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Secondary - Earth Systems

Growth in Science Teaching (GIST) Activities

Standard I - Students will understand the scientific evidence that supports theories that explain how the universe and solar system developed.

Objective 1
Describe the big bang theory and evidence supporting it.

Understanding Doppler Effect

During a guided inquiry experience using a Slinky and a structured inquiry experience involving a water bath, students are brought to an understanding of the Doppler effect.

  • ILO 1: Use science process and thinking skills.
  • ILO 6: Demonstrate understanding of the nature of science.

Exploring the Spectrum

Students move from making spectral observations with a spectroscope, to making interpretations of spectral lines based on their understanding of the Doppler effect, and finally inferring the Big Bang theory based an spectral emissions from other galaxies.

  • ILO 1: Use science process and thinking skills.
  • ILO 4: Communicate effectively using science language and reasoning.

Objective 2
Relate the structure and composition of the solar system to the processes that exist in the universe.

  • Life Cycle of a Star

Based on observable patterns, students arrange a series of photographs that depict the life cycle of a star. The information given on the cards also leads the students to inferring the origin of heavier elements.

  • ILO 1: Use science process and thinking skills.
  • ILO 4: Communicate effectively using science language and reasoning.

Formation and Structure of the Solar System

Students look for patterns in data about planetary compositions to better help them understand the nebula theory of solar system formation.

  • ILO 1: Use science process and thinking skills.
  • ILO 4: Communicate effectively using science language and reasoning.

Standard II - Students will understand that the features of Earth’s evolving environment affect living systems, and that life on Earth is unique in the solar system.

Objective 1
Describe the unique physical features of Earth’s environment that make life on Earth possible.

Objective 2
Analyze how ecosystems differ from each other due to abiotic and biotic factors.

Objective 3
Examine Earth’s diversity of life as it changes over time.

Standard III - Students will understand that gravity, density, and convection move Earth’s plates and this movement causes the plates to impact other Earth systems.

Objective 1
Explain the evidence that supports the theory of plate tectonics.

Objective 2
Describe the processes within Earth that result in plate motion and relate to changes

in other Earth systems.

Standard IV - Students will understand that water cycles through and between reservoirs in the hydrosphere and affects the other spheres of the Earth system.

Objective 1
Explore the water cycle in terms of its reservoirs, the movement between reservoirs, and the energy to move water. Evaluate the importance of freshwater to the biosphere.

Midnight Dumpers

Students determine the source of groundwater contamination through the sampling of “test wells”.

  • ILO 3: Demonstrate understanding of science concepts, principles and systems.
  • ILO 5: Demonstrate awareness of social and historical aspects of science.

Objective 2
Analyze the physical and biological dynamics of the oceans.

Model of Oceanic Heat Transfer

Students design and construct a cross-section model of Earth’s oceans to discover and observe

convective currents.

  • ILO 1: Use science process and thinking skills
  • ILO 3: Demonstrate understanding of science concepts, principles and systems.

Fascinating Brine Shrimp

Students design and conduct experiments that investigate the effects of environmental factors on the viability of brine shrimp.

  • ILO 1: Use science process and thinking skills.
  • ILO 6: Demonstrate understanding of the nature of science.

Standard V - Students will understand that Earth’s atmosphere interacts with and is altered by the lithosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere.

Objective 1
Describe how matter in the atmosphere cycles through other Earth systems.

Objective 2
Trace ways in which the atmosphere has been altered by living systems and has itself strongly affected living systems over the course of Earth’s history.

Greenhouse Effect and Surface Radiation

Students investigate how different surfaces on Earth affect the amount of heat absorbed from the sun’s rays.

  • ILO 1: Use science process and thinking skills.
  • ILO 4: Communicate effectively using science language and reasoning.

Standard VI - Students will understand the source and distribution of energy on Earth and its effects on Earth systems.

Objective 1
Describe the transformation of solar energy into heat and chemical energy on Earth and eventually the radiation of energy into space.

Objective 2
Relate energy sources and transformation to the effects on Earth systems.

  • Sunny Side Up

Students investigate rates of temperature change based on the angle of incoming light. This information is then used to make inferences about the causes of seasonal temperature changes on Earth.

  • ILO 1: Use science process and thinking skills.
  • ILO 4: Communicate effectively using science language and reasoning.