Courses of Study: Science

Number of Standards matching query: 16
Earth's Place in the Universe
Science (2015)
Grade(s): 6
Earth and Space Science
All Resources: 6
Learning Activities: 0
Lesson Plans: 6
Unit Plans: 0
1 ) Create and manipulate models (e.g., physical, graphical, conceptual) to explain the occurrences of day/night cycles, length of year, seasons, tides, eclipses, and lunar phases based on patterns of the observed motions of celestial bodies.

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific and Engineering Practices:
Developing and Using Models
Crosscutting Concepts: Patterns
Disciplinary Core Idea: Earth's Place in the Universe
Evidence of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Create and manipulate a model that shows how the positions of the Earth and sun result in day and night at locations on Earth.
  • Create and manipulate a model that shows the movement of Earth around the sun during a year with the correct tilt of Earth throughout the modeling.
  • Create and manipulate a model that shows the tilt of the Earth in relationship to the sun which indicates seasons for both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
  • Create and manipulate a model that shows the position of the Earth and moon during high and low tides at different locations on Earth.
  • Create and manipulate a model that shows the position of the sun, Earth, and moon during solar and lunar eclipses.
  • Create and manipulate a model that shows the position of the sun, Earth, and moon during lunar phases.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Model
  • Earth
  • Moon
  • Sun
  • Orbit
  • Rotation
  • Axis
  • Tilted
  • Day
  • Night
  • Hour
  • Revolution
  • Constant
  • Orbital plane
  • Orientation
  • Solar Energy
  • Equator
  • Poles
  • Northern Hemisphere
  • Southern Hemisphere
  • Winter
  • Summer
  • Tides
  • Gravitational pull
  • Low tide
  • High tide
  • Eclipse
  • Solar eclipse
  • Lunar Eclipse
  • Lunar phases (new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, third quarter, waning crescent)
  • Illumination
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • Earth rotates on its tilted axis once in approximately 24 hours; this rotation is considered an Earth day. Due to the rotation of the Earth, the side of the Earth facing the sun experiences light (day); the side of the Earth facing away from the sun experiences dark (night).
  • The Earth-moon system revolves around the sun once in approximately 365 days; this revolution is considered an Earth year.
  • The distance between Earth and the sun stays relatively constant throughout the Earth's orbit.
  • The Earth's rotation axis is tilted with respect to its orbital plane around the sun. Earth maintains the same relative orientation in space, with its North Pole pointed toward the North Star throughout its orbit.
  • Solar energy travels in a straight line from the sun and hits different parts of the curved Earth at different angles — more directly at the equator and less directly at the poles.
  • Because the Earth's axis is tilted, the most direct and intense solar energy occurs over the summer months, and the least direct and intense solar energy occurs over the winter months.
  • The change in season at a given place on Earth is directly related to the orientation of the tilted Earth and the position of Earth in its orbit around the sun because of the change in the directness and intensity of the solar energy at that place over the course of the year.
  • Summer occurs in the Northern Hemisphere at times in the Earth's orbit when the northern axis of Earth is tilted toward the sun.
  • Summer occurs in the Southern Hemisphere at times in the Earth's orbit when the southern axis of Earth is tilted toward the sun.
  • Winter occurs in the Northern Hemisphere at times in the Earth's orbit when the northern axis of Earth is tilted away from the sun.
  • Winter occurs in the Southern Hemisphere at times in the Earth's orbit when the southern axis of Earth is tilted away from the sun.
  • A tide is the daily rise and fall of sea level.
  • Low tide is the lowest sea level at a particular time and place on Earth.
  • High tide is the highest sea level at a particular time and place on Earth.
  • Tides occur as a result of the moon's gravitational pull on the Earth.
  • Solar energy is prevented from reaching the Earth during a solar eclipse because the moon is located between the sun and Earth.
  • Solar energy is prevented from reaching the moon (and thus reflecting off of the moon to Earth) during a lunar eclipse because Earth is located between the sun and moon.
  • Because the moon's orbital plane is tilted with respect to the plane of the Earth's orbit around the sun, for a majority of time during an Earth month, the moon is not in a position to block solar energy from reaching Earth, and Earth is not in a position to block solar energy from reaching the moon.
  • A lunar eclipse can only occur during a full moon.
  • The moon rotates on its axis approximately once a month.
  • The moon orbits Earth approximately once a month.
  • The moon rotates on its axis at the same rate at which it orbits Earth so that the side of the moon that faces Earth remains the same as it orbits.
  • The moon's orbital plane is tilted with respect to the plane of the Earth's orbit around the sun.
  • Solar energy coming from the sun bounces off of the moon and is viewed on Earth as the bright part of the moon.
  • The visible proportion of the illuminated part of the moon (as viewed from Earth) changes over the course of a month as the location of the moon relative to Earth and the sun changes. This change in illumination is known as the lunar phase.
  • The moon appears to become more fully illuminated until "full" and then less fully illuminated until dark, or "new," in a pattern of change that corresponds to what proportion of the illuminated part of the moon is visible from Earth.
  • The lunar phase of the moon is a result of the relative positions of the Earth, sun, and moon.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Develop a model of the Sun-Earth-Moon systems and identify the relevant components.
  • Describe the relationships between components of the model.
  • Use patterns observed from their model to provide causal accounts for events and make predictions for events by constructing explanations.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • Patterns in the occurrences of day/night cycles, length of year, seasons, tides, eclipses, and lunar phases can be observed and explained using models based on observed motion of celestial bodies.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Researching the Sun-Earth-Moon System
Science (2015)
Grade(s): 6
Earth and Space Science
All Resources: 3
Learning Activities: 2
Lesson Plans: 1
Unit Plans: 0
2 ) Construct models and use simulations (e.g., diagrams of the relationship between Earth and man-made satellites, rocket launch, International Space Station, elliptical orbits, black holes, life cycles of stars, orbital periods of objects within the solar system, astronomical units and light years) to explain the role of gravity in affecting the motions of celestial bodies bodies (e.g., planets, moons, comets, asteroids, meteors) within galaxies and the solar system.

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific and Engineering Practices:
Developing and Using Models
Crosscutting Concepts: Systems and System Models
Disciplinary Core Idea: Earth's Place in the Universe
Evidence of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Construct models to explain the role of gravity in affecting the motions of celestial bodies within galaxies and the solar system.
  • Use simulations to explain the role of gravity in affecting the motions of celestial bodies within galaxies and the solar system.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Model
  • Simulation
  • Gravity
  • Gravitational force
  • Solar system
  • Galaxy
  • Milky Way galaxy
  • Sun
  • Planets
  • Moons
  • Asteroids
  • Asteroid belt
  • Stars
  • Celestial bodies
  • Elliptical orbit
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • The solar system is a collection of bodies, including the sun, planets, moons, comets, asteroids, and meteors.
  • A galaxy is any of the very large groups of stars and associated matter that are found throughout the universe.
  • The Earth's solar system is one of many systems orbiting the center of the larger system of the Milky Way galaxy.
  • Gravity is an attractive force between solar system and galaxy objects.
  • Gravity increases as the mass of the interacting objects increases.
  • Gravity decreases as the distances between objects increases.
  • Gravity affects the orbital motion of objects in our solar system (e.g., moons orbit around planets, all objects within the solar system orbit the sun).
  • Gravity is a predominantly inward-pulling force that can keep smaller/less massive objects in orbit around larger/more massive objects.
  • Gravity causes a pattern of smaller/less massive objects orbiting around larger/more massive objects at all system scales in the universe.
  • Gravitational forces from planets cause smaller objects (e.g., moons) to orbit around planets.
  • The gravitational force of the sun causes the planets and other bodies to orbit around it, holding the solar system together.
  • The gravitational forces from the center of the Milky Way cause stars and stellar systems to orbit around the center of the galaxy.
  • The hierarchy pattern of orbiting systems in the solar system was established early in its history as the disk of dust and gas was driven by gravitational forces to form moon-planet and planet-sun orbiting systems.
  • Objects too far away from the sun do not orbit it because the sun's gravitational force on those objects is too weak to pull them into orbit.
  • Without gravity smaller planets would move in straight paths through space, rather than orbiting a more massive body.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Develop a model and identify the relevant components including gravity and celestial bodies.
  • Describe the relationships and interactions between the components of the solar and galaxy systems.
  • Use the model to describe gravity and its effects.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • Gravity is an attractive force between solar system and galaxy objects.
  • Gravity causes a pattern of smaller/less massive objects orbiting around larger/more massive objects at all systems scales in the universe.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Exploring Planetary Systems
Science (2015)
Grade(s): 6
Earth and Space Science
All Resources: 3
Learning Activities: 0
Lesson Plans: 3
Unit Plans: 0
3 ) Develop and use models to determine scale properties of objects in the solar system (e.g., scale model representing sizes and distances of the sun, Earth, moon system based on a one-meter diameter sun).

