2013 Earth Science Curriculum

Planet Andoddin

Students will be exploring renewable and nonrenewable natural resources and the mining and refining processes that turn those resources into useful materials and products. Throughout the unit, students will participate in activities and instruction that allows them to analyze maps, explore the refining processes of different natural resources, create tools to extract resources from an exo-planet, and use engineering skills and content knowledge to create a resource extraction plan on Planet Andoddin to bring resources back to Planet Earth, where natural resources are diminishing.


Plate Tectonics

This unit will give students an opportunity to develop their understanding of plate boundaries, earthquakes and volcanoes, and apply it to natural disaster preparedness. All over the world people value animals in their lives, whether livestock or pets. In the event of a disaster, those animals need protection, but may need to be left behind as people escape. Students will learn key aspects of structure and design. Teams of students will design a protective animal shelter for the conditions at a specific location on Earth and test it with a simulation of a disaster possible at that location.


Human Impact on Mississippi River Recreational Area Design

Mississippi River Fossil Foundation local president, Ms. Harriet, has outlined the criteria for an outdoor functional area to be design by local community members.  The land needs to promote outdoor recreational area, such as fishing piers, overnight camping, increase usage by local residents and focus on preserving the parks natural attractions. It is important to Ms. Harriet to keep Mississippi River’s natural features preserved for future park visitors. Ms. Harriet has a grant of up to $600,000 that design engineers will budget for the preservation and utilization of the local area.  Ms. Harriet has asked you to create a land-use proposal that will convince the Ms. Harriet, her committee board, and other potential investors to use your preservation design as the Mississippi River’s newest park highlights. 

EnerGreen Home Design Challenge

This unit will focus on renewable and non-renewable types of energy. The different types of energy will be showcased and investigated, including wind, water, solar, biomass, geothermal and fossil fuels. The formation of fossil fuels will be addressed and the increasing need for renewable resources will be emphasized. The different types of renewable energy will be explored through hands on activities in the classroom to gain background knowledge on how energy its harnessed from the different types and which ones are most efficient. Students will then work together in groups to develop and design a home installation kit that they will need to market to consumers that is cost effective and is able to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels.


Rockin’ Good Times

Students will be presented with a client wanting to build an amusement park near a city in an earthquake prone area.  Surveying fellow students on favorite rides, using model rides, and creating earthquakes with shake tables will provide an environment of active and engaged learning.  The iPad seismometer app will give them the opportunity to see how seismic waves are instantly measured and graphed.  Pictures of existing anchoring systems and websites posting earthquake activity as it happens will reinforce the real world context of the problem. Students will need to choose a site based on stability of the underlying earth materials, while also considering other area concerns (distance of location from existing roads, housing, etc).  Once the site is chosen, they will test various anchoring systems attached to a model amusement park ride.  Cost constraints will be added, so students will have the realistic challenge of working within a budget.


Soil Solutions

In this unit students will learn about the process of soil formation.  During the first part of the unit, we will focus on organic matter decomposing and combining with inorganic matter as well as water and air to form soil. During the second part of the unit students will engage in tests to discover that different soil types have different properties.  For the engineering design challenge the students will use the information they have learned about soils, and combine that with information about different types of flowers to create and design a garden that has a mix of different soils to allow the plants to thrive.

Mineral Mayhem

This unit will explore the minerals and mineral identification standards. A train carrying different types of valuable minerals has derailed, dumping train cars full of minerals into a lake. If the train company can collect enough of the minerals from the river it will be more cost effective than a new train load of minerals. Your job is to use what you know about minerals and sorting to design a model to separate out the minerals from the non-minerals.