Science - Earth Science
The Science Core describes what students should know and be able to do at the end of each course. It was developed, critiqued, piloted, and revised by a community of Utah science teachers, university science educators, State Office of Education specialists, scientists, expert national consultants, and an advisory committee representing a wide diversity of people from the community. The Core reflects the current philosophy of science education that is expressed in national documents developed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Academies of Science. This Science Core has the endorsement of the Utah Science Teachers Association. The Core reflects high standards of achievement in science for all students.
Organization of the Science Core
The Core is designed to help teachers organize and deliver instruction. Elements of the Core include the following:
Organization of the Science Core
The Core is designed to help teachers organize and deliver instruction. Elements of the Core include the following:
Seven Guidelines Were Used in Developing the Science Core
Reflects the Nature of Science: Science is a way of knowing, a process for gaining knowledge and understanding of the natural world. The Core is designed to produce an integrated set of Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) for students.
As described in these ILOs, students will:
Developmentally Appropriate: The Core takes into account the psychological and social readiness of students. It builds from concrete experiences to more abstract understandings. The Core describes science language students should use that is appropriate to their grade level. A more extensive vocabulary should not be emphasized. In the past, many educators may have mistakenly thought that students understood abstract concepts (such as the nature of the atom) because they repeated appropriate names and vocabulary (such as “electron” and “neutron”). The Core resists the temptation to describe abstract concepts at inappropriate grade levels; rather, it focuses on providing experiences with concepts that students can explore and understand in depth to build a foundation for future science learning.
Encourages Good Teaching Practices: It is impossible to accomplish the full intent of the Core by lecturing and having students read from textbooks. The Science Core emphasizes student inquiry. Science process skills are central in each standard. Good science encourages students to gain knowledge by doing science: observing, questioning, exploring, making and testing hypotheses, comparing predictions, evaluating data, and communicating conclusions. The Core is designed to encourage instruction with students working in cooperative groups. Instruction should connect lessons with students’ daily lives. The Core directs experiential science instruction for all students, not just those who have traditionally succeeded in science classes.
Comprehensive: The Science Core does not cover all
topics that have traditionally been in the science curriculum; however, it does
provide a comprehensive background in science. By emphasizing depth rather than
breadth, the Core seeks to empower students rather than intimidate them with
a collection of isolated and forgettable facts. Teachers are free to add related
concepts and skills, but they are expected to teach all the standards and objectives
specified in the Core for their grade level.
Useful and Relevant: This curriculum relates directly to student needs and interests. It is grounded in the natural world in which we live. Relevance of science to other endeavors enables students to transfer skills gained from science instruction into their other school subjects and into their lives outside the classroom.
Encourages Good Assessment Practices: Student achievement of the standards and objectives in this Core is best assessed using a variety of assessment instruments. The purpose of an assessment should be clear to the teacher as it is planned, implemented, and evaluated. Performance tests are particularly appropriate to evaluate student mastery of science processes and problem-solving skills. Teachers should use a variety of classroom assessment approaches in conjunction with standard assessment instruments to inform their instruction. Observation of students engaged in science activities is highly recommended as a way to assess students’ skills as well as attitudes in science. The nature of the questions posed by students provides important evidence of students’ understanding of and interest in science.
The Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) describe the skills and attitudes students
should learn and demonstrate as a result of science instruction. They are an
essential part of the Science Core Curriculum and provide teachers with a standard
for evaluation of student learning in science. Instruction should include significant
science experiences that lead to student understanding using the ILOs.
The main intent of science instruction in Utah is that students will value and use science as a process of obtaining knowledge based upon observable evidence.
By the end of seventh and eight grades students will be able to:
|Science language students should use:||generalize, conclude, hypothesis, theory, variable, measure, evidence, data, inference, infer, compare, predict, interpret, analyze, relate, calculate, observe, describe, classify, technology, experiment, investigation, tentative, assumption, ethical, replicability, precision, skeptical, methods of science|
Earth Science Core Curriculum
Life and physical science content are integrated in a curriculum with two primary goals: (1) students will value and use science as a process of obtaining knowledge based on observable evidence, and (2) students' curiosity will be sustained as they develop the abilities associated with scientific inquiry. This course builds upon students' experience with integrated science in grades seven and eight and is the springboard course for success in biology, chemistry, geology, and physics.
The theme for Earth Science is systems. The "Benchmarks" in the Earth Science Core emphasize "systems" as an organizing concept to understand life on Earth, geological change, and the interaction of atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. Earth Science provides students with an understanding of how the parts of a system through the study of the Earth's cycles and spheres. Earth's place in the universe as well its internal structure, tectonic plates, atmospheric processes, and hydrosphere are explored to help understand how Earth science interacts with society.
Throughout this course students experience science as a way of knowing based on making observations, gathering data, designing experiments, making inferences, drawing conclusions, and communicating results. Students see that the science concepts apply to their lives and their society. This course will provide students with science skills to make informed and responsible decisions. Students will learn how to explain cosmic and global phenomena in terms of interactions of energy, matter, and life. These explorations range from the realization that all elements heavier than helium were made in stars to an understanding of how rain influences a desert ecosystem. Throughout the course, the instructor should reference the evidence that scientists used to reach their conclusions (hypotheses, theories, etc.). The students should be able to answer the question "How do we know?".
