Earth Science

Earth science curriculum emphasizes inquiry, critical thinking, and problem solving. Earth science is subdivided into the geosphere (solid Earth), the hydrosphere (the liquid part of the planet), the atmosphere (the gaseous part of the planet), and the biosphere (the living part of the planet). This is a lab-intensive class that digs into the multiple aspects of Earth’s systems and their interactions (e.g., earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, geological formations and stratigraphy.)

click here for scope and sequence

Quarter 3:
Weekly Syllabus and Homework Assignments

Due Week 19, Feb 23Due Week 16, Jan 14Due Week 14, Dec 15Due Week 13, Dec 8Due Week 12, Dec 1

Completing Module 11 – Forces of Physics and Gravity in Space.

1) Complete Reading Module 11

2) Know your vocabulary!! AND

3) Watch:

4) Watch:

Awesome to Watch

5) Don’t forget the swinging candle lab report!

You (and partners, if you choose) will be giving a WEATHER REPORT in class – complete with props.

1) Watch how weather reports are created:



2) Pick a date in Chicago’s history (somewhere in your lifetime):

3) Create a weather report as though it was THAT MORNING. This includes:

  • that day’s temperature compared to the average temperature for that day
  • dew point, precipitation, wind (with a map showing the direction) and how they compare to the year before on that date
  • atmospheric pressure (also known as sea level) and what it means to the weather
  • a brief 5-day preview of weather (day, temp, precipitation).
  • for every partner in your group, add another day. So if there are three people then you are giving a “3-day forecast PLUS a 5-day look-ahead
  • give ideas to your audience for what are good activities for the weather, like playing sports, staying inside, shoveling, taking an umbrella

Welcome to MODULE 7 Weather and Its Predictions!! 

“Meteorology has ever been an apple of contention, as if the violent commotions of the atmosphere induced a sympathetic effect on the minds of those who have attempted to study them.” — Joseph Henry

LAB: Weather

  1. READ the entire chapter 7 in your textbook, Physical Science. NOTE: Not every student seems to have a textbook or be reading it. THIS IS A CRITICAL RESOURCE. If your student is NOT a reader, then ensure your student is getting this basic information before moving on to the videos that call out specific concepts. For this chapter, much of the textbook is covered in this series of videos:
  2. WATCH: Precipitation, by Met Office/James Chubb:
  3. WATCH: How to understand a weather map by the Weather Channel:
  4. WATCH Ted Ed’s How Tornadoes Form
  5. KNOW all 38 Vocabulary words:

We are finishing MODULE 6 Earth and the Lithosphere

“The fact that a cloud from a minor volcanic eruption in Iceland—a small disturbance in the complex mechanism of life on the Earth—can bring to a standstill the aerial traffic over an entire continent is a reminder of how, with all its power to transform nature, humankind remains just another species on the planet Earth.” ― Slavoj Žižek

LAB: Earthquakes, Tsunamis and Volcanos…
1) Finish Reading Chapter 6 in your textbook, Physical Science.
2) Volcanos:

2) Earthquakes:

3) Tsunamis:

Download (PDF, 95KB)

Download (PDF, 93KB)

Quarter 1:
Weekly Syllabus and Homework Assignments

Due Week 1, Sept 1Due Week 2, Sept 8Due Week 3, Sept 15Due Week 4, Sept 22Due Week 5, Sept 29Due Week 6, Oct 6Due Week 8, Oct 20
Week 1: Chapter 1, The Basics. Concept – Atoms & Molecules

A physicist is just an atom’s way of looking at itself. –Niels Bohr

LAB: Matter Matters
1) Read Chapter 1 in your textbook, Physical Science.
2) Watch Bill Nye introduces atoms:
3) Watch What is a molecule (you only have to watch it once!)
4) Know:
What are the 3 components of an atom?
What takes up the most space in an atom (trick question!)?
What is the outer ring of an atom called?
What is a molecule?

Week 2: Chapter 1, The Basics. Concept – Measurements

The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have. – Vince Lombardi

LAB: Measurements
1) Make sure you’ve read Chapter 1 in your textbook, Physical Science.
2) Watch Crash Course Measurements:
3) Watch Crash Course Measurement conversions (it’s for chemistry but actually it is universal for science):
4) Know:
– What’s the difference between mass and weight?
– A car (obviously a special one) is traveling at the speed of light for an hour. How many kilometers has it travelled?
– What does a ‘hertz’ measure?
– What is the speed of gravity (in Chicago if you need to be precise); know the answer in sig fig.
– How do we measure force?
– What is the SI measurement of mass?