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific and Engineering Practices:
Developing and Using Models
Crosscutting Concepts: Scale, Proportion, and Quantity
Disciplinary Core Idea: Earth's Place in the Universe
Evidence of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Develop models to determine scale properties of objects in the solar system.
  • Use models to determine scale properties of objects in the solar system.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Model
  • Scale
  • Scale model
  • Properties
  • Size
  • Distance
  • Diameter
  • Solar system
  • Planet
  • Moon
  • Sun
  • Asteroid
  • Asteroid belt
  • Celestial body
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • A (scale) model is a representation or copy of an object that is larger or smaller than the actual size of the object being represented.
  • Measurements may be multiplied or divided to correctly scale objects in a model.
  • Charts and data tables may be analyzed to find patterns in data.
  • Patterns can be used to describe similarities and differences in objects in the solar system.
  • Systems and their properties may be described using more than one scale.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Develop a model of objects in the solar system and identify the relevant components.
  • Describe that different representations illustrate different characteristics of objects in the solar system, including differences in scale.
  • Use mathematics and computational thinking to determine scale properties.
  • Describe that two objects may be similar when viewed at one scale but may appear to be quite different when viewed at a different scale.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • The solar system consists of the sun and a collection of objects, including planets, their moons, and asteroids that are held in orbit around the sun by its gravitational pull on them.
  • Space phenomena can be observed at various scales using models to study systems that are too large or too small.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Researching the Sun-Earth-Moon System
Exploring Planetary Systems
Earth's Systems
Science (2015)
Grade(s): 6
Earth and Space Science
All Resources: 3
Learning Activities: 0
Lesson Plans: 3
Unit Plans: 0
4 ) Construct explanations from geologic evidence (e.g., change or extinction of particular living organisms; field evidence or representations, including models of geologic cross-sections; sedimentary layering) to identify patterns of Earth's major historical events (e.g., formation of mountain chains and ocean basins, significant volcanic eruptions, fossilization, folding, faulting, igneous intrusion, erosion).

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific and Engineering Practices:
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
Crosscutting Concepts: Patterns
Disciplinary Core Idea: Earth's Systems
Evidence of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Identify patterns of Earth's major historical events in geologic evidence.
  • Construct explanations from identified patterns regarding Earth's major historical events.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Natural event
  • Catastrophic event
  • Mountain chain
  • Ocean basin
  • Fossilization
  • Folding
  • Faulting
  • Igneous intrusion
  • Erosion
  • Volcano
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Asteroid impact
  • Geologic time scale
  • Rock
  • Rock strata
  • Fossil record
  • Relative age
  • Mineral
  • Fossil
  • Sedimentary rock
  • Lava flow
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • Major events in Earth's history include natural and catastrophic events.
  • Natural events may include formations of mountain chains, formations of ocean basins, fossilization, folding, faulting, igneous intrusion, and erosion.
  • Catastrophic events may include significant volcanic eruptions or asteroid impacts,
  • The geologic time scale interpreted from rock strata provides a way to organize Earth's history.
  • Analyses of rock strata and the fossil record provide only relative dates, not an absolute scale.
  • Rock strata are layers of rock visually distinguishable from other layers of rock.
  • Rocks are the solid mineral materials forming part of the surface of the Earth and other similar planets.
  • Fossils are a trace or print of the remains of a plant or animal of a past age preserved in plant or rock.
  • Unless they have been disturbed by subsequent activity, newer rock layers sit on top of older rock layers, allowing for a relative ordering in time of the formation of the layers (i.e., older sedimentary rocks lie beneath younger sedimentary rocks).
  • Any rocks or features that cut existing rock strata are younger than the rock strata that they cut (e.g., a younger fault cutting across older, existing rock strata).
  • The fossil record can provide relative ages based on the appearance or disappearance of organisms (e.g., fossil layers that contain only extinct animal groups are usually older than fossil layers that contain animal groups that are still alive today, and layers with only microbial fossils are typical of the earliest evidence of life).
  • Specific major events (e.g., extensive lava flows, volcanic eruptions, asteroid impacts) can be used to indicate periods of time that occurred before a given event from periods that occurred after it.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Articulate a statement that relates a given phenomenon to a scientific idea, including that geologic evidence can be used to identify patterns of Earth's major historical events.
  • Identify and use multiple valid and reliable sources of evidence to construct an explanation identifying patterns of Earth's major historical events.
  • Use reasoning to connect the evidence and support an explanation of patterns in Earth's major historical events.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • The geologic time scale interpreted from rock strata provides a way to organize Earth's history. Analyses of rock strata and the fossil record provide only relative dates, not an absolute scale.
  • Using a combination of the order of rock layers, the fossil record, and evidence of major geologic events, the relative time ordering of events can be constructed as a model for Earth's history, even though the timescales involved are immensely vaster than the lifetimes of humans or the entire history of humanity.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Exploring Planetary Systems
Science (2015)
Grade(s): 6
Earth and Space Science
All Resources: 3
Learning Activities: 1
Lesson Plans: 2
Unit Plans: 0
5 ) Use evidence to explain how different geologic processes shape Earth's history over widely varying scales of space and time (e.g., chemical and physical erosion; tectonic plate processes; volcanic eruptions; meteor impacts; regional geographical features, including Alabama fault lines, Rickwood Caverns, and Wetumpka Impact Crater).

