• Earth Science 9th Grade

    Subject: Earth's Structure
    Grade: 9
    Timeline: school year
    Unit Title: Earth Science 

    Unit Overview: 
    Students in Earth Science develop knowledge in three core disciplinary ideas in the Earth and Space Sciences including: Earth's Place in the Universe, Earth's Systems, and the Earth and Human Activity.  This year-long course focuses on these six areas: Introduction to Earth, The Lithosphere, The Hydrosphere, The Atmosphere, Planet Earth and Earth and Space.  Sub-ideas include: Earth materials and systems, plate tectonics and large scale system interactions, the roles of water in Earth's surface processes, air, weather and climate, the unverse and its stars, Earth and the solar system, natural resources, natural hazards, and human impact on the environment.

    Unit Objectives:
    The objectives of this unit are to apply the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Crosscutting Concepts that bridge disciplinary boundaries, uniting core ideas throughout the fields of science and engineering.
    Empirical evidence is needed to identify patterns.
    Scale, Proportion, and Quantity
    The significance of a phenomenon is dependent on the scale, proportion, and quantity at which it occurs. 
    Algebraic thinking is used to examine scientific data and predict the effect of a change in one variable on another (e.g., linear growth vs. exponential growth).

    Energy and Matter                                                                                                                                                     Energy cannot be created or destroyed-only moved between one place and another place, between objects and/or fields, or between systems.
    In nuclear processes, atoms are not conserved, but the total number of protons plus neutrons is conserved.
    The total amount of energy and matter in closed systems is conserved.
    Energy drives the cycling of matter within and between systems. 

    Stability and Change                                                                                                                                                  Much of science deals with constructing explanations of how things change and how they remain stable.
    Change and rates of change can be quantified and modeled over very short or very long periods of time.                             Some system changes are irreversible. 
    Feedback (negative or positive) can stabilize or destabilize a system.

    Cause and Effect                                                                                                                                                Empirical evidence is required to differentiate between cause and correlation and make claims about specific causes and effects.
    Systems and Models
    When investigating or describing a system, the boundaries and initial conditions of the system need to be defined and their inputs and outputs analyzed and described using models.

    Structure and Function         
    The function and properties of natural and designed objects and systems can be inferred from their overall structure, the way their components are shaped and used, and the molecular substructures of its various materials.                                                                                                                
    Interdependence of Science, Engineering, and Technology                                                                                      Science and engineering complement each other in the cycle known as research and development (R&D).  Many R&D projects may involve scientists, engineers, and others with wide ranges of expertise.
    Influence of Engineering, Technology, and Science on Society and the Natural World                                             New technologies can have deep impacts on society and the environment, including some that were not anticipated.  Analysis of costs and benefits is a critical aspect of decisions about technology.
    Focus Standards:
    S11.A.1.1.1: Compare and contrast scientific theories, scientific laws, and beliefs.
    S11.A.1.1.4: Explain how specific scientific knowledge or technological design concepts solve practical problems.
    S11.A.1.1.5: Analyze or compare the use of both direct and indirect observation as means to study the world and the universe.
    S11.A.1.2.1: Apply and explain scientific concepts to societal issues using case studies.
    S11.A.1.3.2: Describe or interpret dynamic changes to stable systems.
    S11.A.1.3.3: Describe how change in physcal and biological indicators of water systems reflect changes in these systems.
    S11.A.1.3.4: Compare the rate of use of natural resources and their impact on sustainability.
    S11.D.1.1.1: Classify and describe major types of rocks and minerals by their origin and formation.
    S11.D.1.1.2: Explain the processes that take place at plate boundaries and how these processes continue to shape Earth.
    S11.1.1.3: Analyze features created by the interaction of processes that change Earth's surface.
    S11.D.1.2.1: Evaluate factors affecting availability, location, extraction, and use of natural resources.
    S11.D.1.2.2: Explain the impact of obtaining and using natural resources for the production of energy and materials.
    S11.D.1.3.1: Explain the multiple functions of different water systems inrelation to landforms.
    S11.D.1.3.2: Explain relationships among physical characteristics, vegetation, topography, and flow as it relates to water systems.
    S11.D.1.3.3: Explain factors that affects wter quality and flow through a water system.
    S11.D.2.1.1: Describe how changes in concentration of minor components in Earth's atmosphere are linked to climate change.
    S11.D.2.1.2: Compare the transmission, reflection, absorption, and radiation of solar energy to and by the Earth's surface under different environmental conditions.
    S11.D.2.1.3: Explain weather patterns and seasonal changes using the concepts of heat and density.
    S11.D.2.1.4: Analyze weather maps and weather data to predict regional or global weather events.
    S11.D.3.1.1: Describe planetary motion and the physical laws that explain planetary motion.
    S11.D.3.1.2: Describe the structure, formation, and life cycle of stars.
    S11.D.3.1.3: Explain the current scentific theories of the origin of the solar system and universe.

