Work in Progress
Please pardon our progress while we refine the look and functionality of our new ALEX site! You can still access the old ALEX site at If you would like to share feedback or have a question for the ALEX Team, you can use the contact form here, or email us directly at

AAS.SC15.5.14 Identify how the atmosphere and hydrosphere interact to support life (e.g. air, water).

Unpacked Content

Scientific and Engineering Practices

Developing and Using Models

Crosscutting Concepts

Systems and System Models


Students know:
  • Earth's major systems are the geosphere (solid and molten rock, soil, and sediments), the hydrosphere (water and ice), the atmosphere, and the biosphere (living things, including humans).
  • These systems interact in multiple ways to affect Earth's surface materials and processes.
  • The ocean supports a variety of ecosystems and organisms, shapes landforms, and influences climate.
  • Winds and clouds in the atmosphere interact with the landforms to determine patterns of weather.


Students are able to:
  • Develop a model, using a specific given example of a phenomenon, to describe ways that the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact. In the model, identify the relevant components of their example, including features of two of the following systems that are relevant for the given example:
    • Geosphere (i.e., solid and molten rock, soil, sediment, continents, mountains).
    • Hydrosphere (i.e., water and ice in the form of rivers, lakes, glaciers).
    • Atmosphere (i.e., wind, oxygen).
    • Biosphere [i.e., plants, animals (including humans)].
  • Identify and describe relationships (interactions) within and between the parts of the Earth systems identified in the model that are relevant to the example (e.g., the atmosphere and the hydrosphere interact by exchanging water through evaporation and precipitation; the hydrosphere and atmosphere interact through air temperature changes, which lead to the formation or melting of ice).
  • Use the model to describe a variety of ways in which the parts of two major Earth systems in the specific given example interact to affect the Earth's surface materials and processes in that context. Use the model to describe how parts of an individual Earth system:
    • Work together to affect the functioning of that Earth system.
    • Contribute to the functioning of the other relevant Earth system.


Students understand that:
  • Systems, like the atmosphere, biosphere, geosphere, and hydrosphere, can be described in terms of their components and their interactions.


  • Atmosphere
  • Hydrosphere
  • Geosphere
  • Biosphere
  • Model
  • Phenomenon
  • System
  • Earth