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific and Engineering Practices:
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
Crosscutting Concepts: Scale, Proportion, and Quantity
Disciplinary Core Idea: Earth's Systems
Evidence of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Use evidence to explain how different geologic processes shape Earth's history over widely varying scales of space and time.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Evidence
  • Geology
  • Geologic process
  • Scale
  • System
  • Microscopic
  • Global
  • Time scale
  • Spatial scale
  • Uplift
  • Landslide
  • Geochemical reaction
  • Earthquake
  • Catastrophic event
  • Composition
  • Property
  • Deposition
  • Sediment
  • Surface features
  • Underground formations
  • Erosion
  • Chemical erosion
  • Physical erosion
  • Tectonic plates
  • Tectonic plate processes
  • Continent
  • Continental drift theory
  • Volcano
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Meteor
  • Meteor impact
  • Impact crater
  • Weathering
  • Fault line
  • Cavern
Knowledge:
Students:
  • The planet's systems interact over scales that range from microscopic to global in size, and they operate over fractions of a second to billions of years. These interactions have shaped Earth's history and will determine its future.
  • Processes change Earth's surface at time and spatial scales that can be large (such as slow plate motions or the uplift of large mountain ranges) or small (such as rapid landslides or microscopic geochemical reactions).
  • Many geologic processes that change Earth's features (such as earthquakes, volcanoes, and meteor impacts) usually behave gradually but are punctuated by catastrophic events.
  • The composition of Earth's layers and their properties affect the surface of Earth.
  • Geologic processes that have changed Earth's features include events like surface weathering, erosion, and deposition by the movements of water, ice, and wind.
  • Surface weathering, erosion, movement, and the deposition of sediment range from large to microscopic scales (e.g., sediment consisting of boulders and microscopic grains of sand, raindrops dissolving microscopic amounts of minerals).
  • Water's movements—both on the land and underground—cause weathering and erosion, which change the land's surface features and create underground formations.
  • The motion of the Earth's plates produces changes on a planetary scale over a range of time periods from millions to billions of years. Evidence for the motion of plates can explain large-scale features of the Earth's surface (e.g., mountains, distribution of continents) and how they change.
  • Catastrophic changes can modify or create surface features over a very short period of time compared to other geologic processes, and the results of those catastrophic changes are subject to further changes over time by processes that act on longer time scales (e.g., erosion of a meteor crater).
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Articulate a statement that relates a given phenomenon to a scientific idea, including that geologic processes have shaped the Earth's history over widely varying scales of space and time.
  • Identify the corresponding timescales for each identified geoscience process.
  • Identify and use multiple valid and reliable sources of evidence to construct an explanation that changes occur on very large or small spatial and/or temporal scales.
  • Use reasoning to connect the evidence and support an explanation for how geologic processes have changed the Earth's surface at a variety of temporal and spatial scales.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • The planet's systems interact over scales that range from microscopic to global in size, and they operate over fractions of a second to billions of years. These interactions have shaped Earth's history and will determine its future.
  • A given surface feature is the result of a broad range of geoscience processes occurring at different temporal and spatial scales.
  • Surface features will continue to change in the future as geoscience processes continue to occur.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Exploring Planetary Systems
Exploring Plate Tectonics
Science (2015)
Grade(s): 6
Earth and Space Science
All Resources: 5
Learning Activities: 0
Lesson Plans: 5
Unit Plans: 0
6 ) Provide evidence from data of the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to explain past plate motions.

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific and Engineering Practices:
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
Crosscutting Concepts: Patterns
Disciplinary Core Idea: Earth's Systems
Evidence of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Explain past plate motions with supporting evidence from data of the distribution of fossils, rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Evidence
  • Data
  • Fossils
  • Rock
  • Continent
  • Continental shelf
  • Geologic past
  • Pangea
  • Ridges
  • Volcanic ridges
  • Trenches
  • Theory of Continental Drift
  • Theory of Plate Tectonics
  • Crust
  • Mantle
  • Core
  • Lithosphere
  • Asthenosphere
  • Convection
  • Divergent boundary
  • Convergent boundary
  • Transform plate boundary
  • Seafloor
  • Seafloor structures
  • Alfred Wegener
  • Plastic flow
Knowledge:
Students:
  • Fossils are a trace or print of the remains of a plant or animal of a past age preserved in plant or rock.
  • Rocks are the solid mineral materials forming part of the surface of the Earth and other similar planets.
  • A continent is any of the world's main continuous expanses of land (i.e.,, Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America).
  • The continental shelf is the part of a continent that lies under the ocean and slopes down to the ocean floor.
  • Regions of different continents that share similar fossils and similar rocks suggest that, in the geologic past, those sections of continent were once attached and have since been separated.
  • The shapes of the continents roughly fit together like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle, suggesting that those land masses were once joined and have since separated.
  • The hypothetical land mass that existed when all the continents were joined is called Pangea.
  • The separation of continents by the sequential formation of new seafloor at the center of the ocean is inferred by age patterns in the oceanic crust that increase in age from the center of the ocean to the edges of the ocean.
  • The distribution of seafloor structures (e.g., volcanic ridges at the centers of oceans, trenches at the edges of continents) combined with the patterns of ages of the seafloor (youngest ages at the ridge, oldest ages at the trenches) supports the interpretation that new crust forms at the ridges and then moves away from the ridges as new crust continues to form and that the oldest crust is being destroyed at seafloor trenches.
  • Ridges are underwater mountain systems formed by plate tectonics.
  • Trenches are long, narrow, steep-sided depressions in the ocean floor.
  • The Theory of Continental Drift was first proposed by Alfred Wegener and proposes that part of the Earth's crust slowly drifts atop a liquid core.
  • The Theory of Plate Tectonics states that the outer rigid layer of the Earth is divided into a couple of dozen "plates" that move around across the Earth's surface relative to each other.
  • The layers of the Earth include, from outmost to innermost, the crust, mantle, outer core, and inner core. The crust and upper mantle are broken into moving plates called the lithosphere. The asthenosphere is located below the lithosphere. In the asthenosphere, there is relatively low resistance to plastic flow and convection occurs, causing plates to move.
  • The three types of plate tectonic boundaries include divergent, convergent, and transform plate boundaries.
  • Divergent boundaries occur when two tectonic plates move away from each other.
  • Convergent boundaries occur when two tectonic plates come together.
  • Transform plate boundaries occur when two plates slide past one another.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Articulate a statement that relates a given phenomenon to a scientific idea, including that past plate motions can be described with data from the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures.
  • Organize given data in a way that facilitates analysis and interpretation.
  • Analyze the data to identify relationships between the data and Earth's past plate motions.
  • Identify and use multiple valid and reliable sources of data.
  • Use evidence and reasoning to construct an explanation for the given phenomenon, which involves past plate motions.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • Maps of ancient land and water patterns, based on investigations of rocks and fossils, make clear how Earth's plates have moved great distances, collided, and spread apart.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Exploring Plate Tectonics
Science (2015)
Grade(s): 6
Earth and Space Science
All Resources: 4
Learning Activities: 1
Lesson Plans: 3
Unit Plans: 0
7 ) Use models to construct explanations of the various biogeochemical cycles of Earth (e.g., water, carbon, nitrogen) and the flow of energy that drives these processes.

