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YSS May 2011 Science Education Standards

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Benchmarks

By the end of 8th grade, students should know that:
  • Nine planets of very different size, composition, and surface features move around the sun in nearly circular orbits. Some planets have a variety of moons and even flat rings of rock and ice particles orbiting around them. Some of these planets and moons show evidence of geologic activity. 4A/M3
  • The interior of the earth is hot. Heat flow and movement of material within the earth cause earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and create mountains and ocean basins. Gas and dust from large volcanoes can change the atmosphere. 4C/M1
  • Some changes in the earth's surface are abrupt (such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions) while other changes happen very slowly (such as uplift and wearing down of mountains). 4C/M2a

By the end of 12th grade, students should know that:

  • Earthquakes often occur along the boundaries between colliding plates, and molten rock from below creates pressure that is released by volcanic eruptions, helping to build up mountains. Under the ocean basins, molten rock may well up between separating plates to create new ocean floor. Volcanic activity along the ocean floor may form undersea mountains, which can thrust above the ocean's surface to become islands. 4C/H5
  • The earth's plates sit on a dense, hot, somewhat melted layer of the earth. The plates move very slowly, pressing against one another in some places and pulling apart in other places, sometimes scraping alongside each other as they do. Mountains form as two continental plates, or an ocean plate and a continental plate, press together. 4C/M12 (BSL)
  • There are worldwide patterns to major geological events (such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and mountain building) that coincide with plate boundaries. 4C/M13 (BSL)

National Science Education Standards

Earth and Space Science - Content Standard D

Grades K-4
CHANGES IN THE EARTH AND SKY
The surface of the Earth changes. Some changes are due to slow processes, such as erosion and weathering, and some changes are due to rapid processes, such as landslides, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes.

Grades 5-8
Earth and Space Science- Content Standard D

STRUCTURE OF THE EARTH SYSTEM
Land forms are the result of a combination of constructive and destructive forces. Constructive forces include crustal deformation, volcanic eruption, and deposition of sediment, while destructive forces include weathering and erosion.

Grades 9-12
Earth and Space Science- Content Standard D

ENERGY IN THE EARTH SYSTEM
Earth systems have internal and external sources of energy, both of which create heat. The sun is the major external source of energy. Two primary sources of internal energy are the decay of radioactive isotopes and the gravitational energy from the earth's original formation.

The outward transfer of earth's internal heat drives convection circulation in the mantle that propels the plates comprising earth's surface across the face of the globe.

THE ORIGIN AND EVOLUTION OF THE EARTH SYSTEM
Interactions among the solid earth, the oceans, the atmosphere, and organisms have resulted in the ongoing evolution of the earth system. We can observe some changes such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions on a human time scale, but many processes such as mountain building and plate movements take place over hundreds of millions of years.

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Last Updated: 22 May 2012