• Unit One: Waves and Energy

    Waves and Energy:

    I can define a wave as a disturbance that transmits energy through matter and space.

    I can explain that a wave is the motion of a vibration.

    I can explain that sound waves are created when something vibrates, spreading away from the vibrating object. They can travel through solids, liquids, and gases.

    I can explain that seismic waves are waves that travel through the Earth.

    I can explain that waves on water move outward from a disturbance, like that of a vibrating tuning fork placed in water.

    I can define vibrations as back-and-forth motions.

    I can define matter as anything that has mass and takes up space.

    I can explain that when molecules in matter vibrate, they excite other molecules to vibrate and waves travel outward from the center of the vibration.

    I can define energy as the ability to do work or cause motion.

    I can explain that an energy transfer takes place when molecules transfer the energy of motion to other molecules, then return to their state of rest.

    I can explain that when waves hit a beach, erosion takes place. The ripples that are left in the sand show the reaction of the wave.

    I can explain that seismic waves are the vibrations that travel through the Earth carrying the energy of motion released during an earthquake.

    I can explain that when seismic waves travel through the Earth, buildings shake and sometimes crumble, the ground trembles, and the vibrations are transferred outward from the origin of the quake.

    Solar Energy Effects:

    I can explain that nuclear reactions take place in the sun, releasing a large amount of light energy.

    I can explain that nuclear reactions take place in the sun, releasing heat energy.

    I can explain that the heating of the Earth at any location depends on the angle of the sun in the sky.

    I can clarify that only a small amount of the light energy from the sun that hits the Earth produces heat energy on Earth.

    I can describe how light energy from the sun is absorbed by the Earth's surface and changed into heat energy. The heat energy radiates out and heats the air above. Some molecules (e.g., carbon dioxide) in the air absorb this heat energy and radiate some of it back to the Earth's surface, making it warm enough to support life (the greenhouse effect).

    I can explain that the color of the Earth's surface affects the amount of heat that the Earth absorbs. Many Earth surfaces reflect light energy away from the Earth, so that light energy cannot be used as heat energy.

    Unit Two: Physical and Chemical Properties and Changes in Matter

    Chemical Properties:

    I can distinguish between physical and chemical properties.

    I can classify substances by their chemical properties (flammability, pH, reactivity).

    Elements and Compounds:

    I can identify the atom as the smallest component that makes up an element.

    I can distinguish between an atom, a molecule, and an element.

    I can explain how elements are grouped into families by their properties.

    I can identify the four different families of elements by their properties.

    (highly reactive metals, less reactive metals, highly reactive nonmetals, and some almost completely non-reactive gases)

    I can describe the properties that elements of each of the families have in common.

    I can make a model or drawing of a simple molecule's structure (water, carbon dioxide, table salt).

    I can give examples of physical properties (density, boiling point, color, conductivity).

    I can give examples of chemical properties (flammability, reactivity, pH).

    Chemical Changes:

    I can define chemical change as a change in the number or kinds of atoms that are bonded together.

    I can identify evidence of chemical change through color, gas formation, solid formation, temperature change, and light.

    I can compare and contrast the chemical properties of a new substance (product) with the original substance (reactant) after a chemical change.

    I can describe the physical and chemical properties of the products in a chemical change.

    I can describe the physical and chemical properties of the reactants in a chemical change.

    Unit Three: Structures and Processes of Living Things

    Cell Functions

    I can recognize that all living organisms are composed of cells and that some organisms consist of just one cell, and others consist of many cells.

    *Note: The intent of the following statements is to relate organ systems to their basic cell structure and function. Human body systems are NOT to be covered at this grade level. (See fifth grade.) Plants are suggested as a practical choice to examine.

    I can explain by using illustrations &/or verbally that tissues are composed of groups of similar specialized cells, for example, in plants, epidermis, conductive tissue, and distinct photosynthetic layers in leaves.

    I can explain by using illustrations &/or verbally that organs are composed of different types of tissues. For example, in plants, leaves contain conductive tissue, epidermal tissue, and layers of photosynthetic tissue.

    I can explain by using illustrations &/or verbally that organ systems are composed of different organs. For example, in animals, the digestive system is composed of esophagus, stomach, small intestine, etc.

    I can explain by using illustrations &/or verbally that organs and organ systems are composed of cells and function to serve the needs of cells for food, air, water, and waste removal.

    I can describe how nutrients pass through cell membranes by diffusion and are used to provide energy for work of the cell and materials that the cell needs.

    I can describe the basic life functions performed by cells – taking in food and oxygen and removal of wastes.

    I can recognize that cells function in a similar way in all organisms.

    Growth and Development

    I can describe how division of cells leads to an increase in cell number and an increase in the size of multicellular organisms.

    *Note: The phases of mitosis are excluded at this grade level.

    I can describe how growth in one-celled organisms is due to an increase in cell size.