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific and Engineering Practices:
Developing and Using Models
Crosscutting Concepts: Stability and Change
Disciplinary Core Idea: Earth's Systems
Evidence of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Use models to explain the various biogeochemical cycles of Earth and the flow of energy that drives these processes.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Biogeochemical
  • Biotic
  • Abiotic
  • Atom
  • Water cycle
  • Carbon cycle
  • Nitrogen cycle
  • Chemical compound
  • Hydrogen
  • Oxygen
  • Gravity
  • Atmosphere
  • Water vapor
  • Crystallize
  • Transpiration
  • Evaporation
  • Condensation
  • Precipitation
  • Glacier
  • Aquifer
  • Ice sheet
  • Organism
  • Decompose
  • Respiration
  • Element
  • Chemical process
  • Ecosystem
  • Geosphere
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Methane
  • Photosynthesis
  • Fossil fuel
  • Nitrogen
  • Carbon
  • Amino acid
  • Protein
  • DNA
  • Molecule
  • Bacteria
  • Fertilizer
  • Livestock
  • Nitrate
Knowledge:
Students:
  • The cycle of atoms between living and non-living things is known as a biogeochemical cycle.
  • Biogeochemical cycles interact through biotic and abiotic processes.
  • Biotic involves living or once living things such as plants, animals, and bacteria.
  • Abiotic involves nonliving things like air, rocks, and water.
  • Biogeochemical cycles may include, but are not limited to, the water, carbon, and nitrogen cycles.
  • The water cycle is the continuous process by which water is circulated throughout the earth and the atmosphere.
  • Water is a chemical compound made up of the elements hydrogen and oxygen.
  • Global movements of water and its changes in form are propelled by sunlight and gravity.
  • Energy from the sun drives the movement of water from the Earth (e.g., oceans, landforms, plants) into the atmosphere through transpiration and evaporation.
  • Water vapor in the atmosphere can cool and condense to form rain or crystallize to form snow or ice, which returns to Earth when pulled down by gravity.
  • Water continually cycles among land, ocean, and atmosphere via transpiration, evaporation, condensation and crystallization, and precipitation, as well as downhill flows on land.
  • Gravity causes water on land to move downhill (e.g., rivers and glaciers) and much of it eventually flows into oceans.
  • Some liquid and solid water remains on land in the form of bodies of water, glaciers and ice sheets or can be stored below ground in aquifers.
  • Some water remains in the tissues of plants and other living organisms, and this water is released when the tissues decompose. Water is also released by plants through transpiration and by other living organisms through respiration.
  • Carbon is an element found in the oceans, air, rocks, soil and all living organisms.
  • Carbon is the fundamental building block of life and an important component of many chemical processes.
  • In a process called the carbon cycle, carbon is exchanged among Earth's oceans, atmosphere, ecosystem, and geosphere.
  • Carbon is present in the atmosphere primarily attached to oxygen in a gas called carbon dioxide (CO2), but is also found in other less abundant but climatically significant gases, such as methane (CH4).
  • With the help of the Sun, through the process of photosynthesis, carbon dioxide is pulled from the air to make plant food.
  • Through food chains, the carbon that is in plants moves to the animals that eat them. When an animal eats another animal, the carbon is transferred.
  • When plants and animals die, their bodies, wood, and leaves decay bringing the carbon into the ground. Some become buried miles underground and will become fossil fuels in millions and millions of years.
  • Organisms release carbon dioxide gas through a process called respiration.
  • When humans burn fossil fuels to power factories, power plants, cars and trucks, most of the carbon quickly enters the atmosphere as carbon dioxide gas.
  • The oceans, and other bodies of water, soak up some carbon from the atmosphere.
  • Nitrogen is an element found in living things like plants and animals.
  • Nitrogen is also an important part of non-living things like the air and the soil.
  • Nitrogen atoms move slowly between living things, dead things, the air, soil and water.
  • The continuous process by which nitrogen is exchanged between organisms and the environment is called the nitrogen cycle.
  • Most of the nitrogen on Earth is in the atmosphere as molecules of nitrogen gas (N2).
  • All plants and animals need nitrogen to make amino acids, proteins, and DNA, but the nitrogen in the atmosphere is not in a form that they can use.
  • The molecules of nitrogen in the atmosphere can become usable for living things when they are broken apart during lightning strikes or fires, by certain types of bacteria, or by bacteria associated with bean plants.
  • Most plants get the nitrogen they need to grow from the soils or water in which they live. Animals get the nitrogen they need by eating plants or other animals that contain nitrogen.
  • When organisms die, their bodies decompose bringing the nitrogen into soil on land or into ocean water. Bacteria alter the nitrogen into a form that plants are able to use. Other types of bacteria are able to change nitrogen dissolved in waterways into a form that allows it to return to the atmosphere.
  • Certain actions of humans can cause changes to the nitrogen cycle and the amount of nitrogen that is stored in the land, water, air, and organisms.
  • The use of nitrogen-rich fertilizers can add too much nitrogen in nearby waterways as the fertilizer washes into streams and ponds. The waste associated with livestock farming also adds large amounts of nitrogen into soil and water. The increased nitrate levels cause plants to grow rapidly until they use up the supply and die. The number of plant-eating animals will increase when the plant supply increases and then the animals are left without any food when the plants die.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Use a model of the various biogeochemical cycles and identify the relevant components.
  • Describe the relationships between components of the model including the flow of energy.
  • Articulate a statement that relates a given phenomenon to a scientific idea, including the various biogeochemical cycles of Earth and the flow of energy that drives these processes.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • The transfer of energy drives the motion and/or cycling of matter of the various biogeochemical cycles.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Understanding Weather and Climate
Science (2015)
Grade(s): 6
Earth and Space Science
All Resources: 1
Learning Activities: 0
Lesson Plans: 1
Unit Plans: 0
8 ) Plan and carry out investigations that demonstrate the chemical and physical processes that form rocks and cycle Earth's materials (e.g., processes of crystallization, heating and cooling, weathering, deformation, and sedimentation).

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific and Engineering Practices:
Planning and Carrying out Investigations
Crosscutting Concepts: Energy and Matter
Disciplinary Core Idea: Earth's Systems
Evidence of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Plan an investigation that demonstrates the chemical processes that form rocks and cycle Earth material.
  • Plan an investigation that demonstrates the physical processes that form rocks and cycle Earth material.
  • Carry out an investigation that demonstrates the chemical processes that form rocks and cycle Earth material.
  • Carry out an investigation that demonstrates the physical processes that form rocks and cycle Earth material.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Rock
  • Melting
  • Sedimentation
  • Crystallization
  • Chemical change
  • Physical change
  • Deformation
  • Interior energy
  • Cycling
  • Weathering
  • Erosion
  • Solar energy
  • Sedimentary rock
  • Igneous rock
  • Metamorphic rock
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • Rocks are the solid mineral materials forming part of the surface of the Earth and other similar planets.
  • Different Earth processes (melting, sedimentation, crystallization) drive matter cycling (from one type of Earth material to another) through observable chemical and physical changes.
  • Chemical changes are changes that result in the formation of new chemical substances.
  • Physical changes involve changes into new forms or shapes in which the chemical identity of the substance is not changed.
  • Melting is a physical change in which a solid changes to a liquid as a result of exposure to heat.
  • Sedimentation is a process in which material (like rock or sand) is carried to the bottom of a body of water and forms a solid layer. Sedimentary rock consists of cemented sediment.
  • Crystallization is the process of the formation of crystals from a liquid. Igneous rocks are the result of crystallizing magma.
  • Deformation is a physical change in a rock's shape or size. Rocks become deformed when the Earth's crust is stretched, compressed, or heated.
  • Metamorphic rock was once one form of rock but changed to another under the influence of heat or pressure.
  • Energy from Earth's interior and the sun drive Earth processes that together cause matter cycling through different forms of Earth materials.
  • The movement of energy that originates from the Earth's hot interior causes the cycling of matter through the Earth processes of melting, crystallization, and deformation.
  • Energy from the sun causes matter to cycle via processes that produce weathering, erosion, and sedimentation (e.g., wind, rain).
  • Weathering is the chemical or physical breaking down or dissolving of rocks and minerals on Earth's surface.
  • Erosion is the act in which Earth is worn away, often by wind, water, or ice.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Identify the phenomena under investigation, which includes the chemical and physical processes of Earth.
  • Identify the purpose of the investigation, which includes demonstrating the chemical and physical processes that form rocks and cycle Earth materials.
  • Develop a plan for the investigation individually or collaboratively.
  • Describe factors used in the investigation including appropriate units (if necessary), independent and dependent variables, controls and number of trials for each experimental condition.
  • Perform the investigation as prescribed by the plan.
  • Use data from the investigation to provide an causal account of the relationship between chemical and physical processes and the formation of rocks and the cycling of Earth materials.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • All Earth processes are the result of energy flowing and matter cycling within and among the planet's systems. This energy is derived from the sun and Earth's hot interior. The energy that flows and matter that cycles produce chemical and physical changes in Earth's materials.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Exploring Plate Tectonics
Science (2015)
Grade(s): 6
Earth and Space Science
All Resources: 1
Learning Activities: 0
Lesson Plans: 1
Unit Plans: 0
9 ) Use models to explain how the flow of Earth's internal energy drives a cycling of matter between Earth's surface and deep interior causing plate movements (e.g., mid-ocean ridges, ocean trenches, volcanoes, earthquakes, mountains, rift valleys, volcanic islands).

