Volcanic Mountains

Volcanic mountains are formed by magma rising up from the mantle to the crust of the earth.

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A volcano is a rupture in the crust of a planetary mass object, such as Earth, that allows hot lava, volcanic ash, and gases escape from a magma chamber below the surface.

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Earth’s volcanoes occur because its crust is broken into 17 major, rigid tectonic plates that float on a hotter, softer layer in its mantle.

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Therefore, on Earth, volcanoes are generally found where tectonic plates are diverging or converging, and most are found underwater.

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Volcanoes can also form where there is stretching and thinning of the crust’s plates. For this activity, we created volcanoes out of a few materials.

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Using blue gravel, wet sand, baking soda, gravel, and vinegar, we created out very own volcanoes, and then watched them erupt!

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R is for Rock

The tactile experience (touching a letter with your finger) is important for building a memory trace.

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This enables students to acquaint the name of each letter with a visual representation for the letter sound. For a child who is struggling with their letters, the sooner they can integrate the sound of the letter with what it looks like, the sooner their writing contains more meaning for them.

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For this activity, we talked about the letters in the word ROCK, particularly the letter R. Throughout the week, your little one has learned how mountains are made up of rocks, so we focused many of our circle times and writing activities around this word.

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Using clay, and rocks, students composed Rs out of clay and then placed rocks into them.  Upon finishing, we admired the many wonderful Rs that we created!

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Fault Block Mountains

Fault block mountains are distinguished by great sheer rock faces.

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These form when enormous underground pressure forces a whole rock mass to break away from another.

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The line at which this break takes place is called a fault. On one side of this break the rocks rise; on the other side they sink down.

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Some of the most spectacular mountain scenery anywhere are the great rock walls of the Sierra Nevada which are actually the sides of huge tilted fault blocks. The Sierra Nevada are in fact the broken upper edge of a huge plate that tilts down toward the west to nearly five miles below the surface of the Pacific Ocean.

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To help us further understand these magnificent structures, we created our own fault block mountains using artificial grass, styrofoam blocks, and regular blocks.

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The Tree Line

The tree line is the edge of the habitat at which trees are capable of growing. It is found at high elevations and in frigid environments. Beyond the tree line, trees cannot tolerate the environmental conditions (usually cold temperatures or lack of moisture).

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At the tree line, tree growth is often sparse and stunted, with the last trees forming densely matted bushes, known as krummholtz.

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The tree line, like many other natural lines (lake boundaries, for example), appears well-defined from a distance, but upon sufficiently close inspection, it is a gradual transition in most places.

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Trees grow shorter towards the inhospitable climate until they simply stop growing. For this activity, we talked about what a tree line was. We then used dirt, branches, and flour to create the tree line. Lastly, we added animals to our mountains and play with them among our friends!

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Mount Everest

Mount Everest, also known as Sagarmatha or Chomolungma—is the highest mountain on Earth, as measured by the height of its summit above sea level.

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The mountain, which is part of the Himalayan range in High Asia, is located on the border between Nepal and Tibet.

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Its summit was first reached in 1953 by Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay of Nepal.

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Its exact height is debated, but is approximately 29,000 feet above sea level.

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To include this in our week of mountains, we used a few different materials to create this magnificent mountain.

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Using ice, dirt, and insta-snow, we enjoyed seeing who could make the tallest mountain among our friends!

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Mountains and Trees

Creative art activities can help children in all areas of development. The first of these involve your little one’s large and small muscle development, as well as their eye-hand coordination.

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Using crayons, markers, and paint brushes helps children practice the fine motor control they will need for writing later on. The second, involves social development.

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When children work together in the art area, they learn to share, to interact with others, to be responsible for cleanup, and to put materials away.

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These are positive and important changes for social learning. The third domain includes cognitive development.

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Young children can learn the names of colors and shapes through creative art activities.

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They find out what happens when they mix various shapes together to get a final product.

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For this creative art activity, we used brown paint, cup holders, toothpicks, tree cut-outs and our thinking minds to create our very own alpine forest!

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Mountain Climbing

People have climbed mountains for the whole of human history, and they have done so for a variety of reasons—spiritual, strategic, prospecting and hunting, surveying, and probably simple curiosity.

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Mountains were climbed in ancient and classical times, and even before recorded history.

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Mountain climbing, often called “mountaineering” and sometimes “Alpinism,” is the activity of attempting to reach the summits of mountains.

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The activity is distinguished from hiking or backpacking by the difficulty of the ascent. For this activity, we used a little bit of engineering to demonstrate the process of “rappelling”.

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Rappelling involves descending a rock face or other near-vertical surface by using a doubled rope coiled around the body and fixed at a higher point.

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Using yarn, beads, pictures of mountain climbers and some engineering, we enjoyed watching our mountain climbers rise and fall with our arm motions!

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