Reader JF contacted me asking for help with their son’s assignment:

Hi, my son is in year 4 and has been given an assignment on “weathering and erosion at a landform in your local area”. If he could get some information and give a good talk it would be the boost for his confidence that he desparately needs. I am doing my best but have not a clue where to start. If you could point me in the right direction I would be so appreciative. [Email edited to maintain privacy.]

This assignment comes out of the new National Curriculum being implemented in schools across Australia.

Science / Year 4 / Science Understanding / Earth and space sciences
Earth’s surface changes over time as a result of natural processes and human activity

Elaborations include:

  • collecting evidence of change from local landforms, rocks or fossils
  • exploring a local area that has changed as a result of natural processes, such as an eroded gully, sand dunes or river banks
  • considering the effect of events such as floods and extreme weather on the landscape, both in Australia and in the Asia region

This curriculum point seems harmless enough but it has profound religious implications. Depending on how it is handled, it has the potential to exploit the young child’s lack of knowledge and critical-thinking ability, and influence their attitude against biblical Christianity.

The processes of weathering and erosion can be studied in the landscape today and these processes impact our environment with gullies and sandunes and river banks.

But how do we extend these processes into the past? There are two philosophical approaches, both with religious implications….

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