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific and Engineering Practices:
Developing and Using Models
Crosscutting Concepts: Energy and Matter
Disciplinary Core Idea: Earth's Systems
Evidence of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Use models to explain how the flow of Earth's internal energy drives a cycling of matter between Earth's surface and deep interior causing plate movements.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Crust
  • Mantle
  • Outer core
  • Inner core
  • Lithosphere
  • Plates
  • Tectonic plates
  • Ocean plate
  • Continental plate
  • Asthenosphere
  • Convection
  • Convection current
  • Magma
  • Divergent plate boundary
  • Theory of Plate Tectonics
  • Convergent plate boundary
  • Transform plate boundary
  • Fault
  • Lava
  • Fissure
  • Geyser
  • Rift
  • Basalt
  • Granite
  • Density
  • Ocean trench
  • Subduction
  • Subduction zone
  • Earthquake
  • Mid-ocean ridge
  • Mountain
  • Rift valley
  • Volcano
  • Volcanic island
  • Undersea canyon
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • The layers of the Earth include, from outmost to innermost, the crust, mantle, outer core, and inner core.
  • The crust and upper mantle are broken into moving plates called the lithosphere. These plates are known as tectonic plates and fit around the globe like puzzle pieces.
  • The asthenosphere is located below the lithosphere. The asthenosphere is hotter and more fluid than the lithosphere. Convection occurs in the asthenosphere.
  • Convection is the transfer of heat by the actual movement of the heated material.
  • Through convection, movements deep within the Earth, which carry heat from the hot interior to the cooler surface, cause the plates to move very slowly on the surface.
  • The Theory of Plate Tectonics states that the outer rigid layer of the Earth is divided into a couple of dozen "plates" that move around across the Earth's surface relative to each other.
  • The areas where plates interact are called plate boundaries.
  • The three types of plate tectonic boundaries include divergent (dividing), convergent (colliding), and transform (grinding past each other).
  • Because ocean plates are denser than continental plates, when these two types of plates converge, the ocean plates are subducted beneath the continental plates. Subduction zones and trenches are convergent margins.
  • Subduction zones form when plates crash into each other, spreading ridges form when plates pull away from each other, and large faults form when plates slide past each other.
  • A divergent boundary occurs when two tectonic plates move away from each other. Along these boundaries, lava spews from long fissures and geysers spurt superheated water. Frequent earthquakes strike along the rift. Beneath the rift, magma—molten rock—rises from the mantle. It oozes up into the gap and hardens into solid rock, forming new crust on the torn edges of the plates. Magma from the mantle solidifies into basalt, a dark, dense rock that underlies the ocean floor. Thus at divergent boundaries, oceanic crust, made of basalt, is created.
  • When two plates come together, it is known as a convergent boundary. The impact of the two colliding plates buckles the edge of one or both plates up into a rugged mountain range called a mid-ocean ridge, and sometimes bends the other down into an ocean trench. Trenches are long, narrow, steep-sided depressions in the ocean floor. A chain of volcanoes often forms parallel to the boundary, to the mountain range, and to the trench. Powerful earthquakes shake a wide area on both sides of the boundary. If one of the colliding plates is topped with oceanic crust, it is forced down into the mantle where it begins to melt. Magma rises into and through the other plate, solidifying into new crust. Magma formed from melting plates solidifies into granite, a light colored, low-density rock that makes up the continents. Thus at convergent boundaries, continental crust, made of granite, is created, and oceanic crust is destroyed.
  • Two plates sliding past each other forms a transform plate boundary. Rocks that line the boundary are pulverized as the plates grind along, creating a rift valley or undersea canyon. As the plates alternately jam and jump against each other, earthquakes rattle through a wide boundary zone. In contrast to convergent and divergent boundaries, no magma is formed. Thus, crust is cracked and broken at transform margins, but is not created or destroyed.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Use a model of the flow of Earth's internal energy and the resulting plate movements and identify the relevant components.
  • Describe the relationships between components of the model including how the flow of Earth's internal energy drives a cycling of matter between Earth's surface and deep interior causing plate movements.
  • Articulate a statement that relates a given phenomenon to a scientific idea, including how the flow of Earth's internal energy drives a cycling of matter between Earth's surface and deep interior causing plate movements.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • The flow of Earth's internal energy drives a cycling of matter between Earth's surface and deep interior. This cycling of matter causes plate movements.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Exploring Plate Tectonics
Science (2015)
Grade(s): 6
Earth and Space Science
All Resources: 2
Learning Activities: 1
Lesson Plans: 1
Unit Plans: 0
10 ) Use research-based evidence to propose a scientific explanation regarding how the distribution of Earth's resources such as minerals, fossil fuels, and groundwater are the result of ongoing geoscience processes (e.g., past volcanic and hydrothermal activity, burial of organic sediments, active weathering of rock).

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific and Engineering Practices:
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
Crosscutting Concepts: Cause and Effect
Disciplinary Core Idea: Earth's Systems
Evidence of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence regarding how the distribution of Earth's resources such as minerals, fossil fuels, and groundwater are the result of ongoing geoscience processes.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Natural resources
  • Minerals
  • Fossil Fuels
  • Groundwater
  • Geoscience processes
  • Distribution
  • Extraction
  • Depletion
  • Water cycle
  • Rock cycle
  • Plate tectonics
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • Humans depend on Earth's land, ocean, atmosphere, and biosphere for many different resources.
  • These resources are distributed unevenly around the planet as a result of past geoscience processes.
  • The water cycle, the rock cycle, and plate tectonics are examples of geoscience processes that distribute Earth's resources.
  • The environment or conditions that formed the resources are specific to certain areas and/or times on Earth, thus identifying why those resources are found only in those specific places/periods.
  • The extraction and use of resources by humans decreases the amounts of these resources available in some locations and changes the overall distribution of these resources on Earth
  • As resources as used, they are depleted from the sources until they can be replenished, mainly through geoscience processes.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Articulate a statement that relates a given phenomenon to a scientific idea, including that ongoing geoscience processes have caused the distribution of the Earth's resources.
  • Identify and use multiple valid and reliable sources of evidence to construct a scientific explanation of the phenomenon.
  • Use reasoning to connect the evidence and support an explanation of the distribution of Earth's resources.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • The Earth's resources are formed as a result of past and ongoing geoscience processes.
  • These resources are distributed unevenly around the planet as a result of past and ongoing geoscience processes.
  • The extraction and use of resources by humans decreases the amounts of these resources available in some locations and changes the overall distribution of these resources on Earth.
  • Because many resources continue to be formed in the same ways that they were in the past, and because the amount of time required to form most of these resources (e.g., minerals, fossil fuels) is much longer than timescales of human lifetimes, these resources are limited to current and near-future generations. Some resources (e.g., groundwater) can be replenished on human timescales and are limited based on distribution.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Exploring Plate Tectonics
Science (2015)
Grade(s): 6
Earth and Space Science
All Resources: 2
Learning Activities: 1
Lesson Plans: 1
Unit Plans: 0
11 ) Develop and use models of Earth's interior composition to illustrate the resulting magnetic field (e.g., magnetic poles) and to explain its measureable effects (e.g., protection from cosmic radiation).