    I can investigate how continued cell division in sexually reproducing multicellular organisms leads to differentiation into specialized cells and the development of specialized tissues, organs, and organ systems.

    I can infer that the large number of cells in a multicellular organism make the development of tissues, organs, and organ systems possible.

    Photosynthesis

    I can recognize that light provides the energy for plants to combine materials from air, water, and soil to produce carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

    I can explain that the source of the carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen found in carbohydrates, proteins, and fats produced by plants is carbon dioxide and water.

    I can describe examples of evidence that plants make, use, and store food. For example, a germinating seed shrivels as the growing seedling uses its stored food, plant structures such as roots, tubers, fruits, and seeds have high caloric value, and animals can obtain energy and useful materials by consuming plants or plant parts.

    Energy Transfer

    I can explain that the energy that plants use to combine materials from air, water, and soil to produce carbohydrates, proteins, and fats (chemical energy) is provided by light.

    Reproduction

    I can explain the difference between asexual and sexual reproduction.

    I can compare the characteristics of young produced by sexual and asexual reproduction.

    I can compare the sources of genetic material of young produced by sexual and asexual reproduction, i.e., respectively, genetic material from two sources (organisms) and genetic material from one organism.

    *Exclusion: The phases of mitosis and meiosis are excluded at this grade level.

    I can compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of sexual vs. asexual reproduction.

    I can explain that sexual reproduction produces variation among offspring, which may provide combinations of characteristics helpful to species survival.

    I can explain that asexual reproduction can produce large numbers of offspring that are identical to the previous generation, which may be at a disadvantage if the environment changes.

    I can explain that asexual reproduction can be accomplished without the need to find a mate.

    Unit Four: Fluid Earth Systems and Human Activities

    Solar Energy

    I can describe the water cycle as the continuous movement of water from the ocean and other bodies of water to the atmosphere, precipitation to the Earth's surface, through runoff and groundwater to streams, and back into the oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams.

    I can explain that the sun sends energy to the Earth in the form of light/radiation, and this energy is transformed into thermal energy after it arrives at Earth.

    I can define evaporation as the process by which liquid water changes into a gas called water vapor and enters the atmosphere.

    I can demonstrate through models, diagrams, verbally, or in writing that heat causes water to evaporate.

    I can demonstrate that warm air in the atmosphere rises.

    I can demonstrate through models, diagrams, verbally, or in writing that cooling temperatures in the upper atmosphere cause water vapor to change state and condense as a liquid.

    I can demonstrate through models, diagrams, verbally, or in writing that the cooled water in the atmosphere forms clouds. The water droplets in the clouds collide and form larger droplets until they are pulled to the ground by gravity in the form of precipitation.

    I can define convection as the transfer of heat energy through liquids and gases by moving particles. Convection currents move warm air through the atmosphere and warm water through the oceans.

    I can define the atmosphere as the envelope of gases that surrounds Earth.

    I can explain that air will rise if it is warmer than the surrounding air, and it will rise to great heights if cool air is present.

    I can explain that eventually the rising air will cool.

    I can explain that cool air holds less water vapor than warm air. Water vapor in a cooling air mass will condense into liquid water at a certain temperature and pressure.

    I can explain that water vapor may produce clouds and precipitation.

    I can define wind as the movement of air from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure.

    I can explain that areas of high and low pressure are caused by differences in the Earth's temperature. These differences are due to the sun's warming.

    I can explain that air movement is affected by the rotation of the Earth.

    I can define ocean currents as the movement of ocean water, which can be made up of hot or cold water.

    I can compare the movement of ocean water currents to the movement of warm and cold air in the atmosphere.

    Human Consequence

    I can describe verbally, in writing, or with illustrations how human activities change animal habitat.

    I can describe examples of habitat destruction such as surface mining, deforestation, overpopulation, construction and urban development, farming, dams, landfills, and restoration of natural areas.

    I can explain that changes in animal habitat affect the survival rate of organisms.

    I can explain that the strongest force in rapid habitat loss is human activity.

    I can define pollution as the presence of harmful substances in the air, water, and land.

    I can define the geosphere as the land that makes up the Earth.

    I can define the hydrosphere as the bodies of water that make up the Earth.

    I can list the major causes of air pollution, including automobiles, fuel consumption in industry and buildings, and coal-burning power plants.

    I can explain that air pollution damages plants and causes health problems in animals.

    I can explain that damage to plants causes a loss of habitat, which threatens or endangers species.

    I can explain that fossil fuels, aerosols, pollution, and land use can influence climate change.

    I can explain that burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide into the air.

    Weather and Climate **Start here with Companion Document, page 9.

    I can define weather as the mix of events that happen each day in the atmosphere including temperature, rainfall, and humidity.

    I can define climate as the average weather pattern in a place over many years.

    I can explain that climate is useful for weather forecasting.

