Earth Science

Course Description

Semester A

The first three modules of semester A cover scientific inquiry, the structure and composition of the universe, and the features of the solar system. Students learn the importance of scientific inquiry and how to communicate the results of scientific investigations. They then have material on the formation of the universe, including the Big Bang Theory, the motions of celestial objects, and stellar evolution. The third module covers material related to the solar system, including features of the sun and the planets and the movements of Earth. The second three modules of Semester A cover weather, climate, and Earth’s water cycle. Students first learn in module 4 about the atmosphere and clouds, as well as the factors that influence local and global climate. In module 5 they continue by learning about weather and air masses, meteorology, and storms. Module 6 then discusses the water cycle, including groundwater and ocean features, as well as water scarcity and pollution.

Semester B

The first three modules of semester B cover the physical structure of the Earth and Earth’s tectonic system, including the rock cycle, tectonic activity, and mountain building. It then covers weathering and erosion and soil formation. The next material in the course then addresses the concept of systems; it addresses the Earth as a system, feedback in systems, and Earth’s major nutrient cycles. The second three modules of semester 2 cover geologic history, including the evolution of Earth’s atmosphere, the geologic time scale, and the fossil record. It then goes over natural resources and the effects of human population on natural resources. The course wraps up with a discussion of human society and its interconnectedness with the Earth’s environment, how science and technology work together, and the technological design process in earth science applications.

Course Requirements

Grade Level



  • Uninflated round balloon
  • Permanent marker
  • 50 small candies that have letters on one side of them (like M&Ms or Skittles)
  • A small zipper seal plastic bag
  • Two kitchen mixing bowls
  • Ice cubes
  • Water
  • A permanent marker
  • A block of wood
  • A pair of pliers
  • A pair of needle-nose tweezers
  • A slotted spoon
  • A drinking straw
  • Sunflower seeds in the shell
  • Colored water
  • A long narrow vase
  • Rice grains
  • Small block of Styrofoam
  • 3 or 4 large marshmallows
  • A teaspoon of herbs (any kind will do, like basil or parsley)


2 Semesters



Physical Science 8

Technology Skills


Semester A

Major Concepts

  • Scientific Inquiry includes all the skills and characteristics that scientists need to develop new knowledge.
  • The universe formed after expansion of very hot, very dense material.
  • The universe is expanding.
  • Stars are giant nuclear reactors that transform matter into energy.
  • The bodies of the Solar System move in predictable ways under the influence of gravity.
  • Temperature and pressure differences in the atmosphere create distinct global and local climate patterns.
  • Warm fronts and cold fronts interact with air masses differently to produce predictable weather.
  • Wind blows on a global scale in wind belts known as the easterlies, westerlies, and trade winds.
  • Scientists help society predict and prepare for storm hazards.
  • The water cycle moves Earth’s water between land and the atmosphere.

Semester B

Major Concepts

  • The Earth formed 4.65 billion years ago.
  • The fossil record provides evidence of an ancient Earth.
  • Different types of rocks form in different environments, and they have predictable properties.
  • Earth’s tectonic system affects features of Earth’s surface as well as earthquake and volcanic activity.
  • Geologic history is divided into distinct chunks of time and organized in the geologic time scale.
  • Fossil fuels are nonrenewable energy sources.
  • Renewable energy sources include hydropower, wind power, solar power, and geothermal power.
  • Urbanization is taking place at a higher rate than ever and will have impacts on the environment.
  • Science and technology work together to advance our understanding and develop new knowledge.
  • The technological design process is an orderly process of steps for applying technology to solve problems.