Creating a diagram or model and explaining the effects of the orbit of the earth around the sun and the moon around the earth.
The earth orbits the sun in a near circular path that takes a year to complete.
The moon's orbit around the earth, once in about 28 days, changes the portion of the moon visible to us as a result of the sun's reflected light (phases of the moon).
Explaining, after viewing a picture or illustration with sun/moon showing true relative size, why the sun and moon appear to be the same size when seen from the earth.
Relating this phenomenon to lunar and solar eclipses and explaining how technology has allowed scientists to extend existing ideas about the solar system.
From earth, the moon and the sun appear to be the same size because the moon is so much closer to the earth than the sun.
Telescopes magnify the appearance of some very distant objects in the sky, including the moon and the planets. The number of stars that can be seen through telescopes is dramatically greater than can be seen by the unaided eye.
Using data about a rock's physical characteristics to explain the rock's history and connection to the Rock Cycle.
Creating a model of the earth's structure and explaining the nature of the layers.
Rocks come from magma or lava, as well as from sediments that build up in layers. As all rocks from earth's surface weather, form sediments and become buried and heated (through pressure or direct heat), they may crystallize into new rock. Eventually those new rocks may be brought to the surface by forces that drive plate motions (The Rock Cycle).
The earth is layered with a rigid shell, a hot mantle and a dense metallic core.
Identifying examples of geologic changes on the earth's surface, where possible, in the local environment (include slow and fast changes).
Plotting locations of volcanoes and earthquakes and using these data to explain the relationship between location and plate movement.
Explaining the processes that occur when rocks are changed from one form to another.
Determining the relative age of fossils within sedimentary rocks from their location in the strata (i.e. which fossils within a sequence are older).
Some changes on the earth can be very slow, such as weathering and mountain-building, and some can be very fast-such as volcanoes and earthquakes.
Earth's rigid shell is composed of large plates that move at rates of centimeters a year. Major geologic events, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and mountain building, result from these plate motions.
Thousands of layers of sedimentary rock confirm the long history of the changing surface of the earth and the changing life forms whose remains are found in successive layers (land forms-coastlines, mountains, rivers, canyons, deltas).
Diagramming, labeling and explaining the process of the water cycle (e.g., evaporation, precipitation, run-off).
The cycling of water in and out of the atmosphere plays an important role in determining climatic patterns. Water evaporates from the surface of the earth, rises and cools, and falls again to the surface as rain. The water falling on land collects in rivers and lakes, soil and porous layers of rock, and much of it flows back into the ocean.
Identifying examples of good and poor management of natural resources.
Explaining how overpopulation of living things can degrade an environment due to increased use of resources.
Responsible management of the earth's resources (air, soil, water, trees) is beneficial for the environment and for human use.
Not assessed at this grade level
Identifying and labeling the location of the sun in our solar system and its relationship to the galaxy.
The sun is many thousands of times closer to the earth than any other star. The sun is located near the edge of a disc-shaped galaxy of stars.
Not assessed at this grade level
Not assessed at this grade level
Diagramming, labeling and explaining the process of the water cycle (precipitation, evaporation, condensation, runoff, ground water, transpiration).
Identifying the major gases of earth's atmosphere.
Explaining how differential heating can affect the earth's weather patterns.
Creating a model showing the tilt of the earth on its axis and explaining how the sun's energy hitting the earth surface creates the seasons.
The cycling of water in and out of the atmosphere plays an important role in determining climatic patterns. Water evaporates from the surface of the earth, rises and cools, condenses into rain or snow, and falls again to the surface. Global patterns of atmospheric movement influence local weather. Oceans have a major effect on climate because water in the oceans holds a large amount of heat.
The entire planet is surrounded by a relatively thin blanket of air composed of nitrogen, oxygen, and small amounts of other gases, including water vapor.
Heat from the sun is the primary source of energy for changes on the earth's surface. The differences in heating of the earth's surface produce the planet's weather patterns.
