• Introduction to Science
    Students gather information and draw conclusions using quantitative and qualitative observations.
    Learning outcomes include:
    • designing scientific investigations (observing, describing, and comparing; collecting samples; seeking more information, conducting a controlled experiment; discovering new objects or phenomena; making models)
    • designing a simple controlled experiment and choosing an appropriate number of trials
    • identifying independent variables (manipulated), dependent variables (responding), and constants in a simple controlled experiment
    • recording observations and measurements (lab notes, digital media) to help assess the explanation
    • using appropriate safety procedures
    • conducting a scientific investigation
    • collecting quantitative and qualitative data
    • performing analysis (extrapolation and interpolation) and creating appropriate graphs from their data
    • determining the density of liquids, and regular and irregular-shaped solids
    • determining the volume of a regular and irregular-shaped solid, using water displacement
    • using all of the above to generate a lab report
    • generating and interpreting field maps including topographic
    Earth's Ingredients (Elements to Rocks)
    This unit is designed to take students from the unseen to the visible.
    Learning outcomes include:
    • observing and describing properties of materials, such as density, conductivity, and solubility
    • distinguishing between chemical and physical changes
    • developing models to explain common chemical reactions and changes in states of matter
    • observing and describing energy changes as related to chemical reactions
    • understanding that rocks are composed of minerals
    • identifying minerals on the basis of physical properties such as streak, hardness, and reaction to acid
    • classifying rocks according to their method of formation
    • understanding that the rock cycle model shows how rock material may be transformed from one type of rock to another
    • appreciating that more than 100 elements combine in a multitude of ways to produce compounds that account for all living and nonliving substances
    Geologic Resources and History
    Students explore Earth's history through the record in the rocks.
    Learning outcomes include:
    • understanding that many thousands of layers of sedimentary rock provide evidence for the long history of Earth and the changing life forms whose remains are found in the rocks
    • understanding that continents fit together like puzzle parts, and that fossil correlations provided initial evidence that continents were once together
    • understanding that fossil fuels contain stored solar energy and are considered nonrenewable resources
    • identifying solar energy, wind, moving water, and biomass as some examples of renewable energy resources
    • designing solutions to real-world problems related to home, school, and community using scientific experiments to inform the solution, and applying mathematical concepts and reasoning to assist in developing a solution
    Shaping the Land
    An investigation focusing on surface processes.
    Learning outcomes include:
    • explaining how atmosphere (air), hydrosphere (water), and lithosphere (land) interact, evolve, and change and how the dynamic processes that wear away Earth's surface include weathering and erosion.
    • understanding that the process of weathering breaks down rocks to form sediment
    Shaping the Earth
    An investigation focusing on the sub-surface processes.
    Learning outcomes include:
    • understanding that heat flow and movement of material within Earth cause sections of Earth's crust to move, which may result in earthquakes, volcanic eruption, and the creation of mountains and ocean basins
    • analyzing earthquake wave data (vibrational disturbances) and concluding that there are layers within Earth
    • comparing the properties of the crust, mantle, outer core, and inner core
    • understanding that folded, tilted, faulted, and displaced rock layers suggest past crustal movement
    • understanding that the Theory of Plate Tectonics explains how the seemingly solid lithosphere consists of a series of plates that “float” on the partially molten section of the mantle, and that convection cells within the mantle may be the driving force for the movement of the plates
    • understanding that plates may collide, move apart, or slide past each other, and that most volcanic activity and mountain building occur at the boundaries of these plates, often resulting in earthquakes
    Meteorology and Oceans
    Students study the relationship between the atmosphere and hydrosphere.
    Learning outcomes include:
    • describing atmospheric conditions at a given location for a short period of time
    • understanding that climate is the characteristic weather that prevails from season to season and year to year, and that the uneven heating of Earth's surface is the cause of weather
    • discovering that air masses form when air remains nearly stationary over a large section of Earth's surface and take on the conditions of temperature and humidity from that location
    • understanding that weather conditions at a location are determined primarily by temperature, humidity, and pressure of air masses over that location
    • predicting local weather condition changes caused by movement of air masses, and understanding that movement of air masses is determined by prevailing winds and upper air currents
    • understanding that fronts are boundaries between air masses, and that precipitation is likely to occur at these boundaries
    • understanding that high-pressure systems generally bring fair weather, and low-pressure systems usually bring cloudy, unstable conditions
    • describing hazardous weather conditions such as thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, ice storms, and blizzards
    • identifying substances that enter the atmosphere naturally and from human activity, including dust from volcanic eruptions and greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and water vapor, and understand that these substances can affect weather, climate, and living things
    • graphing and predicting that as altitude increases, air pressure decreases
    • understanding that most of the lithosphere is covered by a relatively thin layer of water called the hydrosphere
    • evaluating and following how water circulates through the atmosphere, lithosphere, and hydrosphere in what is known as the water cycle
    Students will extend their study outside of Earth to the Earth/Sun/Moon System.
    Learning outcomes include:
    • explaining daily, monthly, and seasonal changes on Earth
    • describing different patterns of motion of celestial and tidal objects
    • creating models, drawings, or demonstrations describing the arrangement, interaction, and movement of the Earth, Moon, and Sun
    • describing current models related to the formation of the universe