Learning Catalog

Earth Space Science (lab)/Earth Space Science Honors (lab)

Earth Space Science (lab)/Earth Space Science Honors (lab)

Credits 1

Competency Group Overview

Meets elective credit

Competencies

  • Matter and Energy
    Student will demonstrate understanding of matter and energy by researching and using the properties of atoms and elements to solve problem as well as explaining the laws of conservation of matter and energy.
  • Earth’s Atmosphere: Weather and Climate
    Student will demonstrate knowledge of Earth’s atmosphere by identifying its structure and composition, investigating the relationships between temperature, pressure and altitude, and analyzing data to determine weather patterns.
  • Fresh Water System
    Student will demonstrate understanding of the fresh water system by explaining the processes that cause cycling of water in our atmosphere and on Earth and identifying the natural and human processes that impact water quality.
  • The Universe
    Student will demonstrate understanding of the universe by investigating a variety of technologies used by astronomers and analyzing data to explain the origins and contents of the universe, including stars and galaxies.
  • Rocks and Minerals
    Student will demonstrate understanding of rocks and minerals by examining the physical characteristics of rocks and minerals and using this information to draw conclusions about the rock’s history and connection to the rock cycle.
  • Geologic Time
    Student will demonstrate understanding of Earth’s past by describing geologic time, summarizing the principles and laws by which geologist make assumptions about time, and using fossil evidence to infer events of the distant past.
  • Earth's Oceans
    Student will demonstrate understanding of Earth’s oceans by analyzing how ocean currents can affect our weather and climate as well as collecting data to illustrate how the gravitational pull of the moon causes tides.
  • Solar System
    Student will demonstrate understanding of the solar system by explaining how physical forces have impacted our solar system both during its formation and the present day, and by observing how the temporal and spatial interrelationships amongst the distinct parts of the solar system create phenomena such as moon phases, seasons and eclipses.
  • Earth's Geosphere
    Student will demonstrate an understanding of Earth's geosphere by describing the structure and composition of Earth’s interior and explaining how Earth events, abruptly and over time, can bring about changes in Earth’s surface.

Pre-Requisites

None

Honors

Course: To take the Honors version, please select the course from the"Advance/Honors/AP" drop down during registration.

Project/Experience: Honors is awarded by earning "Exceeds" on all rubric assessments.

Status:

Open

Estimated Completion Time

2 segments / 32-36 weeks

Overview

Be captivated by the wonders and beauty of the third planet from our Sun, Earth. Be amazed by what awaits your discovery within our solar system and beyond. It is your turn to explore the universe.

Earth/Space Science is a laboratory course focusing on the study of space, geologic structures and forces, the waters on our planet, and the atmospheric forces that shape our world. Through experimentation and investigation, students will explore the earth cycles including the geosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, atmosphere, and the carbon cycle. Students will learn about scientific inquiry, geologic time, space exploration, the solar system, and the universe. Students will use web 2.0 tools, interactive experiences, higher-order thinking, collaborative projects, and real-world application through labs and a variety of assessments. Upon completion of the course, students will have a clear understanding of the dynamic forces at work in the world around them, becoming better caretakers of our planet, Earth.

 

Note: content varies depending on the course version. For currently enrolled students, please refer to the syllabus located in the course information area for curriculum specifics.

Major Topics and Concepts

 

Beginning with Science

  • Science processes
  • Observations and inferences
  • Historical frame of reference- scientists and explorers
  • Theory vs. law, science vs. pseudoscience
  • Cryosphere, Hydrosphere, Biosphere, Atmosphere, Geosphere

 

Segment 1

  • Climate and Meteorology
    • Structure of the atmosphere
    • Trends in temperature and atmospheric pressure
    • Factors influencing weather and climate
    • Humidity, air pressure, air masses, temperature, long term conditions
    • Global air circulation and winds, Coriolis effect
    • Severe weather formation, influence on human behavior
    • Severe Storms; Lightning (Honors)
  • Freshwater
    • Water cycle
    • Conservation (Honors)
    • Water Quality
    • Groundwater
    • Surface water
  • Rocks and Minerals
    • Properties of minerals
    • Rock cycle
    • Soil and soil formation
    • Rocks and minerals as resources
  • The Universe
    • Light waves
    • Space exploration
    • Gravitational forces
    • Stars and Constellations (Honors)