Seasons result from variations in the amount of sun's energy hitting the earth's surface. This happens because of the tilt of the earth's axis and the orbit of the earth around the sun.
Investigating natural resources in the community and monitoring/managing them for responsible use.
Identifying a human activity in a local environment and determining the impact of that activity on a specific (local) natural resource.
Researching the impact of different human activities on the earth's land, waterways and atmosphere, and describing possible effects on the living organisms in those environments.
Human activities have impacts on natural resources, such as increasing wildlife habitats, reducing/managing the amount of forest cover, increasing the amount and variety of chemicals released into the atmosphere and farming intensively. Some of these changes have decreased the capacity of the environment to support life forms. Others have enhanced the environment to support greater availability of resources.
Fresh water, limited in supply, is essential for life and also for most industrial processes. Rivers, lakes, and groundwater can be depleted or polluted, becoming unavailable or unsuitable for life.
Explaining how our understanding of the nature and composition of the atmosphere of inner and outer planets has been advanced through the use of sophisticated technology.
Explaining the effect of distance from the sun on the nature of the planets (e.g., inner vs. outer planets).
Our solar system developed from a giant cloud of gas and debris of exploding stars 4.6 billion years ago, and everything on earth, including organisms, is made of this material.
As the earth and other planets formed, the heavier elements fell to their centers. On planets close to the sun (Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars) the lightest elements were mostly blown or boiled away by radiation from the newly formed sun; on the outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto) the lighter elements still surround them as deep atmospheres of gas or as frozen solid layers.
Explaining the process of star formation (i.e. our sun) in relation to its size, including the interaction of the force of gravity, fusion and energy release.
Explaining the process of the Big Bang Theory and its effect on the Universe today, citing evidence to support its occurrence (e.g., Doppler effect/red shift).
Explaining how technology through time has influenced our understanding of the vastness (i.e., light years) and the nature of the universe (e.g., Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler, Einstein).
Stars formed by gravitational clumping of hydrogen and helium out of clouds of molecules of these lightest elements until nuclear fusion of these light elements into heavier ones began to occur, releasing great amounts of energy over millions of years and resulting in the initial formation of elements. The process of star formation continues today, as some stars explode, creating new clouds from which other stars from and eventually dissipate with changes in matter and energy Stars differ in size, temperature and age, but appear to be made of the same elements found on earth and behave according to the same physical principles.
The Universe expanded explosively into being perhaps between 10 and 20 billion years ago from a hot, dense, chaotic mass.
The nature of electromagnetic waves (radio waves- the longest, to gamma rays, the shortest) has provided a useful tool to determine the movement of objects in the Universe. Because light from almost all distant galaxies has longer wavelengths that comparable light here on earth, astronomers believe the whole Universe is continuing to expand. Mathematical models are used to study evidence from many sources to explain events in the Universe. A variety of increasingly sophisticated technology is used to learn about the Universe (e.g., visual telescopes, radio telescopes, X-ray telescopes, computers, space probes, atomic accelerators.
Scientific theories on the nature of the Universe have evolved significantly through the past 2000+ years Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo), and new views are emerging.
Citing and explaining evidence that illustrates how despite changes in form, conservation in the amount of earth materials occurs during the Rock Cycle.
Explaining how the heat (energy) produced by radioactive decay and pressure affects the Rock Cycle.
Explaining the processes by which elements (e.g., carbon, nitrogen, oxygen atoms) move through the earth's reservoirs (soil, atmosphere, bodies of water, organisms).
The formation, weathering, sedimentation and reformation of rock constitutes a continuing "rock cycle" in which the total amount of material remains the same, while its form changes (e.g., Conservation of Mass).
The earth's systems have internal sources of energy (heat), such as radioactive decay and pressure which create heat.
The earth is a system containing essentially a fixed amount of each stable chemical atom or element. Movement of this matter between reservoirs, driven by the earth's internal and external sources of energy, is often accomplished by a change in the physical and chemical properties of the matter in the solid earth, atmosphere, and organisms.
