The Standards

Middle School

History of Earth

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

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Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence from rock strata for how the geologic time scale is used to organize Earth's 4.6-billion-year-old history. MS-ESS1-4

Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on how analyses of rock formations and the fossils they contain are used to establish relative ages of major events in Earth’s history. Examples of Earth’s major events could range from being very recent (such as the last Ice Age or the earliest fossils of homo sapiens) to very old (such as the formation of Earth or the earliest evidence of life). Examples can include the formation of mountain chains and ocean basins, the evolution or extinction of particular living organisms, or significant volcanic eruptions.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include recalling the names of specific periods or epochs and events within them.

 

Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth's surface at varying time and spatial scales. MS-ESS2-2

Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on how processes change Earth’s surface at time and spatial scales that can be large (such as slow plate motions or the uplift of large mountain ranges) or small (such as rapid landslides or microscopic geochemical reactions), and how many geoscience processes (such as earthquakes, volcanoes, and meteor impacts) usually behave gradually but are punctuated by catastrophic events. Examples of geoscience processes include surface weathering and deposition by the movements of water, ice, and wind. Emphasis is on geoscience processes that shape local geographic features, where appropriate.

Assessment Boundary: none

 

Analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to provide evidence of the past plate motions. MS-ESS2-3

Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

Clarification Statement: Examples of data include similarities of rock and fossil types on different continents, the shapes of the continents (including continental shelves), and the locations of ocean structures (such as ridges, fracture zones, and trenches).

Assessment Boundary: Paleomagnetic anomalies in oceanic and continental crust are not assessed.

Science and Engineering Practices

Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Analyzing data in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to extending quantitative analysis to investigations, distinguishing between correlation and causation, and basic statistical techniques of data and error analysis.

Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for phenomena. (MS-ESS2-3)

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to include constructing explanations and designing solutions supported by multiple sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories.

Construct a scientific explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from sources (including the students’ own experiments) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future. (MS-ESS1-4), (MS-ESS2-2)

Connections to Nature of Science

Scientific Knowledge Is Open to Revision in Light of New Evidence

Science findings are frequently revised and/or reinterpreted based on new evidence. (MS-ESS2-3)

Common Core State Standards Connections

ELA/Literacy
  • RST.6-8.1 - Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts. (MS-ESS1-4), (MS-ESS2-2), (MS-ESS2-3)
  • RST.6-8.7 - Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table). (MS-ESS2-3)
  • RST.6-8.9 - Compare and contrast the information gained from experiments, simulations, video, or multimedia sources with that gained from reading a text on the same topic. (MS-ESS2-3)
  • SL.8.5 - Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest. (MS-ESS2-2), (MS-ESS2-3)
  • WHST.6-8.2 - Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes. (MS-ESS1-4), (MS-ESS2-2)
Mathematics
  • 6.EE.B.6 - Use variables to represent numbers and write expressions when solving a real-world or mathematical problem; understand that a variable can represent an unknown number, or, depending on the purpose at hand, any number in a specified set. (MS-ESS1-4), (MS-ESS2-2), (MS-ESS2-3)
  • 7.EE.B.4 - Use variables to represent quantities in a real-world or mathematical problem, and construct simple equations and inequalities to solve problems by reasoning about the quantities. (MS-ESS1-4), (MS-ESS2-2), (MS-ESS2-3)
  • MP.2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (MS-ESS2-2), (MS-ESS2-3)

Model Course Mapping

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