6.3 Strand

Earth’s major systems are the geosphere (solid and molten rock, soil, and sediments), the hydrosphere (water and ice), the atmosphere (air), and the biosphere (living things, including humans). Within these systems, the location of Earth’s land and water can be described. Also, these systems interact in multiple ways. Weathering and erosion are examples of interactions between Earth’s systems. Some interactions cause landslides, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions that impact humans and other organisms. Humans cannot eliminate natural hazards, but solutions can be designed to reduce their impact.
STORYLINE: 6.3.1 Water Cycle

Standard(s): 6.3.1 Develop a model to describe how the cycling of water through Earth’s systems is driven by energy from the Sun, gravitational forces, and density. (ESS2.C)

NGSS Correlation: MS-ESS2-4

Practices

Developing and Using Models: Students will develop, use, and revise a model to describe the water cycle. 

Disciplinary Core Ideas

(ESS2.C): The Roles of Water in Earth’s Surface Processes

  • Water continually cycles among land, ocean, and atmosphere via transpiration, evaporation, condensation and crystallization, and precipitation as well as downhill flows on land. 

  • Global movements of water and its changes in form are propelled by sunlight and gravity.

Cross Cutting Concepts

Energy and Matter: Within a natural or system, the transfer of energy drives the motion and/or cycling of matter.

 

Storyline Narrative

SEEd Standard 6.3.1 asks students to develop and use a model to describe how the cycling of water through Earth’s systems is driven by energy from the sun, gravitational forces, and density. 

 

As we begin our storyline, we will engage students by showing a picture of dinosaurs and tell them that scientists say that the water dinosaurs drank millions of years ago is the same water we drink today.  We then ask,  how can that be? We then have students  make a list of places where water is found. After compiling this list, students will classify their lists into groups by patterns of similarities they have found and generate a list of questions they have. Based on this list, students will determine that water is found in different states of matter and in a variety of locations. Students will be left wondering why water is found at these different locations and in different states. 

 

In order to explore this question, students will analyze the function of water throughout Earth’s systems. Students will be led to the terminology, reservoirs and transfers, to explain how water is stored and moved from one location to another. This will leave students questioning what is the cause of water transfer from reservoir to reservoir. 

 

To construct an explanation and develop their models, students will use their understanding of how energy is transferred from the previous strand, 6.2. Students will discuss how the sun’s energy, density, and gravitational forces are driving water transfers. 

 

Students will elaborate on their understanding by watching a short video of the water cycle, including plants in the water cycle. Students will question how these living organisms play a role in the transfer of water. To obtain information to answer their questions, students will read an article on transpiration, the process by which water is transferred by plants. Students will develop their models further by expanding their understanding to include this process. 

 

To evaluate their understanding of how water is cycled through Earth’s systems, students will create diagrams to be shared with the class. Students will evaluate their own understanding as they discuss similarities among the different diagrams. Students will have the opportunity to add to their models as they write their final explanations of how energy from the sun, density, and gravitational forces drive the cycle of water through Earth’s systems. 

As a final assessment, students will be given a task where they will use their models to explain an example of a water reservoir and possible transfers.

Phenomena Statement

I was told that the water dinosaurs drank is the same water we drink today.

STORYLINE: 6.3.4 & 6.3.3 Earth's Atmosphere and Climate (Suggested before 6.3.2) 

Standard(s) 6.3.4 & 6.3.3

6.3.4: Construct an explanation supported by evidence for the role of the natural greenhouse effect in Earth’s energy balance, and how it enables life to exist on Earth. Examples could include comparisons between Earth and other planets such as Venus or Mars. (ESS2.D)
NGSS Correlation: No NGSS alignment

6.3.3: Develop and use a model to show how unequal heating of the Earth’s systems causes patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation that determine regional climates. Emphasize how warm water and air move from the equator toward the poles. Examples of models could include Utah regional weather patterns such as lake-effect snow or wintertime temperature inversions. (ESS2.C, ESS2.D)

NGSS Correlation: MS-ESS2-6

Practices

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions: Students construct an explanation for the role that the greenhouse effect plays on Earth’s energy balance.

Developing and Using Models: Students will develop, use, and revise a model to illustrate how unequal heating of Earth’s systems contribute to regional climates. 

