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Science and Technology/Engineering
Curriculum Framework - Spring 2001

Appendix III

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Additional Activities to Enhance the Learning Standards

Earth and Space Science

In this Appendix are additional activities to enhance the learning standards. Activities in regular type are Ideas for Developing Investigations and Learning Experiences, those in italics are Suggested Extensions to Learning in Technology/Engineering.

Grades 6-8

Standard #1

  • Obtain a topographic relief map and a corresponding paper contour map of a coastal area (preferably in Massachusetts). Use both types of map to demonstrate the changes in the coastline that would occur if the sea level were to rise by various amounts.
  • Use topographic maps to explain an environmental problem, its location, its cause and a proposed solution.
  • Construct a clinometer. If suitable terrain is available, use a clinometer to determine the height of geologic features, the slope of surface features and the slope of layers of strata. Substitute heights of architectural features and slopes of ramps if necessary.
  • From a contour map, build a model that shows the physical features and the location of wildlife/plants.
  • Use maps from different time periods to observe changes in landscape.

Standard #3

  • Compare the heat absorption of white and black cans using a thermometer.
  • Investigate heat transfer by placing plastic, metal, and wooden spoons in hot water and determining how quickly they heat up (conduction).
    1. Investigate heat transfer from a room by adding 50 ml of cold water to a cup or beaker. Stir it and record its temperature changes every few minutes over a ten minute period.
    2. Investigate heat transfer to the room by adding 50 ml of warm water to a cup or beaker. Stir and record temperature changes every few minutes over a ten minute period.

Standard #6

  • Look at maps and photos to observe coastal changes.

Standard #7

  • Study the local landscape, and if possible also an unbuilt terrain (e.g., a state park) for signs of glaciation (e.g., eskers, drumlins, kettle holes). Discuss whether any of these features give evidence as to which way the glacier that formed them was moving.

Standard #8

  • Explain how a clinometer uses gravity to find the center of the earth, and puts that knowledge to use. Explain how part of this function could be carried out using a spirit level.

Standard #9

  • Model solar and lunar eclipses using a dim bulb and two balls.
  • If possible, put out tide stakes covered in chalk to notice and measure how high the tide came. Observe changes over time and correlate to the phases of the moon.

Standard #10

  • Model day and night using a dim bulb and a ball.
  • Use binoculars and telescopes to observe planets and the moon. Estimate the diameter of the largest and smallest craters you observe on the moon. Explain what you measured and how you calculated your answer.
  • Observe Mars, Venus, and Jupiter. Compare their observed color and brightness. Did you observe any moons accompanying any of these planets? Explain why or why not.
  • Record the location of the moon, Mars, Venus, and Jupiter relative to a nearby bright star. Repeat after about one week and one month. Explain the changes.

Last Updated: May 1, 2001
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