 

Segment 2

  • Geologic Time
    • Gregorian calendar
    • Relative and absolute time (Honors)
    • Origin and evolution of life
    • Geologic time scale, geologic periods and history
    • Fossils, fossil formation
    • Reading series of events in sedimentary rocks based on principles of geology
  • Oceans
    • Composition of ocean water
    • Ocean currents
    • Sea floor features
    • Using latitude and longitude to navigate and locate points on the globe/map reading
    • Climate and current connection
  • Our Solar System
    • Organization of the Milky Way and types of galaxies in general
    • Characteristics of stars – focus on ours – the sun
    • The planets in our solar system
    • Moon/Earth Relationships
    • Moon phases
    • Effects of the moon on tides
    • Kepler’s Law, Newton’s Law
    • Sun/Earth Relationships
    • Rotation and revolution characteristics
    • Causes of seasons
  • The Geosphere
    • Layers of the Earth
    • Carbon cycle
    • Plate tectonics
    • Continental drift
    • Surface features
    • Geologic events (Honors)

 

 

Career

Park Ranger

Status:

Open

Estimated Completion Time

3-4 weeks

Competency

Weather and Climate: Student will demonstrate knowledge of Earth’s atmosphere by identifying its structure and composition, investigating the relationships between temperature, pressure and altitude, and analyzing data to determine weather patterns.

Project

You are a Park Ranger. You are creating a mountain weather safety manual for hikers. Your manual will explain the dangers of mountain weather by investigating the relationships of temperature, pressure, and altitude. Your manual will educate hikers about Earth’s atmosphere and how weather is created within the atmosphere.

Career

Emergency Management Risk Consultant

Status:

Open

Estimated Completion Time

3-4 weeks

Competency

Earth’s Geosphere: Student will demonstrate an understanding of Earth’s geosphere and composition of Earth’s interior by explaining how Earth events, abruptly and over time, can bring about changes in Earth’s surface.

Project

You are an Emergency Management Risk Consultant. You have been asked to provide a presentation on Earth’s geosphere to your team so that they can study the risk of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. In order to study the risks, you need to provide an understanding of the structural geology, mechanisms of movement, and geological events that affect earthquakes and volcanoes. Along with the presentation, you will produce two risk assessment checklists. One checklist will focus on earthquake risk and the other on volcano risk.

Career

Marine Navigator

Status:

Open

Estimated Completion Time

3-4 weeks

Competency

Earth’s Oceans: Student will demonstrate understanding of Earth’s oceans by hypothesizing how ocean currents can affect our weather and climate by mapping their location and movement as well as collecting data to illustrate how the gravitational pull of the moon causes tides.

Project

You are a Marine Navigator for an international shipping company. As the marine navigator, you are responsible for finding the fastest, safest, and least expensive shipping route for your company’s vessel. You will need to consider ocean currents, weather, climate, and tidal factors to find the most ideal route.

Career

Career Counselor

Status:

Open

Estimated Completion Time

3-4 weeks

Competency

Fresh Water System: Student will demonstrate understanding of the freshwater system by explaining the processes that cause cycling of water in our atmosphere and on Earth and identifying the natural and human processes that impact water quality.

Project

You are a Career Counselor at a university. The Dean of Science has asked you to create a booklet to help environmental science students understand water and water quality issues that pertain to the wide variety of careers related to water quality. Water quality impacts human health, livelihood, and economic activity. The booklet will need to provide a broad understanding for students, on how water quality is affected by natural and human impacts, and will identify a career.

Career

Curator

Status:

Open

Estimated Completion Time

3-4 weeks

Competency

Geologic Time: Student will demonstrate understanding of Earth’s past by describing geologic time, summarizing the principles and laws by which geologists make assumptions about time, and using fossil evidence to infer events of the distant past.

Project

You are the Curator of a paleontological site’s visitor center. You are creating an exhibit about the history of fossil discovery and current fossil research for the general public. You will look closely into paleontological discoveries to understand geologic time, relative and absolute dating techniques, and how basic geologic principles are used in fossil research.

Career

Energy Auditor

Status:

Open

Estimated Completion Time

3-4 weeks

Competency

Matter and Energy: Student will demonstrate understanding of matter and energy by researching the properties of atoms and elements as well as explaining the laws of conservation of matter and energy using specific data and examples.

