Earth Science

Earth Clipart

The 2018 SCSP Summer Institute focused on concepts in Earth and Space Science (ESS1 & ESS2). The content of this institute will be repeated in 2024.

The 2019 SCSP Summer Institute focused on Environmental Science (ESS3) and the Environmental Principles and Concepts across Disciplinary Core Ideas. The content of this institute will be repeated in 2025.


 

ESS1: Earth's Place in the Universe Lessons

Conceptual Flow: Earth's Place in the Universe

ESS2: Earth's Systems Lessons

Conceptual Flow: Earth's Systems

ESS3: Earth and Human Activity Lessons

Conceptual Flow: Earth and Human Activity

 

Conceptual Flows: Earth and Space Science 

Our conceptual flows are diagrams that show one way that scientific concepts within a specific disciplinary core idea can connect and build. These diagrams include concepts from kindergarten through eighth grade and help guide our instruction for each Summer iInstitute. 

 

Conceptual Flow Diagram

Disciplinary Core Ideas

NGSS Performance Expectations

Click on linked PEs to see corresponding lessons.

Year Presented

Earth's Place in the Universe

ESS1: Earth's Place in the Universe

  • ESS1.A: The Universe and its Stars
  • ESS1.B: Earth and the Solar System
  • ESS1.C: The History of the Planet Earth

ESS2: Earth's Systems

  • ESS2.D: Weather and Climate

1-ESS1-1, 1-ESS1-2

3-ESS2-1

5-ESS1-1, 5-ESS1-2

7th and 8th Grade PEs:

MS-ESS1-1, MS-ESS1-2, MS-ESS1-3

Earth Science

Summer 2018

Earth's Systems

ESS1: Earth's Place in the Universe

  • ESS1.C: The History of the Planet Earth

 ESS2: Earth's Systems

  • ESS2.A: Earth Materials and Systems
  • ESS2.B: Plate Tectonics and Large-Scale System Interactions
  • ESS2.C: The Roles of Water in the Earth's Surface Processes
  • ESS2.D: Weather and Climate
  • ESS2.E: Biogeology

ESS3: Earth and Human Activity

  • ESS3.B: Natural Hazards

K-ESS2-1, K-ESS3-2

2-ESS1-1, 2-ESS2-1, 2-ESS2-2, 2-ESS2-3

3-ESS2-1, 3-ESS2-2

4-ESS1-1, 4-ESS2-1, 4-ESS2-2
 
5-ESS2-1, 5-ESS2-2
 
 MS-ESS2-4, MS-ESS2-5, MS-ESS2-6
 
7th and 8th Grade PEs:
 
MS-ESS1-4, MS-ESS2-1, MS-ESS2-2, MS-ESS2-3

Earth Science

Summer 2018

Earth and Human Activity

ESS1: Earth's Place in the Universe

  • ESS1.C: The History of the Planet Earth

ESS2: Earth's Systems

  • ESS2.E: Biogeology

ESS3: Earth and Human Activity

  • ESS3.A: Natural Resources
  • ESS3.B: Natural Hazards
  • ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems
  • ESS3.D: Global Climate Change

 K-ESS2-2, K-ESS3-1, K-ESS3-3

2-ESS1-1, 2-ESS2-1

3-ESS3-1

4-ESS3-1, 4-ESS3-2

5-ESS3-1

MS-ESS3-3, MS-ESS3-5

7th and 8th Grade PEs:

MS-ESS3-1, MS-ESS3-2, MS-ESS3-4

Enviromental Science

Summer 2019

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Lessons: ESS1 - Earth's Place in the Universe

Grade Level

NGSS Performance Expectation(s)

Lesson Title and Description

Lesson Materials

Presenter(s)

1

1-ESS1-1

Shadow Systems

Students will go outside to observe and record data about their shadows for four consecutive days in the morning, noon, and afternoon. Each day will conclude with a classroom discussion that asks students to analyze their data and identify patterns and trends in the movement of their shadows and the sun. By the end of the week, the concept of systems will be introduced and applied to the shadows they observe. On the last day, students will apply what they have learned from watching their own shadows to create their own shadow system in the classroom.