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific and Engineering Practices:
Developing and Using Models
Crosscutting Concepts: Cause and Effect
Disciplinary Core Idea: Earth's Systems
Evidence of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Develop models of Earth's interior composition to illustrate the resulting magnetic field.
  • Use models of Earth's interior composition to illustrate the resulting magnetic field.
  • Explain the measurable effects of Earth's magnetic field.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Interior
  • Inner Core
  • Outer Core
  • Mantle
  • Crust
  • Molten
  • Magnetic field
  • Magnetosphere
  • Magnetic poles
  • Particles
  • Solar wind
  • Cosmic radiation
  • Solar radiation
  • Waves
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • The Earth's interior consists of rock and metal. It is made up of four main layers:
    1. the inner core: a solid metal core,
    2. the outer core: a liquid molten core,
    3. the mantle: dense and mostly solid rock, and
    4. the crust: thin rock material.
  • The temperature in the core is hotter than the Sun's surface. This intense heat from the inner core causes material in the outer core and mantle to move around.
  • It is possible that the movements of material deep within the Earth generate the Earth's magnetic field, called the magnetosphere.
  • The Earth has a magnetic field with north and south poles. The Earth's magnetic field reaches 36,000 miles into space.
  • The magnetosphere prevents most of the particles from the sun, carried in solar wind, from hitting the Earth.
  • Cosmic radiation, which includes solar radiation, is energy from space transmitted in the form of waves or particles.
  • The Sun and other planets have magnetospheres, but the Earth has the strongest one of all the rocky planets.
  • The Earth's north and south magnetic poles reverse at irregular intervals of hundreds of thousands of years.
  • Conditions inside the magnetosphere can create "space weather" that can affect technological systems and human activities. Technological systems that can be impacted may include the operations of satellites, the orbits of low-altitude Earth orbiting satellites, communication and navigations systems.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Develop a model of Earth's internal composition and identify the relevant components.
  • Describe the relationships between components of the model.
  • Use observations from the model to provide causal accounts for events and make predictions for events by constructing explanations.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • The composition of Earth's interior may produce a magnetic field with effects that can be measured.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Researching the Sun-Earth-Moon System
Science (2015)
Grade(s): 6
Earth and Space Science
All Resources: 3
Learning Activities: 1
Lesson Plans: 2
Unit Plans: 0
12 ) Integrate qualitative scientific and technical information (e.g., weather maps; diagrams; other visualizations, including radar and computer simulations) to support the claim that motions and complex interactions of air masses result in changes in weather conditions.

a. Use various instruments (e.g., thermometers, barometers, anemometers, wet bulbs) to monitor local weather and examine weather patterns to predict various weather events, especially the impact of severe weather (e.g., fronts, hurricanes, tornados, blizzards, ice storms, droughts).

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific and Engineering Practices:
Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information; Analyzing and Interpreting Data
Crosscutting Concepts: Cause and Effect
Disciplinary Core Idea: Earth's Systems
Evidence of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Support the claim that motions and complex interactions of air masses result in changes in weather conditions using qualitative scientific and technical information.
  • Monitor local weather using a variety of instruments.
  • Examine weather patterns to predict various weather events, especially the impact of severe weather.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Integrate
  • Qualitative scientific information
  • Technical information
  • Weather map
  • Radar
  • Visualization
  • Weather
  • Air mass
  • Temperature
  • Pressure
  • Humidity
  • Precipitation
  • Wind
  • Uniform
  • Temperature
  • Moisture
  • Landform
  • Current
  • Probability
  • Atmosphere
  • Monitor
  • Instruments
  • Predict
  • Weather patterns
  • Severe weather
  • Temperature
  • Moisture
  • Pressure
  • Humidity
  • Precipitation
  • Wind
  • Atmosphere
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • Qualitative scientific and technical information may include weather maps, diagrams, and visualizations, including radar and computer simulations.
  • Qualitative scientific information may be obtained through laboratory experiments.
  • Weather is the condition of the atmosphere as defined by temperature, pressure, humidity, precipitation, and wind.
  • An air mass is a large body of air with uniform temperature, moisture, and pressure.
  • Air masses flow from regions of high pressure to low pressure, causing weather at a fixed location to change over time.
  • Sudden changes in weather can result when different air masses collide.
  • The distribution and movement of air masses can be affected by landforms, ocean temperatures, and currents.
  • Relationships exist between observed, large-scale weather patterns and the location or movement of air masses, including patterns that develop between air masses (e.g., cold fronts may be characterized by thunderstorms).
  • Due to the complexity and multiple causes of weather patterns, probability must be used to predict the weather.*Local atmospheric conditions (weather) may be monitored by collecting data on temperature, pressure, humidity, precipitation, and wind.
  • Instruments may be used to measure local weather conditions. These instruments may include, but are not limited to, thermometers, barometers, and anemometers.
  • Weather events, specifically severe weather, can be predicted based on weather patterns.
  • Severe weather may include, but is not limited to, fronts, thunderstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, ice storms, and droughts.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Make a claim, to be supported by evidence, to support or refute an explanation or model for a given phenomenon, including the idea that motions and complex interactions of air masses result in changes in weather conditions.
  • Identify evidence to support the claim from the given materials including qualitative scientific and technical information.
  • Evaluate the evidence for its necessity and sufficiency for supporting the claim.
  • Determine whether the evidence is sufficient to determine causal relationships between the motions and complex interactions of air masses and changes in weather conditions.
  • Consider alternative interpretations of the evidence and describe why the evidence supports the claim they are making, as opposed to any alternative claims.
  • Use reasoning to connect the evidence and evaluation to the claim that motions and complex interactions of air masses result in changes in weather conditions.
  • Use instruments to collect local weather data.
  • Monitor local weather data.
  • Use patterns observed from collected data to provide causal accounts for weather events and make predictions.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • The complex patterns of the changes and the movement of water in the atmosphere, determined by winds, landforms, and ocean temperatures and currents, are major determinants of local weather patterns. Because these patterns are so complex, weather can only be predicted based on probability.
  • Instruments may be used to monitor local weather.
  • Weather patterns can be used to predict weather events.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Understanding Weather and Climate (for both 12 and 12a)
Science (2015)
Grade(s): 6
Earth and Space Science
All Resources: 2
Learning Activities: 0
Lesson Plans: 2
Unit Plans: 0
13 ) Use models (e.g., diagrams, maps, globes, digital representations) to explain how the rotation of Earth and unequal heating of its surface create patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation that determine regional climates.

a. Use experiments to investigate how energy from the sun is distributed between Earth's surface and its atmosphere by convection and radiation (e.g., warmer water in a pan rising as cooler water sinks, warming one's hands by a campfire).