    ESS1.A: The Universe and Its Stars.
    The star called the sun is changing and will burn out over a lifespan of approximately 10 billion years.

    The study of stars life spectra and brightness is used to identify compositional elements of stars, their movements, and their distances from Earth.

    The Big Bang Theory is supported by observations of distant galaxies receding from our own, of the measured composition of stars and non-stellar gases, and of the maps of spectra of the primordial radiation that still fills the universe.

    Other than the hydrogen and helium formed at the time of the Big Bang, nuclear fusion within stars produces all atomic nuclei lighter than and including iron, and the process releases electromagnetic energy. Heavier elements are produced when certain massive stars achieve a supernova stage and explode.



    ESS1.B: Earth and the Solar System.  Cyclical changes in the shape of Earth's orbit around the sun, together with changes in the tilt of the planet's axis of rotation, both occurring over hundreds of thousands of years, have altered the intensity and distribution of sunlight falling on the Earth.  These phenomena cause a cycle of ice ages and other gradual climate changes.


    ESS2.A: Earth Materials and Systems.  Earth's systems, being dynamic and interacting, cause feedback effects that can increase or decrease the original changes. 

    Evidence from deep probes and seismic waves, reconstructions of historical changes in Earth's surface and its magnetic field, and an understanding of physical and chemical processes lead to a model of Earth with a hot but solid inner core, a liquid outer core, a solid mantle and crust.  Motions of the mantle and its plates occur primarily through thermal convection, which involves the cycling of matter due to the outward flow of energy from Earth's interior and gravitational movement of denser materials toward the interior. 

    The geological record shows that changes to global and regional climate can be caused by interactions among changes in the sun's energy output or Earth's orbit, tectonic events, ocean circulation, volcanic activity, glaciers, vegetation, and human activities.  These changes can occur on a variety of time scales from sudden (e.g. volcanic ash clouds) to intermediate (ice ages) to very long-term tectonic cycles.


    ESS1.B: Earth and the Solar System. Kepler’s laws describe common features of the motions of orbiting objects, including their elliptical paths around the sun. Orbits may change due to the gravitational effects from, or collision with, other objects in the solar system.


    ESS1.C: The History of Planet Earth. Continental rocks, which can be older than 4 billion years, are generally much older than the rocks of the ocean floor, which are less than 200 million years old.

    Although active geologic processes, such as plate tectonics and erosion, have destroyed or altered most of the very early rock record on Earth, other objects in the solar system, such as lunar rocks, asteroids, and meteorites, have changed little over billions of years. Studying these objects can provide information about earth’s formation and early history.


    ESS2.B: Plate Tectonics and Large-Scale System Interactions.  The radioactive decay of unstable isotopes continually generates new energy within Earth's crust and mantle, providing the primary source of the heat that drives mantle convection.  Plate tectonics can be viewed as the surface expression of mantle convection. 

    Plate tectonics is the unifying theory that explains the past and current movements of the rocks at Earth's surface and provides a framework for understanding its geologic history.  Plate movements are responsible for most continental and ocean-floor features and for the distribution of most rocks and minerals within Earth's crust.


    ESS2.C: The Roles of Water in Earth's Surface Processes.  The abundance of liquid water on Earth's surface and its unique combination of physical and chemical properties are central to the planet's dynamics.  These properties include water's exceptional capacity to absorb, store, and release large amounts of energy, transmit sunlight, expand upon freezing, dissolve and transport materials, and lower the viscosities and melting points of rocks.


