparse vegetation expose bare rock and reveal the park’s geologic history. Evidence of deposition (sedimentation), lithification, uplift, weathering, erosion, tectonics, and volcanic activity make the park a showcase for changing landscapes.


Follow suggested procedures within the activity guide.


Glossary provided in activity guide.

Related Lessons or Education Materials

Weathering, Erosion, and Change

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Last updated: March 30, 2016