Elementary school curriculum
Middle school curriculum
High school curriculum
Middle school curriculum
- Students will make inferences and predictions related to changes in the Earth’s surface or atmosphere based on data/evidence.
The Earth’s processes we see today, including erosion, movement of lithospheric plates and changes in atmospheric composition, are predictable and similar to those that occurred in the past. Analysis of evidence from Earth’s history substantiates the conclusion that the planet has also been influenced by occasional catastrophes such as the impact of an asteroid or comet.
- Students will describe various techniques for estimating geological time (radioactive dating, observing rock sequences, comparing fossils).
Techniques used to estimate geological time include using radioactive dating, observing rock sequences and comparing fossils to correlate the rock sequences at various locations. Deductions can be made based on available data and observation of models as to the age of rocks/fossils.
- Students will explain cause and effect relationships in the Rock cycle.
Materials found in the lithosphere and mantle are changed in a continuous process called the rock cycle, which can be investigated using a variety of models.
- Students will explain the layers of the Earth and their interactions.
The use of models/diagrams/graphs helps illustrate that the Earth is layered. The lithosphere is the thin crust and the upper part of the mantle. Lithospheric plates move slowly in response to movements in the mantle. There is a dense core at the center of the Earth.
- Students will understand that earthquakes and volcanic eruptions can be observed on a human time scale, but many processes, such as mountain building and plate movements, take place over hundreds of millions of years.
- Students will compare constructive and destructive forces on Earth in order to make predictions about the nature of landforms.
Landforms are a result of a combination of constructive and destructive forces. Collection and analysis of data indicates that constructive forces include crustal deformation, faulting, volcanic eruption and deposition of sediment, while destructive forces include weathering and erosion.
- Students will explain that biological change over time accounts for the diversity of species developed through gradual processes over many generations.
Biological adaptations include changes in structures, behaviors, or physiology that enhance survival and reproductive success in a particular environment.
- Students will describe the usefulness of fossil information to make conclusions about past life forms and environmental conditions;
explain the cause and effect relationship of the extinction of a species and environmental changes.
Extinction of species is common and occurs when the adaptive characteristics of a species are insufficient to allow its survival. Most of the species that have lived on Earth no longer exist. Fossils provide evidence of how environmental conditions and life have changed.
- Students will draw conclusions and make inferences about the consequences of change over time that can account for the similarities among diverse species.
The consequences of change over time provide a scientific explanation for the fossil record of ancient life forms and for the striking molecular similarities observed among the diverse species of living organisms.
- Students will describe the consequences of change in one or more abiotic factors on a population within an ecosystem.
The number of organisms an ecosystem can support depends on the resources available and abiotic factors (e.g., quantity of light and water, range of temperatures, soil composition).
- Students will compare abiotic and biotic factors in an ecosystem in order to explain consequences of change in one or more factors.
The number of organisms an ecosystem can support depends on the resources available and abiotic factors (e.g., quantity of light and water, range of temperatures, soil composition). Given adequate biotic and abiotic resources and no diseases or predators, populations (including humans) increase at rapid rates. Lack of resources and other factors, such as predation and climate, limit the growth of populations in specific niches in the ecosystem.
- Students will describe the interrelationships and interdependencies within an ecosystem and predict the effects of change on one or more components within an ecosystem.
Organisms both cooperate and compete in ecosystems. Often changes in one component of an ecosystem will have effects on the entire system that are difficult to predict. The interrelationships and interdependencies of these organisms may generate ecosystems that are stable for hundreds or thousands of years.
- Students will explain the interactions of the components of the Earth system (e.g., solid Earth, oceans, atmosphere, living organisms);
propose solutions to detrimental interactions.
Interactions among the solid Earth, the oceans, the atmosphere and living things have resulted in the ongoing development of a changing Earth system.
- Students will explain how the natural resources of a place or region impact its political, social and economic development in the present day.
- Students will explain how the natural resources of a place or region impact its political, social and economic development in early civilizations prior to 1500 A.D.
- Students will explain how the natural resources of a place or region impact its political, social and economic development in the United States prior to Reconstruction.
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