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific and Engineering Practices:
Developing and Using Models
Crosscutting Concepts: Systems and System Models
Disciplinary Core Idea: Earth's Systems
Evidence of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Explain by using models, how the rotation of Earth and unequal heating of its surface create patterns of atmospheric circulation that determine regional climates.
  • Explain by using models, how the rotation of Earth and unequal heating of its surface create patterns of oceanic circulation that determine regional climates.
  • Use experiments to investigate how energy from the sun is distributed between Earth's surface and its atmosphere by convection.
  • Use experiments to investigate how energy from the sun is distributed between Earth's surface and its atmosphere by radiation.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Model
  • Diagram
  • Map
  • Globe
  • Digital representation
  • Rotation
  • Heat
  • Pattern
  • Atmosphere
  • Atmospheric circulation
  • Ocean
  • Oceanic circulation
  • Climate
  • Regional climate
  • Radiation
  • Sun
  • Solar energy
  • Thermal energy
  • Water
  • Land
  • Ice
  • Temperature
  • Matter
  • Conduction
  • Latitude
  • Altitude
  • Geography
  • Geographic land distribution
  • Precipitation
  • Absorption
  • Landform
  • Atmospheric flow
  • Mountain
  • Rain shadow effect
  • Coriolis force
  • Fluid
  • Density
  • Salinity
  • Global ocean convection cycle
  • Landmass
  • Marine
  • Coast
  • Variation
  • Radiation
  • Electromagnetic wave
  • Space
  • Convection
  • Current
  • Liquid
  • Gas
  • Equator
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • Radiation from the sun (solar energy) introduces heat (thermal energy) into Earth's atmosphere, water, land, and ice.
  • Thermal energy exists in the atmosphere, water, land, and ice as represented by temperature.
  • Thermal energy moves from areas of high temperature to areas of lower temperature either through the movement of matter, via radiation, or via conduction of heat from warmer objects to cooler objects.
  • Absorbing or releasing thermal energy produces a more rapid change in temperature on land compared to in water.
  • Absorbing or releasing thermal energy produces a more rapid change in temperature in the atmosphere compared to either on land or in water so the atmosphere is warmed or cooled by being in contact with land or the ocean.
  • The rotation of Earth and unequal heating of its surface create patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation.
  • Patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation vary by latitude, altitude, and geographic land distribution.
  • Higher latitudes receive less solar energy per unit of area than do lower latitudes, resulting in temperature differences based on latitude.
  • A general latitudinal pattern in climate exists where higher average annual temperatures are found near the equator and lower average annual temperatures are at higher latitudes.
  • Latitudinal temperature differences are caused by more direct light (greater energy per unit of area) at the equator (more solar energy) and less direct light at the poles (less solar energy).
  • A general latitudinal pattern of drier and wetter climates caused by the shift in the amount of air moisture during precipitation from rising moisture-rich air and the sinking of dry air.
  • In general, areas at higher altitudes have lower average temperatures than do areas at lower altitudes. Because of the direct relationship between temperature and pressure, given the same amount of thermal energy, air at lower pressures (higher altitudes) will have lower temperatures than air at higher pressures (lower altitudes).
  • Features on the Earth's surface, such as the amount of solar energy reflected back into the atmosphere or the absorption of solar energy by living things, affect the amount of solar energy transferred into heat energy.
  • Landforms affect atmospheric flows (e.g., mountains deflect wind and/or force it to higher elevation, known as the rain shadow effect).
  • The geographical distribution of land limits where ocean currents can flow.
  • The Earth's rotation causes oceanic and atmospheric flows to curve when viewed from the rotating surface of Earth (Coriolis force).
  • Fluid matter (i.e., air, water) flows from areas of higher density to areas of lower density (due to temperature or salinity). The density of a fluid can vary for several different reasons (e.g., changes in salinity and temperature of water can each cause changes in density). Differences in salinity and temperature can, therefore, cause fluids to move vertically and, as a result of vertical movement, also horizontally because of density differences.
  • Ocean circulation is dependent upon the transfer of heat by the global ocean convection cycle, which is constrained by the Coriolis effect and the outlines of continents.
  • Because water can absorb more solar energy for every degree change in temperature compared to land, there is a greater and more rapid temperature change on land than in the ocean. At the centers of landmasses, this leads to conditions typical of continental climate patterns.
  • Climates near large water bodies, such as marine coasts, have comparatively smaller changes in temperature relative to the center of the landmass. Land near the oceans can exchange thermal energy through the air, resulting in smaller changes in temperature. At the edges of landmasses, this leads to marine climates.
  • Variations in density due to variations in temperature and salinity drive a global pattern of interconnected ocean currents.
  • Radiation is the transfer of heat energy by electromagnetic wave motion. The transfer of energy from the sun across nearly empty space is accomplished primarily by radiation.
  • Radiation from the sun (solar energy) introduces heat (thermal energy) into Earth's atmosphere, water, land, and ice.
  • Convection is the transfer of heat by a current and can occur in a liquid or a gas.
  • When air near the ground is warmed by heat radiating from Earth's surface. The warm air is less dense, so it rises. As it rises, it cools. The cool air is dense, so it sinks to the surface. This creates a convection current.
  • Convection is the most important way that heat travels in the atmosphere.
  • Convection in the atmosphere is responsible for the redistribution of heat from the warm equatorial regions to higher latitudes and from the surface upward.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Use a model of Earth and identify the relevant components of Earth's system, including inputs and outputs.
  • Describe the relationships between components of the model including how the rotation of Earth and unequal heating of its surface create patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation.
  • Articulate a statement that relates a given phenomenon to a scientific idea, including how the rotation of Earth and unequal heating of its surface create patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation.
  • Identify and describe the phenomenon under investigation, which includes how energy is distributed between Earth's surface and its atmosphere.
  • Identify and describe the purpose of the investigation, which includes providing evidence that energy from the sun is distributed between Earth's surface and its atmosphere by convection and radiation.
  • Collect and record data, according to the given investigation plan.
  • Evaluate the data to determine how energy from the sun is distributed between Earth's surface and its atmosphere by convection and radiation.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • Weather and climate are influenced by interactions involving sunlight, the ocean, the atmosphere, ice, landforms, and organisms. These interactions vary with latitude, altitude, and local and regional geography, all of which can affect oceanic and atmospheric flow patterns.
  • The ocean exerts a major influence on weather and climate by absorbing energy from the sun, releasing it over time, and globally redistributing it through ocean currents.
  • Radiation from the sun (solar energy) introduces heat (thermal energy) into Earth's atmosphere, water, land, and ice and is represented by temperature. Thermal energy moves from areas of high temperature to areas of lower temperature on Earth's surface and in its atmosphere either through radiation or convection.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Understanding Weather and Climate (for both 13 and 13a)
Science (2015)
Grade(s): 6
Earth and Space Science
All Resources: 3
Learning Activities: 0
Lesson Plans: 3
Unit Plans: 0
14 ) Analyze and interpret data (e.g., tables, graphs, maps of global and regional temperatures; atmospheric levels of gases such as carbon dioxide and methane; rates of human activities) to describe how various human activities (e.g., use of fossil fuels, creation of urban heat islands, agricultural practices) and natural processes (e.g., solar radiation, greenhouse effect, volcanic activity) may cause changes in local and global temperatures over time.

