Unit Details

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History of Earth

Middle School - Earth Science - NGSS

History Of Earth is a Middle School unit that focuses on three earth science areas: the layers of planet Earth, movement of the lithospheric plates, and how rocks, fossils, and rock layers provide evidence of the history of planet Earth:

  • Planet Earth is made up of three distinct layers: the core, mantle, and crust.
  • Major geological events are a result of the movement of the lithospheric plates.
  • Fossils and rock layers give evidence for measuring geologic time and how life and environmental conditions have changed.

This unit is intended to build on the experiences and understandings of third grade (Weather, Climate, and Natural Hazards), fourth grade (Energy and Waves, Processes That Shape the Earth), and fifth grade (Earth and Space Systems). Students have explored and investigated how wind and water shape Earth over long periods of time and short periods of time through weathering, erosion and catastrophic events. In the fourth grade, students have also explored fossils and rock layers as evidence of once-living organisms. Students continue their investigations into the shape of Earth’s surface through the lens of tectonic plates and their movement over long periods of time.

Anchor Phenomenon: Earthquakes in San Francisco and more recently in Puerto Rico.

Driving Question: Why do earthquakes occur?

Engineering Design Challenge: Students plan, design, and build a model of a seismograph.

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