Using a model, diagram or computer simulation to demonstrate how convection circulation of the mantle initiates the movement of crustal plates which then causes earthquake and volcanic activity (e.g. Mid-Atlantic Ridge, North American and European plate collisions producing the Green Mountains).
Analyzing samples of rock sequences to determine the relative age of the rock structure.
Comparing the usefulness of various methods of determining the age of different rock structures (e.g. relative dating vs. C-dating vs. K-Ar dating. If rock structure is less than 500,000 years old, K-Ar dating cannot be used and C-dating can only be used for tens of thousands of years).
The convection circulation of the earth's mantle slowly moves the solid crustal sections of the earth's continents and ocean basins over the denser, hot layers beneath-separating in some areas and pressing against one another in other areas resulting in plate collisions- mountain building-volcanic activity-islands.
Interactions among solid earth, atmosphere, oceans and organisms have resulted in ongoing change of earth's systems (e.g., effects of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and glacial activity).
The age and changes of the earth and its inhabitants can be extrapolated from rock sequences and fossils in the earth's sediments and land forms and also through the decay rates of radioactive isotopes, indicating a long history (Lyell's Principles of Geology, fossil records, Charles Darwin).
Explaining the uniqueness of the earth's characteristics (e.g., solar intensity, gravity related to size of earth, makeup of atmosphere).
Explaining how water as a molecule is also unique in its ability to retain heat, compared to land and air on earth.
Diagramming and explaining local and large scale wind systems (e.g., land and sea breezes and global wind patterns, Coriolis effect).
Predicting weather for a particular location, using weather map data (barometric pressure, frontal systems, isobars, isotherms, mountain effects, lake/ocean effects, ocean currents, temperature/humidity) and examining world weather maps and identifying the most likely locations where extreme weather might occur (e.g., blizzards thunderstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes).
Of all the diverse planets and moons in the solar system, earth's unique physical/chemical characteristics, its position, its atmosphere and its intensity of solar radiation that allows for the existence of liquid water. Water is a unique molecule generating unique properties that influence the earth's weather (ability to retain heat, melting, boiling, and freezing points). The intensity of radiation from the sun allows water to cycle between liquid and vapor, which supports life as we know it on earth.
The earth's climatic patterns and weather are governed by the transfer of heat energy between atmosphere and land and oceans. Heat transfer at boundaries of atmosphere and oceans causes the circulation of wind and ocean currents, which influence the composition (temperature and moisture content) and the movement of large air masses).
The meeting of air masses with different characteristics causes our most.
Comparing the availability of natural resources and the impact of different management plans (e.g., management of forests depends upon use, lumber production, sugarbush, deer habitat, mining, recreation) within the management area (forest, farmland, rivers, streams).
Choosing a Vermont ecosystem and tracing its succession before and after a damaging event, showing how the ecosystem has been restored through the maintenance of atmosphere quality, generation of soils, control of the water cycle, disposal of wastes and recycling of nutrients (e.g., flooding, former mining sites, glacial impact, deforestation, recovery of rivers from sewage/ chemical dumping, burning of fossil fuels).
Explaining a natural chemical cycle that has been disrupted by human activity and predict what the long term effect will be on organisms (e.g., acid precipitation, global warming, ozone depletion, pollution of water by phosphates, mercury, PCBs,etc.).
Tracing the processes that are necessary to produce a common, everyday object from the original raw materials to its final destination after human use, considering alternate routes-including extraction of raw material, production and transportation, energy use and waste disposal throughout, packaging and recycling and/or disposal (e.g., aluminum can, steel).
Human activities can enhance potential for accelerating rates of natural change.
Natural ecosystems provide many basic processes that affect humans- maintenance of atmospheric quality, generation of soils, control of the water cycle, disposal of wastes and recycling of nutrients, etc.
Materials and habits from human societies affect both physical and chemical cycles on earth, and human alteration of these cycles can be detrimental to all organisms.
Natural ecosystems provide the raw materials for the development of many products for human use (e.g. steel, glass, fertilizers).