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific and Engineering Practices:
Analyzing and Interpreting Data
Crosscutting Concepts: Stability and Change
Disciplinary Core Idea: Earth's Systems
Evidence of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Analyze data to describe how various human activities may cause changes in local and global temperatures over time.
  • Interpret data to describe how various human activities may cause changes in local and global temperatures over time.
  • Analyze data to describe how various natural processes may cause changes in local and global temperatures over time.
  • Interpret data to describe how various natural processes may cause changes in local and global temperatures over time.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Natural processes
  • Human activities
  • Global temperatures
  • Mean surface temperature
  • Global warming
  • Solar radiation
  • Greenhouse Effect
  • Volcanic activity
  • Fossil fuels
  • Combustion
  • Urban heat islands
  • Agriculture
  • Natural systems
  • Carbon dioxide (gases)
  • Greenhouse gases
  • Concentration
  • Atmosphere
  • Climate change
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • Natural processes and/or human activities may have affected the patterns of change in global temperatures over the past century, leading to the current rise in Earth's mean surface temperature (global warming).
  • Natural processes may include factors such as changes in incoming solar radiation, the greenhouse effect, or volcanic activity.
  • Human activities may include factors such as fossil fuel combustion, the creation of urban heat islands, and agricultural activity.
  • Natural processes and/or human activities may lead to a gradual or sudden change in global temperatures in natural systems (e.g., glaciers and arctic ice, and plant and animal seasonal movements and life cycle activities).
  • Natural processes and/or human activities may have led to changes in the concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over the past century.
  • Patterns in data connect natural processes and human activities to changes in global temperatures over the past century.
  • Patterns in data connect the changes in natural processes and/or human activities related to greenhouse gas production to changes in the concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
  • Reducing the level of climate change and reducing human vulnerability to whatever climate changes do occur depend on the understanding of climate science, engineering capabilities, and other kinds of knowledge, such as understanding of human behavior and on applying that knowledge wisely in decisions and activities.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Organize given data on various human activities, natural processes, and changes in local and global temperatures to allow for analysis and interpretation.
  • Analyze the data to identify possible causal relationships between human activities and natural processes and changes in local and global temperature over time.
  • Interpret patterns observed from the data to provide causal accounts for events and make predictions for events by constructing explanations.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • Human activities and natural processes may affect local and global temperatures over time.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Understanding Weather and Climate
Earth and Human Activity
Science (2015)
Grade(s): 6
Earth and Space Science
All Resources: 5
Learning Activities: 0
Lesson Plans: 5
Unit Plans: 0
15 ) Analyze evidence (e.g., databases on human populations, rates of consumption of food and other natural resources) to explain how changes in human population, per capita consumption of natural resources, and other human activities (e.g., land use, resource development, water and air pollution, urbanization) affect Earth's systems.

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific and Engineering Practices:
Analyzing and Interpreting Data
Crosscutting Concepts: Cause and Effect
Disciplinary Core Idea: Earth and Human Activity
Evidence of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Analyze evidence regarding how changes in human population, per capita consumption of natural resources, and other human activities affect Earth's systems.
  • Explain how changes in human population, per capita consumption of natural resources, and other human activities affect Earth's systems.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Population
  • Per capita
  • Consumption
  • Natural resource
  • Environment
  • Earth's systems
  • Consequences
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • Increases in the size of the human population or in the per capita consumption of a given population cause increases in the consumption of natural resources.
  • Natural resources are any naturally occurring substances or features of the environment that, while not created by human effort, can be exploited by humans to satisfy their needs or wants.
  • Per capita consumption is the average use per person within a population.
  • Natural resource consumption causes changes in Earth systems.
  • Engineered solutions alter the effects of human populations on Earth systems by changing the rate of natural resource consumption or reducing the effects of changes in Earth systems.
  • All human activity draws on natural resources and has both short and long-term consequences, positive as well as negative, for the health of people and the natural environment.
  • The consequences of increases in human populations and consumption of natural resources are described by science, but science does not make the decisions for the actions society takes.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Organize given evidence regarding changes in human population, changes in per capita consumption of natural resources, human activities, and Earth's systems to allow for analysis and interpretation.
  • Analyze the data to identify possible causal relationships between changes in human population, changes in per capita consumption of natural resources, human activities, and Earth's systems.
  • Interpret patterns observed from the data to provide causal accounts for events and make predictions for events by constructing explanations.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • Human population growth affects natural resource consumption and natural resource consumption has an effect on Earth systems; therefore, changes in human populations have a causal role in changing Earth systems.
  • Typically as human populations and per-capita consumption of natural resources increase, so do the negative impacts on Earth unless the activities and technologies involved are engineered otherwise.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Exploring Planetary Systems
Understanding Weather and Climate
Science (2015)
Grade(s): 6
Earth and Space Science
All Resources: 2
Learning Activities: 0
Lesson Plans: 2
Unit Plans: 0
16 ) Implement scientific principles to design processes for monitoring and minimizing human impact on the environment (e.g., water usage, including withdrawal of water from streams and aquifers or construction of dams and levees; land usage, including urban development, agriculture, or removal of wetlands; pollution of air, water, and land).*

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific and Engineering Practices:
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
Crosscutting Concepts: Cause and Effect
Disciplinary Core Idea: Earth and Human Activity
Evidence of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Design a process for monitoring human impact on the environment using scientific principles.
  • Design a process for minimizing human impact on the environment using scientific principles.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Habitat
  • Extinction
  • Species
  • Human Impact
  • Population
  • Per-capita consumption
  • Technology
  • Object
  • System
  • Process
  • Engineer
  • Engineering Design Process (EDP)
  • Monitor
  • Minimize
  • Solution
  • Causal and correlational relationships
  • Criteria
  • Constraints
  • Limitations
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • Human activities have significantly altered the environment, sometimes damaging or destroying natural habitats and causing the extinction of other species.
  • Changes to Earth's environments can have different positive and negative impacts for different living things.
  • Typically as human populations and per-capita consumption of natural resources increase, so do the negative impacts on Earth unless the activities and technologies involved are engineered otherwise.
  • Technology is anything man-made that solves a problem or fulfills a desire.
  • Technology can be an object, system, or process.
  • Engineering is a systematic and often iterative approach to designing objects, processes, and systems to meet human needs and wants.
  • The Engineering Design Process (EDP) is a series of steps engineers use to guide them as they solve problems.
  • The EDP may include the following cyclical steps: ask, imagine, plan, create, and improve.
  • Scientific information and principles regarding human impact on the environment must be used to design a process or solution that addresses the results of a particular human activity.
  • Scientific information and principles regarding human impact on the environment must be used to design a process or solution that incorporates technologies that can be used to monitor negative effects that human activities have on the environment.
  • Scientific information and principles regarding human impact on the environment must be used to design a process or solution that incorporates technologies that can be used to minimize negative effects that human activities have on the environment.
  • Causal and correlational relationships between the human activity and the negative environmental impact must be distinguished to facilitate the design of the process or solution.
  • Criteria and constraints for the solution must be defined and quantified to include individual or societal needs or desires and constraints imposed by economic conditions (e.g., costs of building and maintaining the solution).
  • Criteria are the principles or standards by which the process or solution is judged.
  • Constraints are the limitations or restrictions on the process or solution.
  • The process or solution must meet the criteria and constraints.
  • Limitations of the use of technologies exist.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Use scientific information and principles to generate a design solution for a problem related to human impact on the environment.
  • Identify relationships between the human activity and the negative environmental impact based on scientific principles.
  • Distinguish between causal and correlational relationships to facilitate the design of the solution.
  • Define and quantify, when appropriate, criteria and constraints for the solution.
  • Describe how well the solution meets the criteria and constraints, including monitoring or minimizing a human impact based on the causal relationships between relevant scientific principles about the processes that occur in, as well as among, Earth systems and the human impact on the environment.
  • Identify limitations of the use of technologies employed by the solution.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • A process or solution must meet criteria and constraints, including monitoring or minimizing a human impact based on the causal relationships between relevant scientific principles about the processes that occur in, as well as among, Earth systems and the human impact on the environment.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Exploring Planetary Systems