 

Disciplinary Core Ideas

ESS2.D: Weather and Climate  

  • Weather and climate are influenced by interactions involving sunlight, the ocean, the atmosphere, ice, landforms, and living things. These interactions vary with latitude, altitude, and local and regional geography, all of which can affect oceanic and atmospheric flow patterns.

  • The ocean exerts a major influence on weather and climate by absorbing energy from the sun, releasing it over time, and globally redistributing it through ocean currents.

ESS2.C: The Roles of Water in Earth's Surface Processes  

  • Variations in density due to variations in temperature and salinity drive a global pattern of interconnected ocean currents.

Cross Cutting Concepts

Energy and Matter

  • Within a natural or designed system, the transfer of energy drives the motion and/or cycling of matter.

Patterns

  • Patterns in rates of change and other numerical relationships can provide information about natural systems.

Systems and System Models

  • Models can be used to represent systems and their interactions—such as inputs, processes and outputs—and energy, matter, and information flows within systems.

Storyline Narrative

SEEd Standard 6.3.4 asks students to construct an explanation supported by evidence for the role of the natural greenhouse effect in Earth’s energy balance and how it enables life to exist on Earth. Examples could include comparisons between Earth and other planets such as Venus and Mars.

SEEd Standard 6.3.3 asks students to develop and use a model to show how unequal heating of the earth’s systems causes patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation that determine regional climates. Emphasize how warm water and air move from the equator toward the poles. Examples of models could include Utah regional weather patterns such as lake-effect snow and wintertime temperature inversions. 

 

To engage students, we will begin our storyline with students asking the question, “In our solar system, why is there only life on Earth?” Students will analyze data of different planets in our solar system. They will use data to compare planets looking for patterns that might explain why Earth is different and what allows it to sustain life. After analyzing data, students will realize that Earth is different from other planets in temperature, amount of water, and atmospheric gases and that this is what enables life to exist on Earth. This will leave students wondering why Earth doesn’t have as dramatic changes in temperature as other planets.

 

In order to explore this question, students will obtain, evaluate, and communicate information as they develop a model of why Earth’s temperature, compared to other planets, doesn’t change dramatically using the CK12 website for research. Students will construct an explanation supported by evidence for Earth’s stable temperature. Students will develop their models further by discussing Earth’s energy balance. They will argue from evidence how they know that Earth takes in energy but also releases it. After research and discussion, students will explain that the earth has an atmosphere with greenhouse gases that maintain the temperature on Earth during the night. Earth has an energy budget. Earth takes in the same amount of energy that it releases. After learning this, students will wonder why the entire earth isn’t the same temperature.

 

To answer the question of why the entire earth isn’t the same temperature, students will expand their understanding by looking at a thermal map of the earth. They will find patterns of temperature and make a list of questions of things that don’t follow the trend or that are confusing to them. Students will use their models of seasons to explain the pattern of unequal heating of the earth from energy from the sun. After analyzing the thermal map and comparing that with their models of why we experience seasons, students will recognize that because of unequal heating from the sun, the earth is warmer around the equator and colder toward the poles. 

 

To explain how the unequal heating from the sun affects Earth and its systems, students will use their understanding of reservoirs and transfers from 6.3.1 to develop a model and construct an explanation to describe how the mixture of warm air and cool air causes movement in air particles, in turn causing wind. Students will develop a model of the convection cells with high and low pressures on Earth. They will compare this to a map of the earth’s climates and find patterns. Based on the patterns that students have found and their models of convection cells, students will determine that the constant heating and cooling of air particles causes pockets of air, that are similar in temperature, and humidity and causes pressure to form. These pockets are known as air masses. Students will further determine that as these air masses move from high pressures to lower pressures, they cause wind. This will cause students to wonder how wind and its patterns affect Earth.

 

To explain how wind patterns affect Earth, students will sprinkle cork dust on a pan filled with water. They will simulate wind by blowing through a straw over the water. Students will note the patterns that they see. They will discuss in small groups whether air could push water causing currents. Students will further develop their models by comparing a world map of wind patterns to a world map of ocean currents. They will note patterns and discuss their findings in small groups. Based on patterns found and through discussion, students will determine that the unequal heating of the earth causes wind, wind causes ocean currents, and currents are contained by landforms but wind is not. Students will then wonder how wind and ocean currents affect climates.

