Three Types of Weathering: Environmental Webquest for Elementary Students

Weathering as a topic is often explored as part of a larger environmental theme. Soil erosion, changes in topography and other effects of weathering may impact natural resources. Human activities such as farming can have an effect on weathering and erosion causing environmental changes worldwide. Students will use this weathering webquest to learn about the three basic types of weathering: mechanical, chemical and biological.


Congratulations! EnviroCon is coming to your town. This international convention gathers people from around the world who are interested in the environment and how human choices cause changes. Subjects that will be covered include global-warming, recycling, rain forest decline, air pollution and weathering impacts. Your class has been asked to create a presentation on weathering that will be used to start a panel discussion.

Weathering Webquest Questions

Students can be divided into groups of 3 or 4 before beginning. Each group will create a presentation and give it to the class. The best presentation will be used at the convention. Each presentation should provide a general background of the three types of weathering and suggest methods available to help reduce human impacts. Specific examples should be used whenever possible.

The presentation should include details of how each type of weathering occurs, specific examples of that weathering process and how people can change their impact. Students may want to focus on the weathering effects most prevalent in their local area. For example, those living in the Midwest may focus on soil erosion while coastal students may want to focus on the impact of salt. Each presentation should answer the following basic questions:

  1. What is mechanical weathering?
  2. Name one specific example.
  3. How can people influence mechanical weathering?
  4. What is chemical weathering?
  5. Name one specific example.
  6. How can people influence chemical weathering?
  7. What is biological weathering?
  8. Name one specific example.
  9. How can people influence biological weathering?

The presentation can be in PowerPoint, posters or any other media available to students. These websites may be helpful for basic information:


Students will be evaluated on a 4-point scale.

1 – Presentation is incomplete; only one or two types of weathering are included. No specific examples included. No additional information on human impacts.

2 – Presentation is incomplete, two or three types of weathering are included. Only two or three specific examples are included. No additional information on human impacts

3 – Presentation is complete. Only one example for each type of weathering is included. Minimal information on human impacts is included.

4 – Presentation is complete. More than one example is included for at least one of the types of weathering. Detailed information on human impacts for all three weathering types is included.

This webquest on weathering will provide general knowledge to students and encourages them to think about how their actions impact the world around them. Students interested in more information should contact a local university or environmental agency.