*Classroom Tested by 2018 Teacher Participant Mini-Grant Recipient*

"Thanks for the grant to do the Shadow Systems lesson! It went pretty well. We had to stretch it out over about 3 weeks because there were so many days with no sun! By the end of the unit the kids were really able to verbalize what was happening in their shadow system. They were able to predict from their data, see the patterns, and for the most part understand how to look for a trend." - Cynthia from Hope School District

Lesson Plan

Student Worksheets (Word)

Student Worksheets (PDF)

Student Worksheet (completed)

Teacher Materials (Word)

Teacher Materials (PDF)

Mandi de Witte

Summer 2018

5

 

5-ESS1-1

 

Stargazing

In this lesson students will explore why stars appear brighter or dimmer in the sky. They will also learn that a star’s brightness can be measured in two different ways: the actual brightness (brightness from a fixed distance) and apparent brightness (brightness from Earth). Through guided inquiry, students will discover that a star’s brightness from Earth is a combination of the star’s actual brightness and its distance from Earth.

 

Lesson Plan

Student Worksheets (PDF)

Star Cards (powerpoint)

Stargazing Slides (powerpoint)

Darby Feldwinn

Summer 2018

 

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Lessons: ESS2 - Earth's Systems

Grade Level

NGSS Performance Expectation(s)

Lesson Title and Description

Lesson Materials

Presenter(s)

K

K-ESS2-1

My Weather Journal

In this lesson students will explore the local weather patterns on sunny, cloudy, foggy, rainy, stormy, and windy days. They will also learn how to analyze and interpret a month long calendar and a bar graph to see what the most common and least common local weather patterns are. Through guided discussions, students will also analyze and interpret the local weather of Big Bear, California to find the most and least common weather patterns.

Lesson Plan

Student Worksheets (Word)

Student Worksheets (PDF)

Additional Lesson Materials

Nichole Hughes

Summer 2018

2

2-ESS2-2

 

Landforms and Bodies of Water

In this lesson students will practice developing and using models through the exploration and identification of landforms and bodies of water in Santa Barbara County.

 

Lesson Plan

Student Worksheets (G Doc)

Student Worksheets (PDF)

Additional Lesson Materials

Janis Spracher

Patty Malone

Summer 2018

 

3

3-ESS2-2

Climate in the U.S.A.

Students will work in groups of three to obtain and evaluate temperature and precipitation data for an assigned city. They will create bar graphs from the provided data to identify trends in the stability and change of their city’s climate. Students will use the collected data to decide what type of climate their city exhibits. Lastly, they will create a short presentation and weather forecast to communicate their findings to their classmates to compare climates around the United States. Great connections to common core math, and research practice for third grade students!

*Classroom Tested by 2018 Teacher Participant Mini-Grant Recipient*

"My students did well exploring the climates of different places across the United States. I did have to break it down into much smaller chunks, and each took several days. The students enjoyed sharing their info with each other, and I loved when they looked at their Post-it graph and could see the climate getting warmer over time.  They came to that conclusion on their own!" - Christina from Las Virgenes Unified School District

Lesson Plan

Student Worksheets (Word)

Student Worksheets (PDF)

Additional Lesson Materials

Mandi de Witte

Summer 2018

4

4-ESS2-1

Stream Table Investigations

In this lesson students use stream tables to investigate variables that affect the way water erosion alters landforms. During the lesson, students measure and make note of the relationship between the changing variable and the amount of erosion.  They will use data collected to create a cause and effect conclusion related to the variable they chose. Detailed instructions on how to set up stream tables are included in lesson materials. 
 

*Classroom Tested by 2018 Teacher Participant Mini-Grant Recipient*

"Although this investigation required a lot of materials and preparation, the students managed themselves well and quickly became efficient at the stream table set-up.  This was a great opportunity to test a variety of variables, make predictions, and think as scientists. Students were able to imagine, design and test their own ideas, so engagement was high.  The effects of the water on the earth materials was a great way to understand concepts of weathering and erosion. Noting the variety of results led us to many conversations about patterns, systems and models."  - Becka from Peabody Charter School

 

Lesson Plan

Student Worksheets (Word)

Student Worksheets (PDF)

Lauri Dahlin

Summer 2018

4

4-ESS2-2

Human Impact

Students will investigate the question, “How has human activity impacted different ecosystems?” Students will complete a simulation in which they will be deer and need to forage for a year’s worth of food both with and without human influence. After the simulation, the students discuss the results and why they are significant to the scientific community. Students will build on the concepts in the simulation by comparing map images of one area from two different time periods. From the maps they will identify what changes occurred to the land because of humans. Students will then apply that knowledge to a new ecosystem and draw what they think will happen in an ecosystem based on the projected increase in human population.

