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Earth and Space Science

Earth’s Dynamic Systems

Unit Driving Question

How do the dynamic systems of Earth change its surface?

Performance Expectations

MS-LS4-1, MS-ESS1-4, MS-ESS2-1, MS-ESS2-2, MS-ESS2-3, MS-ESS3-1, MS-ESS3-2, ETS1-1, ETS1-2, ETS1-3, ETS1-4

Unit Highlights

How did that aquatic fossil end up on the top of that mountain? Students learn about gradual processes (erosion, deposition, plate motion, and fossilization) and catastrophic events (earthquakes, volcanoes) and how they contribute to changes on the earth’s surface. Students track the transfer of energy, build models, and investigate mineral resources. Students conclude the unit with research on preparedness for catastrophic events. Are we ready for "The Big One"?

Weather and Climate Systems

Unit Driving Question

How can data be used to understand weather and climate? 

Performance Expectations

MS-ESS2-4, MS-ESS2-5, MS-ESS2-6, MS-ESS3-2, MS-ESS3-4, MS-ESS3-5, PS3-4, ETS1-1, ETS1-2

Unit Highlights

Will tomorrow’s blizzard warrant a shutdown of schools and businesses, or be a minor inconvenience? How do we know? Applying what they already know about weather and climate to the interaction of the Earth, oceans, and the atmosphere, students study storms, winds, hurricanes, and tornadoes. They model the water cycle, the collision of air masses to visualize these effects. Students design a solution to minimize the impact of a storm surge. By the end of the unit, students use data sets to predict the weather and make evidence-based claims.

Space Systems Exploration

Unit Driving Question

What can we observe and learn about the universe from our earthly perspective?

Performance Expectations

MS-PS2-4, MS-ESS1-1, MS-ESS1-2, MS-ESS1-3, MS-ETS1-1, MS-ETS1-2, MS-ETS1-3, MS-ETS1-4

Unit Highlights

Pulling together everything they have learned about the Sun-Earth-Moon system, students use data to construct information about lunar cycles, tides, eclipses, tilt, and gravity as they develop models that help explain the universe. At the end of the unit, students apply this knowledge to engineer habitations for Mars.