Earth Science

Course Overview

The Earth Science course provides an opportunity to study the earth on which we live. The course investigates the earth's structure and composition, its changing surface and the role that energy plays in earth systems. It explores the earth's ecological resources and atmosphere, its water cycle and weather. It further discusses the earth's landmasses and its relationships with its neighbors in space. Along the way, students are shown how to use scientific thinking, investigations, tools and technologies. Course topics include:

  • Minerals

  • Rocks

  • Weathering and Soil

  • Erosion and Deposition

  • Plate Tectonics

  • Earthquakes

  • Mountains and Volcanoes

  • Earth's Past

  • Natural Resources

  • Earth's Fresh Waters

  • Ocean Systems

  • Earth's Atmosphere

  • Weather Factors

  • Weather Patterns

  • Weather Predictions

  • Earth's Movement and its Effects

  • Earth's Moon

  • Space Exploration

  • The Solar System

  • Exploring the Universe

Scope and Sequence

Unit 1 – Minerals This unit covers what minerals are and how they are identified, mined, and used.

Unit 2 – Rocks This unit discusses the 'rock cycle,' as well as igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rock.

Unit 3 – Weathering and Soil This unit discusses mechanical versus chemical weathering, properties of soil, and how climate affects soil.

Unit 4 – Erosion and Deposition This unit discusses how the Earth's surface is built up and worn down, how water movement, waves, and wind shape the land, and how glaciers change land by moving sediment.

Unit 5 – Plate Tectonics This unit covers the composition versus the physical structure of the Earth, where the Earth's plates are located, how the continents drift, the plate boundaries, and how Earth's crust is deformed.

Unit 6 – Earthquakes This unit discusses what earthquakes are, how they are measured, and how to prepare for them.

Unit 7 – Mountains and Volcanoes This unit discusses how mountains are formed, what happens when a volcano erupts, what causes an eruption, and what types of volcanoes there are.

Unit 8 – Earth's Past This unit discusses relative and absolute dating, types of unconformities and fossils, and the geologic time scale.

Unit 9 – Natural Resources This unit discusses renewable and non-renewable resources, with special emphasis on fossil fuels, conservation and recycling. It also covers other energy sources.

Unit 10 – Earth's Fresh Waters This unit covers the water cycle, and fresh water as a resource, frozen, and underground. Water shortages are also discussed.

Unit 11 – Ocean Systems This unit describes the Earth's oceans as connected systems, as well as the ocean floors, how ocean water moves, what waves are and what they do, and what causes tides.

Unit 12 – Earth's Atmosphere This unit discusses the composition of the atmosphere and its layers, air pressure, air quality and pollution.

Unit 13 – Weather Factors This unit discusses the energy that we get from the sun, how heat transfer works and what it does for us, what wind is, the difference between local and global winds, and where the global wind belts are. Also covered are humidity, types of clouds, and precipitation.

Unit 14 – Weather Patterns This unit discusses types of air masses and how they move, as well as types of fronts. It goes on to cover cyclones and anticyclones, thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and snowstorms.

Unit 15 – Weather Predictions This unit discusses weather forecasting and technology, and how to read a weather map.

Unit 16 – Earth in Space This unit covers how Earth moves in space and it's seasons, gravity, and motion.

Unit 17 – Earth's Moon This unit discusses the phases of the moon, the difference between lunar and solar eclipses, and the surface, origin, and characteristics of the moon.

Unit 18 – Space Exploration This unit discusses the history of rockets and how they work, multistage rockets, the space program, working in space, and the challenges we face in space.

Unit 19 – The Sun This unit discusses the Sun's interior, its atmosphere, and its features.

Unit 20 – Inner Planets This unit discusses The Earth, Mercury, Venus, and Mars.

Unit 21 – Outer Planets – Gas Giants This unit discusses the outer planets, including Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.

Unit 22 – Comets, Asteroids, and Meteors This unit discusses comets, asteroids, and meteors.

Unit 23 – Telescopes This unit discusses electromagnetic radiation, different types of telescopes, and observatories.

Unit 24 – Stars This unit discusses the classification and lives of stars and how to measure the distance to stars, as well as Hertzsprung-Russell diagrams, star systems, galaxies, and the expanding universe.