Standard 4: Students will understand that water cycles through and between reservoirs in the hydrosphere and affects the other spheres of the Earth system.

Objective 1: Explain the water cycle in terms of its reservoirs, the movement between reservoirs, and the energy to move water. Evaluate the importance of freshwater to the biosphere.
a. Identify the reservoirs of Earth’s water cycle (e.g., ocean, ice caps/glaciers, atmosphere, lakes, rivers, biosphere, groundwater) locally and globally, and graph or chart relative amounts in global reservoirs.
b. Illustrate the movement of water on Earth and describe how the processes that move water (e.g., evaporation of water, melting of ice/snow, ocean currents, movement of water vapor by wind) use energy from the sun.
c. Relate the physical and chemical properties of water to a water pollution issue.
d. Make inferences about the quality and/or quantity of freshwater, using data collected from local water systems.
e. Analyze how communities deal with water shortages, distribution, and quality in designing a long-term water use plan.

Objective 2: Analyze the physical and biological dynamics of the oceans.
a. Describe the physical dynamics of the oceans (e.g., wave action, ocean currents, El Nino, tides).
b. Determine how physical properties of oceans affect organisms (e.g., salinity, depth, tides, temperature).
c. Model energy flow in ocean ecosystems.
d. Research and report on changing ocean levels over geologic time, and relate changes in ocean level to changes in the water cycle.
e. Describe how changing sea levels could affect life on Earth.

Standard 5: Students will understand that Earth's atmosphere interacts with and is altered by the lithosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere.

Objective 1: Describe how matter in the atmosphere cycles through other Earth systems.
a. Trace movement of a carbon atom from the atmosphere through a plant, animal, and decomposer, and back into the atmosphere.
b. Diagram the nitrogen cycle and provide examples of human actions that affect this cycle (e.g., fertilizers, crop rotation, fossil fuel combustion).
c. Interpret evidence suggesting that humans are influencing the carbon cycle.
d. Research ways the biosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere interact with the atmosphere (e.g., volcanic eruptions putting ash and gases into the atmosphere, hurricanes, changes in vegetation).

Objective 2: Trace ways in which the atmosphere has been altered by living systems and has itself strongly affected living systems over the course of Earth’s history.
a. Define ozone and compare its effects in the lower and upper atmosphere.
b. Describe the role of living organisms in producing the ozone layer and how the ozone layer affected the development of life on Earth.
c. Compare the rate at which CO2 is put into the atmosphere to the rate at which it is removed through the carbon cycle.
d. Analyze data relating to the concentration of atmospheric CO2 over the past 100 years.
e. Research, evaluate, and report on international efforts to protect the atmosphere.

Standard 6: Students will understand the source and distribution of energy on Earth and its effects on Earth systems.

Objective 1: Describe the transformation of solar energy into heat and chemical energy on Earth and eventually the radiation of energy to space.
a. Illustrate the distribution of energy coming from the sun that is reflected, changed into heat, or stored by plants.
b. Describe the pathways for converting and storing light energy as chemical energy (e.g., light energy converted to chemical energy stored in plants, plants become fossil fuel).
c. Investigate the conversion of light energy from the sun into heat energy by various Earth materials.
d. Demonstrate how absorbed solar energy eventually leaves the Earth system as heat radiating to space.
e. Construct a model that demonstrates the reduction of heat loss due to a greenhouse effect.
f. Research global changes and relate them to Earth systems (e.g., global warming, solar fluctuations).

Objective 2: Relate energy sources and transformation to the effects on Earth systems.
a. Describe the difference between climate and weather, and how technology is used to monitor changes in each.
b. Describe the effect of solar energy on the determination of climate and weather (e.g., El Nino, solar intensity).
c. Explain how uneven heating at the equator and polar regions creates atmospheric and oceanic convection currents that move heat energy around Earth.
d. Describe the Coriolis effect and its role in global wind and ocean current patterns.
e. Relate how weather patterns are the result of interactions among ocean currents, air currents, and topography.
Last modified: Friday, 7 October 2011, 10:40 AM