*Classroom Tested by 2019 Teacher Participant Mini-Grant Recipient*

"This investigation had some set up, counting out 'deer food' (pasta) and measuring the 'home range' (space of our field), but 4th graders can easily assist with this part... The forest ecosystem model was very exciting and a great opportunity for the students to engage in the investigation... The students were very intrigued by the before and after pictures [of New Mexico] and doing the geography... Predicting human impact was an interesting way to wrap this up... Overall, this was a great lesson and the hands on approach with the deer food got the students very excited while learning about the human impact on our world." -- Janet from Mound School

       

Lesson Plan

Student Worksheets (Word)

Student Worksheets (PDF)

Map Images

Lauri Dahlin

Nichole Hughes

Summer 2019

6 / MS

MS-ESS2-4

Modeling the Water Cycle

In this lesson, students will observe/investigate the movement of water through the different stages of the water cycle and determine what drives this cycle.  Students are asked to think about what precipitation is then watch a video about why the water cycle is important. They observe a simple version of the water cycle and record these observations. Students are asked what stages require solar radiation, which require water to give off heat, and which are driven by the force of gravity.  Students record on their posters the different processes in the water cycle and how energy is involved. Students build their understanding of the water cycle through different models that are shown or experienced. The culminating activity has students creating their own model of the water cycle from the viewpoint of a water molecule including the processes, the energy involved, and gravity.

Lesson Plan

Kim Castagna

Summer 2018

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Lessons: ESS3: Earth and Human Impact

Grade Level

NGSS Performance Expectation(s)

Lesson Title and Description

Lesson Materials

Presenter(s)

K

K-ESS3-1

What Organisms Need

In this six-day lesson, students will examine several ecosystems and learn about what the plants and animals in those environments need to survive. The term FWARPS (FODD, Water, Air, Reproduction, Protection, and Shelter) will be used throughout the lesson with hand motions to jog their memory of said needs. Students will learn about the plants and animals in four different ecosystems and begin notice a familiar pattern of (FWARPS) needs regardless of the type of plant or animal organism it is or the place in which they live. Students will develop a model of understanding and make connections between the needs of different plants and animals (including humans) and the places they live. They will use this model of understanding to appropriately place plants and animals in a pond ecosystem.

Lesson Plan and Lesson Materials

Student Worksheets (Word)

Student Worksheets (PDF)

Rodney Lee

Summer 2019

3

3-ESS3-1*

3-5-ETS1-2

Levees

In this lesson, students will read and answer questions to learn about levees and their uses. Students will then explore how five materials interact with water. Using these findings, students will design and build a levee in groups. As a class, they will develop an evaluation tool to help them assess three levees based on both cost and performance. The levees will be tested by allowing it to rain on the levee and having water raise to the ½ maximum predicted flood height, followed by the maximum predicted flood height. Students will also discuss how building a levee can have a negative effect on surrounding areas.

Lesson Plan

Student Worksheets (Publisher)

Student Worksheets (PDF)

Additional Lesson Materials

Darby Feldwinn

Summer 2019

5

5-ESS3-1

Restoration Channel Islands Debate

​In this lesson, students obtain and combine information from multiple media sources about ways Santa Barbara County uses science ideas to protect the Channel Islands’ environment and the native and non-native species that live on Santa Cruz Island. To learn about these issues, students will watch a tale from the documentary ​West of the West​ and will be provided with articles from local newspapers. Students will then learn about debatable ideas and use this knowledge to form a debatable question regarding the Channel Islands restoration issues. Students will choose a side of this question to debate, search for evidence to support both their claim and their opponent’s proposed claim, and hold a debate with another group.

Lesson Plan

Student Worksheets (Word)

Student Worksheets (PDF)

Additional Lesson Materials

Nichole Hughes

Summer 2019

6/MS

MS-ESS3-5

Is it Hot in Here?

In this lesson, students will analyze a simulation used to visualize how and when carbon dioxide (CO2) traps heat in the atmosphere. Using data from a graph as well as the simulation, they will understand that CO­2 levels in the atmosphere have been rising, causing the global temperature to increase. In groups, students will analyze one of seven different CO2 factors to determine if their factor is a CO2 source or carbon neutral. They will then give their classmates an informal presentation describing the carbon flow within their factor (including light and heat energy interactions), how their factor influences global CO2 levels, and (if their factor is a source) how to reduce CO2 emissions.

Lesson Plan

Student Worksheets (Publisher)

Student Worksheets (PDF)

Additional Lesson Materials

Sammi Lambert

Janis Spracher

Lisa Lisle

Kyla Rightmer

Summer 2019

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