Project

You are an Energy Auditor for a television show like Extreme Home Makeover. Your team is updating an old Victorian house. You are are responsible for recommending the best heating options and recommending updates to improve the heating efficiency of the house.

Career

Geologist

Status:

Open

Estimated Completion Time

3-4 weeks

Competency

Rocks and Minerals: Student will demonstrate understanding of rocks and minerals by examining the physical characteristics of rocks and minerals and using this information to draw conclusions about the rock’s history and connection to the rock cycle.

Project

You are a Geologist attending the Geological Society Annual Conference. You have been chosen to present information about interesting rocks and rock formations. You will act as a virtual tour guide by creating a slide presentation that takes your audience to different parts of the United States where significant rocks and rock formations exist. You recognize that every rock tells a story, and you will want to choose the minerals, rocks, and, rock formations with the most interesting stories for your tour.

Career

Scriptwriter

Status:

Open

Estimated Completion Time

3-4 weeks

Competency

Solar System: Student will demonstrate understanding of the solar system by explaining how physical forces have impacted our solar system both during its formation and the present day, and by observing how the temporal and spatial interrelationships amongst the distinct parts of the solar system create phenomena such as moon phases, seasons and eclipses.

Project

You are a Scriptwriter for a Planetarium. You have been asked to prepare a script and slideshow. Your job is to explain the formation of the solar system, characteristics of objects in the solar system, eclipses, moon phases and the seasons.

Career

Astronomy Researcher

Status:

Open

Estimated Completion Time

3-4 weeks

Competency

The Universe: Student will demonstrate understanding of the universe by investigating a variety of technologies used by astronomers and analyzing laboratory data to explain the origins and contents of the universe, including stars and galaxies.

Project

You are a Astronomy Program Director for a major research university. You will write a proposal to the National Science Foundation grant committee to support research in the origin of stars and galaxies.

In your budget, you will need to specify tools to purchase, such as optical telescopes, radio telescopes, satellites, unmanned probes, or manned spacecrafts (depending on what you feel will be most useful).

Status:

Open

The Experiences Pathway allows students to demonstrate mastery of competencies and earn credit through experiences, such as internships, travel, service learning, entrepreneurship, or independent study. Students may elect to meet all competencies in a particular competency group (i.e., English 1 or Economics) or they can master  competencies in multiple discipline areas. Once a student enrolls, a VLACS instructor will work with the student to refine the Experience, identify the competencies that will be met, and determine products that will demonstrate mastery of each competency.

In Experiences students will:

  1. Use google drive.
  2. Meet weekly or every two weeks with their instructor.
  3. Secure an outside expert.
  4. Plan the experience prior to completing it. (Credit is not awarded for experiences completed prior to enrollment and completion of the planning process.)

Here is how to enroll in an Experience.

  1. Identify the course(s) that matches most closely with your Experience.
  2. Click “Enroll Now” from www.vlacs.org or from our learning catalog.
  3. From the enrollment page, navigate to the course that matches your Experience.
  4. Select all competencies that you hope to meet through your Experience. Do not worry if you are unsure of the exact competencies, they can be adjusted.
  5. Select the Experience bubble.
  6. If there are additional competencies from other discipline areas you hope to meet, enroll in these in the same manner.
  7. Your parent/guardian will receive an email asking for approval of your enrollment. This must be completed before we can assign you an instructor.
  8. You will receive a welcome email from your instructor within five days, given that space is available.

Independent Study

By signing up for an independent study, you will be able to direct your own learning, identifying what you want to learn and how you will demonstrate that you mastered your learning objectives.

Internship

Internships allow you to gain professional experience, make connections, and become familiar with a career, while working on site with mentors and professionals in a career of your interest.

Travel

While travel can be a great experience for learning life lessons, it is also an excellent way to acquire the knowledge and skills that allow you to demonstrate mastery in a variety of competencies.  The world is a classroom and travel experiences will connect your real world experiences to the learning that you seek.

Service Learning

In Service Learning, you collaborate with members of your community to address issues to improve your community. You will connect your service with discipline specific content so that learning can takes place through problem solving and collaboration.

Entrepreneurship

Starting your own business is a great way to learn. This type of experience allows you to engage in an entrepreneurial experience and receive credit for competencies you master through this experience.

See all VLACS offerings

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