    ESS2.D: Weather and Climate.  The foundation for Earth's global climate systems is the electromagnetic radiation from the sun, as well as its reflections, absorption, storage, and redistribution among the atmosphere, ocean, and land systems, and this energy's re-radiation into space. 

    Gradual atmospheric changes were due to plants and other organisms that captured carbon dioxide and released oxygen. 

    Changes in the atmosphere due to human activity have increased carbon dioxide concentrations and thus affect climate.


    ESS2.E: Biogeology.  The many dynamic and delicate feedbacks between the biosphere and other Earth systems cause a continual co-evolution of Earth's surface and the life that exists on it.


    ESS3.A: Natural Resources. Resource availability has guided the development of human society.

    All forms of energy production and other resource extraction have associated economic, social, environmental, geopolitical costs and risks, as well as benefits. New technologies and social regulations can change the balance of these factors.


    ESS3.B: Natural Hazards. Natural hazards and other geologic events have shaped the course of human history, have significantly altered the sizes of human populations and have driven human migrations.


    ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems. The sustainability of human societies and the biodiversity that supports them requires responsible management of natural resources.

    Scientists and engineers can make major contributions by developing technologies that produce less pollution and waste and that preclude ecosystem degradation.


    ESS3.D: Global Climate Change. Though the magnitudes of human impacts are greater than they have ever been, so too are human abilities to model, predict, and manage current and future impacts.

    Through computer simulations and other studies, important discoveries are still being made about how the ocean, the atmosphere, and the biosphere interact and are modified in response to human activities.


    PS4.A: Wave Properties.  Geologists use seismic waves and their reflection at interfaces between layers to structures deep in the planet.


    Concepts - Students will know:
    • the main parts of Earth.
    • about maps.
    • the chemical make-up of minerals.
    • minerals properties and identification process.
    • the classification of rocks.
    • the rock cycle.
    • about fossils.
    • how land forms are created.
    • how earthquakes effect the land.
    • how plate tectonics effect the Earth.
    • the process of the creation of soil and sediment.
    • erosion.
    • the water cycle.
    • the types of fresh water.
    • the properties of oceans.
    • the properties of the atmosphere.
    • the concepts of weather formation.
    • the concepts of weather prediction.
    • the properties of climate.
    • the climate zones.
    • the seasons and the phases of the moon.
    • the structure of the solar system.
    • star formation.
    • star classification
    • the properties of the sun.
    • about constellations
    • about space exploration.
    • human impact on the environment.
    Competencies -Students will be able to:
    • identify and describe the 4 main branches of Earth Science.
    • name and describe lithosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere.
    • describe the crust, mantle, and core.
    • describe and interpret maps.
    • define elements, and define, identify and describe common compounds.
    • interpret chemical symbols and recognize common chemical formulas of some familiar compounds.
    • describe and identify the properties of minerals.
    • explain the formation of minerals.
    • identify common uses of minerals.
    • identify and describe the 3 classifications of rocks.
    • understand the phases of the rock cycle.
    • describe how organisms are preserved in rocks.                       
    • describe how fossils are used to reconstruct the geologic past.
    • identify the processes that change the Earth.
    • explain what causes earthquakes and their effects.
    • understand the theories of continetal drift and plate tectonics.
    • explain the ways that Earth's surface is worn away and deposited by weathering.
    • define erosion and deposition.                                           
    • identify five agents of erosion.
    • trace the steps in the water cycle.
    • describe the structure and the function of fresh water sources.
    • describe the ocean's properties and understand oceanography.
    • identify and describe the main gases in air.
    • identify and describe how weather systems are formed.
    • use data to form accurate weather predictions.
    • explain how weather and climate are related and identify the factors that determine climate.
    • identify and describe the climate zones.
    • explain the motions of the earth and the moon.
    • describe the properties and features of planets within the solar system.
    • describe how stars form and name their characteristics.
    • understand how to classify stars and describe the life cycle of a star.
    • describe the parts of the sun and the process by which energy is produced by the sun.
    • explain what consellations are and name familiar constellations.
    • explain the basic concepts and the findings in astronomy.
    • name and describe the main sources of energy

