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The Standards

Disciplinary Core Ideas

Earth and Space Science (ESS)

Listed below are the Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI) for Earth and Space Science and bullet points for their specific grade band progression.

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ESS2: Earth’s Systems
 

ESS2.B: Plate Tectonics and Large-Scale System Interactions

Primary School (K-2)

Maps show where things are located. One can map the shapes and kinds of land and water in any area.

Elementary School (3-5)

The locations of mountain ranges, deep ocean trenches, ocean floor structures, earthquakes, and volcanoes occur in patterns. Most earthquakes and volcanoes occur in bands that are often along the boundaries between continents and oceans. Major mountain chains form inside continents or near their edges. Maps can help locate the different land and water features areas of Earth.

Middle School (6-8)

Maps of ancient land and water patterns, based on investigations of rocks and fossils, make clear how Earth’s plates have moved great distances, collided, and spread apart.

High School (9-12)

Plate movements are responsible for most continental and ocean-floor features and for the distribution of most rocks and minerals within Earth’s crust.

The radioactive decay of unstable isotopes continually generates new energy within Earth’s crust and mantle, providing the primary source of the heat that drives mantle convection. Plate tectonics can be viewed as the surface expression of mantle convection.

Plate tectonics is the unifying theory that explains the past and current movements of the rocks at Earth’s surface and provides a framework for understanding its geologic history.