Standard 1: Students will understand the scientific evidence that supports theories that explain how the universe and solar system developed.

Objective 1: Describe the big bang theory and evidence supporting it.
a. Determine the motion of a star relative to Earth based on a red or blue shift in the wavelength of light from the star.
b. Explain how evidence of red and blue shifts is used to determine whether the universe is expanding or contracting.
c. Describe the big bang theory and the red shift evidence that supports this theory.
d. Investigate and report how science has changed the accepted ideas regarding the nature of the universe throughout history.
e. Provide an example of how technology has helped scientists investigate the universe.

Objective 2: Relate the structure and composition of the solar system to the processes that exist
in the universe.
a. Compare the elements formed in the big bang (hydrogen, helium) with elements formed through nuclear fusion in stars.
b. Relate the life cycle of stars of various masses to the relative mass of elements produced.
c. Explain the origin of the heavy elements on Earth (i.e., heavy elements were formed by fusion in ancient stars).
d. Present evidence that the process that formed Earth’s heavy elements continues in stars today.
e. Compare the life cycle of the sun to the life cycle of other stars.
f. Relate the structure of the solar system to the forces acting upon it.

Standard 2: Students will understand that the features of Earth’s evolving environment affect living systems, and that life on Earth is unique in the solar system.

Objective 1: Describe the unique physical features of Earth’s environment that make life on Earth possible.
a. Compare Earth’s atmosphere, solar energy, and water to those of other planets and moons in the solar system.
b. Compare the conditions that currently support life on Earth to the conditions that exist on other planets in the solar system.
c. Evaluate evidence for existence of life in other star systems, planets, or moons, either now or in the past.

Objective 2: Analyze how ecosystems differ from each other due to abiotic and biotic factors.
a. Observe and list abiotic factors (e.g., temperature, water, nutrients, sunlight, pH, topography) in specific ecosystems.
b. Observe and list biotic factors (e.g., plants, animals, organic matter) that affect a specific ecosystem (e.g., wetlands, deserts, aquatic).
c. Predict how an ecosystem will change as a result of major changes in an abiotic and/or biotic factor.
d. Explain that energy enters the vast majority of Earth's ecosystems through photosynthesis, and compare the path of energy through two different ecosystems.
e. Analyze interactions within an ecosystem (e.g., water temperature and fish species, weathering and water pH).
f. Plan and conduct an experiment to investigate how abiotic factors influence organisms and how organisms influence the physical environment.

Objective 3: Examine Earth's diversity of life as it changes over time.
a. Observe and chart the diversity in a specific area.
b. Compare the diversity of life in various biomes specific to number of species, biomass, and type of organisms.
c. Explain factors that contribute to the extinction of a species.
d. Compare evidence supporting various theories that explain the causes of large-scale extinctions in the past with factors causing the loss of species today.
e. Evaluate the biological, esthetic, ethical, social, or economic arguments with regard to maintaining biodiversity.

Standard 3: Students will understand that gravity, density, and convection move Earth’s plates and this movement causes the plates to impact other Earth systems.

Objective 1: Explain the evidence that supports the theory of plate tectonics.
a. Define and describe the location of the major plates and plate boundaries.
b. Compare the movement and results of movement along convergent, divergent, and transform plate boundaries.
c. Relate the location of earthquakes and volcanoes to plate boundaries.
d. Explain Alfred Wegener’s continental drift hypothesis, his evidence, and why it was not accepted in his time.
e. Evaluate the evidence for the current theory of plate tectonics.

Objective 2: Describe the processes within Earth that result in plate motion and relate it to changes in other Earth systems.
a. Identify the energy sources that cause material to move within Earth.
b. Model the movement of materials within Earth.
c. Model the movement and interaction of plates.
d. Relate the movement and interaction of plates to volcanic eruptions, mountain building, and climate changes.
e. Predict the effects of plate movement on other Earth systems (e.g., volcanic eruptions affect weather, mountain building diverts waterways, uplift changes elevation that alters plant and animal diversity, upwelling from ocean vents results in changes in biomass).
Last modified: Friday, 7 October 2011, 10:37 AM