    • formative assessments   
    • journals and/or science notebooks 
    • lab reports  
    • research reports
    • oral report   
    • teacher observation
    • performance assessments
    • summative assessments 

    Elements of Instruction:
    Analyzing and Interpreting Data
    Analyzing Data in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to introducing more detailed statistical analysis, the comparison of data sets for consistency, and the use of models to generate and analyze data.  Analyze data using computational models in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims.
    Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
    Mathematical and computational thinking in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to using algebraic thinking and analysis, a range of linear and nonlinear functions including trigonometric functions exponentials and logarithms, and computational tools for statistical analysis to analyze, represent, and model data.  Simple computational simulations are created and used based on mathematical models of basic assumptions.  Create a computational model or simulation of a phenomenon, designed device, progress, or system.  Use a computational representation of phenomena or design solutions to describe and/or support claims and/or explanations.
    Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
    Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to explanations and designs that are supported by multiple and independent student-generated sources of evidence consistent with scientific knowledge, principles, and theories.  Construct an explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from a variety of sources (including students' own investigations, models, theories, simulations, peer review) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future.  Design or refine a solution to a complex real-world problem, based on scientific knowledge, student-generated sources evidence, prioritized criteria, and tradeoff considerations.
    Engaging in Argument from Evidence
    Engaging in argument from Evidence in 9-12 build on K-8 experiences and progresses to using appropriate and sufficient evidence and scientific reasoning to defend and critique claims and explanations about natural and designed world(s).  Arguments may also come from current scientific or historical episodes in science.  Evaluate competing design solutions to a real-world problem based on scientific ideas and principles, empirical evidence, and logical arguments regarding relevant factors 9e.g. economic, societal, environmental, ethical considerations).
    Connections to Nature of Science
    Scientific investigations Use a Variety of Methods
    Science investigations use diverse methods and do not always use the same set of procedures to obtain data.  New technologies advance scientific knowledge.
    Scientific Knowledge is Based on Empirical Evidence
    Scientific knowledge is based on empirical evidence.  Science arguments are strengthened by multiple lines of evidence supporting a single explanation.
    Developing and Using Models-Modeling in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to using, synthesizing, and developing models to predict and show relationships among variables between systems and their components in the natural and designed world(s).
    Using Mathematical and Computational Thinking-Mathematical and computational thinking in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to using algebraic thinking and analysis, a range of linear and nonlinear functions including trigonometric functions, exponentials and logarithms, and computational tools for statistical analysis to analyze, represent, and model data. Simple computational simulations are created and used based on mathematical models of basic assumptions.
    Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions- Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 9-12 and builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to explanations and designs are supported by multiple and independent student-generated sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories.
    Engaging in Argument from Evidence- Engaging in argument from evidence in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to using appropriate and sufficient evidence and scientific reasoning to defend and critique claims and explanations about the natural and designed world(s). Arguments may also come from current scientific and historical episodes in science.
    Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information- Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to evaluating the validity and reliability of the claims, methods, and designs.
    Planning and Carrying Out Investigations- Planning and carrying out investigations in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to include investigations that provide evidence for and test conceptual, mathematical, physical, and empirical models.
    Analyzing and Interpreting Data- Analyzing data in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to introducing more detailed statistical analysis, the comparison of data sets for consistency and the use of models to generate and analyze data.

    Each lesson has differentiation options for each portion of the lesson. Additional differentiation options are listed with directions and student masters in the Teacher’s Guide.
    Remediation could include: using word walls, using flip charts or foldables, structured notebooks, peer teaching, teaming with the math department for graphing.
    Extensions could include: independent research, inquiry based experiments, exploration of topics online.

     Interdisciplinary Connections:
    Writing in the Sciences is connected to Literacy Common Core Shifts.  Students could use notebooking or journaling, reading informational text and answering text-dependent questions, writing laboratory experiment plans and lab reports, academic and content specific vocabulary.  Problem Solving in the Sciences is connected with Mathematics Common Core Shifts.  Measurement, graphing data, and calculations.

    Additional Resources:
     Pennsylvania Department of Education - www.education.state.pa.us
     Standards Aligned System - http://www.pdesas.org/