 

To answer the question of how wind and ocean currents affect climates and to elaborate on their understanding, students will collect and analyze data in order to give evidence for causes of the different climates. Students will use their models and understanding to make sense of the patterns they see and why climates don’t always follow patterns of latitude. Students will find that there are factors that cause climates such as elevation, continental vs. coastal, and wind patterns. There are linear patterns that align latitude and climates.  


To evaluate students’ understanding, students will be assessed on their use of evidence in their constructed explanations of the phenomena of the role of the natural greenhouse effect in Earth’s energy balance and how it enables life to exist on Earth. Students will also use their models to explain how unequal heating of the earth’s systems causes patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation that determine regional climates.

Phenomena Statement

Earth is the only planet, in our solar system, that sustains life.

STORYLINE: 6.3.2 Investigating Weather

Standard(s) 6.3.2: Investigate the interactions between air masses that cause changes in weather conditions. Collect and analyze weather data to provide evidence for how air masses flow from regions of high pressure to low pressure causing a change in weather. Examples of data collection could include field observations, laboratory experiments, weather maps, or diagrams. (ESS2.C, ESS2.D)   

NGSS Correlation: MS-ESS2-5

Practices

Planning and Carrying Out Investigations: Students will investigate the interactions between air masses that cause weather.

 

Disciplinary Core Ideas

(ESS2.C): The Roles of Water on Earth’s Surface Processes
(ESS2.D): Weather and Climate

Students know and apply the

 

 The Roles of Water on Earth’s Surface Processes in their thinking and reasoning to communicate that:

  • The complex patterns of the changes and the movement of water in the atmosphere, determined by winds, landforms, and ocean temperatures and currents, are major determinants of local weather patterns. 

  • Global movements of water and its changes in form are propelled by sunlight and gravity.

 

Weather and Climate in their thinking and reasoning to communicate that:

  • Weather and climate are influenced by interactions involving sunlight, the ocean, the atmosphere, ice, landforms, and living things. These interactions vary with latitude, altitude, and local and regional geography, all of which can affect oceanic and atmospheric flow patterns.

  • Because these patterns are so complex, weather can only be predicted probabilistically. 
     

Cross Cutting Concepts

Cause and Effect: Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural systems. 

 

Storyline Narrative

SEEd Standard 6.3.2 asks students to investigate the interactions between air masses that cause changes in weather conditions. Collect and analyze weather data to provide evidence for how air masses flow from regions of high pressure to regions of low pressure, causing a change in weather. Examples of data collection could include field observations, laboratory experiments, weather maps, or diagrams. 

 

As we begin our storyline, we will engage students by having them watch a video of thunderstorms coming in. Students will discuss patterns in the energy and matter they see and the relationship between weather and fronts. Students will determine that there are differences in air masses. The low pressure (L) occurs along the lines or boundaries, and there is high pressure (H) in the middle of these boundaries. Students will determine that weather is happening along the boundaries. Students will be left wondering what causes changes in weather.

 

In order to explore this question, students will investigate by analyzing four current maps of the United States that show wind, temperature, radar, and fronts. They will look for patterns to determine if there is a relationship between the four maps and changes in weather. To elaborate and expand their understanding, students will collect and analyze data that is relevant to determining the relationships between patterns of activity of air masses and if these patterns cause change in weather conditions. Based on the patterns that are observed, students will predict and construct an explanation of what they will see on the next day’s map. Students will determine that wind is moving in different directions and is blowing because of the differences in air pressure.  

 

Students will determine if their predictions were correct by comparing their predictions with the current day’s maps and explain why their guesses were correct or not. To elaborate, students will then revise their predictions and develop a plan to carry out an investigation. Students will determine if their predictions were more accurate than the previous day's predictions. Students will develop their models further and discuss what is causing the changes. Based on evidence from their investigations, students will determine that weather can vary from day to day and place to place.


To evaluate their understanding, students will apply what they have learned about the interactions between air masses that cause changes in weather conditions by looking at a weather map and data to correctly make predictions.

Phenomena Statement

I watched a storm come in and seemed to be on a diagonal,  like a doorstop that you push under a door.