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Science and Technology/Engineering
Curriculum Framework - Spring 2001

Earth and Space Science, Grades 6-8

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Additional Ideas for Developing Investigations and Learning Experiences and Suggested Extensions to Learning in Technology/Engineering are in Appendix III.

Learning Standard Ideas For Developing Investigations And Learning Experiences
Mapping the Earth
  1. Recognize, interpret, and be able to create models of the earth's common physical features in various mapping representations, including contour maps.
  • Choose a small area of unpaved, sloping ground in the schoolyard or a park. Create a scale contour map of the area. Include true north and magnetic north.
Earth's Structure
  1. Describe the layers of the solid earth, including the lithosphere, the hot convecting mantle, and the dense metallic core.
  • Use a Styrofoam ball and paint to construct a cross-section model of the earth.
Heat Transfer in the Earth's System
  1. Differentiate among radiation, conduction, and convection, the three mechanisms by which heat is transferred through the earth's system.
  • Investigate the movement of a drop of food coloring placed in water, with and without a heat source, and in different positions relative to a heat source.
  1. Explain the relationship among the energy provided by the sun, the global patterns of atmospheric movement, and the temperature differences among water, land, and atmosphere.
  • Note the relationship between global wind patterns and ocean current patterns.
Earth's History
  1. Describe how the movement of the earth's crustal plates causes both slow changes in the earth's surface (e.g., formation of mountains and ocean basins) and rapid ones (e.g., volcanic eruptions and earthquakes).
  • Use the Pangaea map to understand plate movement.
  • Research and map the location of volcanic or earthquake activity. Relate these locations to the locations of the earth's tectonic plates.
  1. Describe and give examples of ways in which the earth's surface is built up and torn down by natural processes, including deposition of sediments, rock formation, erosion, and weathering.
  • Observe signs of erosion and weathering in local habitats and note seasonal changes.
  • Visit local sites following storm events and observe changes.
  1. Explain and give examples of how physical evidence, such as fossils and surface features of glaciation, supports theories that the earth has evolved over geologic time.
  • Make a timeline showing index fossils. Discuss which of these fossils are actually found in New England. Discuss why some may be missing from local rocks.
The Earth in the Solar System
  1. Recognize that gravity is a force that pulls all things on and near the earth toward the center of the earth. Gravity plays a major role in the formation of the planets, stars, and solar system and in determining their motions.
  • Observe the speed at which objects of various mass drop from a common height. Use a chronometer to accurately measure time and plot the data as mass versus time necessary to reach the ground.
  1. Describe lunar and solar eclipses, the observed moon phases, and tides. Relate them to the relative positions of the earth, moon, and sun.
  • Use globes and a light source to explain why high tides on two successive mornings are typically about 25 hours (rather than 24) apart.
  1. Compare and contrast properties and conditions of objects in the solar system (i.e., sun, planets, and moons) to those on Earth (i.e., gravitational force, distance from the sun, speed, movement, temperature, and atmospheric conditions).
  • Using light objects such as balloons or basketballs, and heavy objects such as rocks, make models that show how heavy a 1 kg pumpkin would seem to you on the surface of the moon, Mars, Earth, and Jupiter.
  1. Explain how the tilt of the earth and its revolution around the sun result in an uneven heating of the earth, which in turn causes the seasons.
  1. Recognize that the universe contains many billions of galaxies, and that each galaxy contains many billions of stars.
  • Count the number of stars you can see with your naked eye in a small group such as the Pleiades. Repeat with low power binoculars. Repeat again with telescope or powerful binoculars. Research the number of stars present. Discuss the meaning of your answers.

Last Updated: May 1, 2001
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