Good science instruction requires hands-on science investigations in which student inquiry is an important goal. Teachers should provide opportunities for all students to experience many things. Students in Earth Science should design and perform experiments and value inquiry as the fundamental scientific process. They should be encouraged to maintain an open and questioning mind to pose their own questions about objects, events, processes, and results. They should have the opportunity to plan and conduct their own experiments, and come to their own conclusions as they read, observe, compare, describe, infer, and draw conclusions. The results of their experiments need to be compared for reasonableness to multiple sources of information. It is important for students at this age to begin to formalize the processes of science and be able to identify the variables in an experiment.
Earth Science Core concepts should be integrated with concepts and skills from other curriculum areas. Reading, writing, and mathematics skills should be emphasized as integral to the instruction of science. Personal relevance of science in students’ lives is an important part of helping students to value science and should be emphasized at this grade level. Developing students' writing skills in science should be an important part of science instruction in the ninth grade. Students should regularly write descriptions of their observations and experiments. Specific science literacy state standards can be found in the Utah Core State Standards for English, Language Arts, & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects for grades 6-12.
Providing opportunities for students to gain insights into science related
careers adds to the relevance of science learning. The topics in Earth
Science introduce students to fundamental concepts related to careers in geology,
hydrology, meteorology, and ecology. This is an excellent opportunity for students
to broaden their understanding of careers in these areas.
Vocabulary Terms in Earth Science:
The Earth Science core highlights specific key concepts that are central to the understanding of the processes and themes of Earth's systems. These terms have been incorporated into the indicators and have been bolded and underlined. Students and teachers should integrate these terms into normal daily conversation around science topics. Terms that are repeated throughout multiple standards are highlighted in each standard the first time that they appear to support teachers as they utilize the core when planning their curriculum scope and sequence.
The Use of "i.e." versus "e.g." in the Core
"i.e." comes from the Latin id est and means "in other words" or "this and only this". Used in the Utah Core Science Curricula, i.e. is interpreted as a learning expectation of all students. The exemplars following an i.e. should be clearly and unambiguously taught in every classroom. In the CRTs, exemplars included in an i.e. statement are assessed as expected knowledge or skills.
"e.g." comes from the Latin exampli gratia and means "including" or "for example". Used in the Utah Core Science Curricula, e.g. is interpreted as a few possible examples of a larger context or concept. The exemplars following an e.g. are not required, but serve as examples for teaching the specific indicator. Several equally valid exemplars of the same concept may also be taught. In the CRTs, exemplars included as part of an e.g. may serve as the seeds of a good item, but clarifying contextual information will be provided in the item.
Value for honesty, integrity, self-discipline, respect, responsibility, punctuality, dependability, courtesy, cooperation, consideration, and teamwork should be emphasized as an integral part of science learning. These relate to the care of living things, safety and concern for self and others, and environmental stewardship. Honesty in all aspects of research, experimentation, data collection, and reporting is an essential component of science.
Resources for Instruction
This Core was designed using the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Project 2061: Benchmarks For Science Literacy and the National Academy of Science's National Science Education Standards as guides to determine appropriate content and skills.
The Earth Systems Science Core has online resources designed to help with classroom instruction. These resources include the Sci-ber Text, an electronic science textbook; web resources listed by Core objective; and the science test item pool. This pool includes multiple-choice questions, performance tasks, and interpretive items aligned to the standards and objectives of the Core. These resources are all aligned to the Core and available on the Utah Science Home Page.
The hands-on nature of science learning increases the need for teachers to use appropriate precautions in the classroom and field. Proper handling and disposal of chemicals is crucial for a safe classroom.
Appropriate Use of Living Things in the Science Classroom
It is important to maintain a safe, humane environment for animals in the classroom. Field activities should be well thought out and use appropriate and safe practices. Student collections should be done under the guidance of the teacher with attention to the impact on the environment. The number and size of the samples taken for the collections should be considered in light of the educational benefit. Some organisms should not be taken from the environment, but rather observed and described using photographs, drawings, or written descriptions to be included in the student's collection. Teachers must adhere to the published guidelines for the proper use of animals, equipment, and chemicals in the classroom. These guidelines are available on the Utah Science Home Page.
The Most Important Goal
science instruction engages students in enjoyable learning experiences. Science instruction should be as thrilling an experience for a student as opening a rock and seeing a fossil, determining the quality of a water sample by watching the colors change in a chemical reaction, or observing the consistent sequence of color in a rainbow. Science is not just for those who have traditionally succeeded in the subject, and it is not just for those who will choose science-related careers. In a world of rapidly expanding knowledge and technology, all students must gain the skills they will need to understand and function responsibly and successfully in the world. The Core encourages instruction that provides skills in a context that enables students to experience the joy of doing science.
Core Standards of the Course
Students will understand the scientific evidence that supports theories that explain how the universe and the solar system developed. They will compare Earth to other objects in the solar system.
http://www.uen.org - in partnership with Utah State Board of Education (USBE) and Utah System of Higher Education (USHE). Send questions or comments to USBE Specialist - Richard Scott and see the Science - Secondary website. For general questions about Utah's Core Standards contact the Director - Jennifer Throndsen. These materials have been produced by and for the teachers of the State of Utah. Copies of these materials may be freely reproduced for teacher and classroom use. When distributing these materials, credit should be given to Utah State Board of Education. These materials may not be published, in whole or part, or in any other format, without the written permission of the Utah State Board of Education, 250 East 500 South, PO Box 144200, Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-4200.