Week 3: Chapter 2, Air. Concept – Air, Evaporation

Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you. – Langston Hughes

LAB: Air
1) Read the first half of Chapter 2 in your textbook, Physical Science.
2) Watch National Geographic‘s Reveal Earth’s Atmosphere:
3) Watch Minute Earth’s How Do Greenhouse Gases work?:
3) Watch TED ED How Heavy is Air?:
4) Watch NASA’s Air Quality:
5) Complete the Lab Report from your density lab. (There’s a form at the bottom of this tab but you can just write it out in your notebook.)
6) Know:
What is the most abundant two elements in the earth’s atmosphere (troposphere)?
What is the correct order of earth’s atmospheric layers from bottom to top?
What are greenhouse gases?
What do greenhouse gases trap?
Extra Credit: The air in a typical gymnasium can weigh as much as ________.

Lab report template (you can use your own notebook, these are check but not handed in.)

Download (DOC, 26KB)

Week 4: Chapter 3, Atmosphere. Concept – Atmosphere composition and pressure

“It is better to have your head in the clouds, and know where you are… than to breathe the clearer atmosphere below them, and think that you are in paradise.”
― Henry David Thoreau

LAB: Atmosphere, Pressure, Barometrics
1) Read all of chapter 2 and the first 3 pages of chapter 3 (Atmosphere) in your textbook, Physical Science. This week, focus on the qualities of each band of atmosphere.
1a) Study this diagram from NASA:
2) Watch Crash Course Hydrosphere & Atmosphere:
3) Watch THE FIRST 3 MINUTES of Will Liebhaber’s Structure of the atmosphere (for pilots): (you can watch it all if you want, but only quizzing you on the beginning.)
4) Watch TED-Ed’s The history of a Barometer
5) Watch eHow’s Which Atmospheric layer do space shuttles orbit in?: 
6) OPTIONAL – Watch TED-Ed’s The effect of underwater pressure on the body (it gets kind of creepy):
7) OPTIONAL – Watch Brian Cox‘s Visit to the world’s largest vacuum chamber:

1) In which layer of the atmosphere does weather occur?
2) Most of the oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere exists below what height (in kilometers).
3) What happens to the force of gravity as you go farther and farther away from Earth’s troposphere towards the exosphere?
4) In which layer of the atmosphere are most satellites found?
5) The Aurora Borealis occur in Low Earth Orbit. What layer of the atmosphere is that?
Boyle’s Gas Law helps explain why a Rock Fish’s stomach pops out of its mouth when it is reeled up. Explain. 

Week 5: Chapter 4, Water. Concept – Chemical composition, polarity, aspects.

“Water, water, everywhere, / Nor any drop to drink.” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

We are going to jump into water (ha ha!) THIS WEEK. So finish reading chapter 3 and begin Chapter 4.

  1. Read Chapter 4 through to the discussion of solvents and solutes. 
  2. Watch Crash Course Water – Liquid Awesome OR The Amoeba Sisters – Properties of Water:
  3. Watch Crash Course – The Great Picnic Mixup
  4.  Watch TED-Ed How polarity of makes water behave strangely 
    1. Why does polarity allow water to be such a good solvent?
    2. Is fruit salad a solution? Why?
    3. In what states does water occur naturally on Earth?
    4. Is saltwater or freshwater more polar? Why?
    5. What is the solubility of a gummy bear compared to a meatball?
    6. Extra credit: What is more dense: ice, liquid water, or steam? Why?

Week 6: Part II of Module 4, Water. Concept – Solutes and solutions, cohesion.

“All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.” – Ecclesiastes 1:7

We are going to complete the main work of water this week!

  1. Read Finish reading Module 4.
  2. Watch SmartLearning Solubility
  3.  Watch Solute, Solvent, Solubility
  4. Watch Crash Course Chemistry, Water and Solutions (this is high school level so just do the best you can!) :
  5. Watch N Volkmann’s Water 2/3 (adhesion, cohesion, surface tension):
  6. Questions: 
    1. You pour some bath salts into the bathtub as you get ready for an evening soak.
      a) In this situation, which is  solute and which is solvent?
      b) Will the bathtub contain a solution or a mechanical mixture? Explain your answer.
    2. Is surface tension an example of adhesion or cohesion?
    3. Water is able to travel against gravity, from the roots of a plant to the leaves at the top of the plant. Why?
    4. What do we call it when water that has certain dissolved ions in i? (Predominately calcium and magnesium ions.)
    5. What is the term for the use of electricity to break a molecule down into smaller units?
    6. EXTRA: One the first day of class, we did an experiment that used electricity to break down water. The copper turned green – why?

Week 7: Chapter 5, Hydrosphere. Concept – Hydrologic cycle,  Erosion, weathering, the power of water…

Read: Chapter 5 of your textbook

Watch (Weathering and erosion)

Watch (Why aren’t rivers straight?)

Watch: (Smithsonian asks how the Grand Canyon was made.)

Read: (seriously, do this!) through this collection of pictures demonstrating kinds of weathering:

1) Chemical weathering
2) Mechanical weathering
3) Erosion
4) Mass wasting
5) Biological Weathering
Extra Credit: The Grand Canyon was made by the Colorado River. Know the name of the (very salty) lake that was accidentally made out of the Colorado River.