    I can explain that most weather occurs at the lower portion of the atmosphere and is due to changes in the temperature of air masses.

    I can define an air mass as a huge body of air that has similar temperature, humidity, and air pressure at any given height in the atmosphere.

    I can explain that temperature changes in air masses cause them to move in the atmosphere.

    I can identify the sun as the major cause of the heating and cooling of our atmosphere.

    I can explain that the Earth gets the same amount of sunlight each day, but since the Earth is tilted on its axis, the light is unevenly divided into two hemispheres. The hemisphere that is tilted toward the sun and is receiving more direct light is experiencing summer, while the hemisphere that is tilted away from the sun is receiving less direct light and is experiencing winter.

    I can explain that rising warm air eventually cools, and cool air is eventually warmed.

    I can explain that more hours of sunlight mean more solar heating.

    I can identify the sun as the main source of Earth's energy.

    I can explain that both oceans and land absorb solar energy.

    I can explain that because the oceans make up 70% of the Earth's surface, they absorb more energy from the sun than land.

    I can explain that oceans store and transport heat energy that is related to climate.

    I can define frontal boundaries as the boundary that forms between warm and cold air masses.

    I can explain that warm and cold air masses do not mix readily.

    I can explain that warm air masses are forced to rise and expand over and above cold air masses, and cold air masses wedge underneath warmer air masses. Cool air is more dense and tends to sink. Warm air is less dense and tends to rise.

    I can explain that as warm air cools, the moisture condenses to form clouds. If the warm air continues to rise and expand, rain or snow may form.

    I can define a cold front as a situation where a cold air mass is advancing upon a warm air mass.

    I can define a warm front as a situation where a warm air mass is advancing upon a cold air mass.

    I can define a stationary front as a situation where a cold air mass and a warm air mass meet and neither mass is displacing the other.

    I can define an occluded front as a situation when warm, cool, and cold air masses come together. They are not as common as warm, cold, or stationary fronts.

    I can define the jet stream as the concentrated, high-altitude streams of fast moving wind that blow from west to east across the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. It is responsible for the movement of major weather features from west to east across North America and the Earth as a whole.

    I can identify big thunderstorms in the summer and snowfalls in the winter as the weather conditions associated with cold fronts.

    I can identify steady, long-lasting rains in the summer and steady snowfalls in the winter as the weather conditions associated with warm fronts.

    I can explain that the weather conditions associated with an occluded front can be divided into three categories: before passing, while passing, and after passing.

    I can explain that stationary fronts occur when neither warm nor cold air advances, and the two air masses reach a stalemate.

    Water Cycle

    I can define the water cycle as the continuous movement of water from the ocean and other bodies of water to the atmosphere, precipitation back to the Earth's surface, through runoff and groundwater to streams, and returning into the oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams.

    I can explain that Earth's water is always in motion, and the water cycle (also known as the hydrologic cycle) describes the continuous movement of water on, above, and below the surface of the Earth.

    I can define evaporation as the process when the sun heats up water in rivers or lakes or the ocean and turns it into vapor or steam. The water vapor or steam leaves the river, lake, or ocean and goes into the air.

    I can describe how plants absorb water from the soil and move it through the plant to all parts of the plant. Excess water leaves the plant through openings in the leaves, which is called transpiration.

    I can explain that condensation takes place high in the atmosphere and at ground level. Water vapor rises and cools collecting around particles of dust, smoke, or salt to form water droplets.

    I can explain that for precipitation to occur, cloud droplets or ice crystals must grow heavy enough to fall through the air.

    I can explain that infiltration occurs when precipitation remains in the shallow soil layer, then moves through the soil and subsurface. Eventually the water enters a stream by seepage or filters down to become groundwater.

    I can explain that runoff is when rain falls on saturated or impervious ground and flows downhill.

    I can explain that large amounts of water are stored beneath the surface of the Earth as groundwater. Rain soaks into the ground and fills the spaces between soil, rocks, and sand. The groundwater stays within the aquifers in the ground until it seeps out as a spring, connects to rivers or lakes, or people use it by digging wells.

    I can define a watershed as the land area that is drained by a river.

    I can explain that streams, rivers, and wetlands that join another river become a larger watershed.

    I can explain that groundwater can flow both vertically and horizontally toward streams, rivers, the ocean, or deeper into the ground.

    I can explain that one watershed is divided or separated from another by a ridge or rise in the land.

    Atmosphere

    I can describe the atmosphere as an envelope of gases composed of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1% trace gases.

    I can explain that this combination of gases in Earth's atmosphere makes conditions on Earth suitable for living things.

    I can explain that the atmosphere has different properties at different elevations.

    I can explain that at higher elevations the temperature of the air is generally colder, the air pressure is lower, and the density is lower.

    I can explain that as the altitude increases, the atmosphere gets thinner. At an elevation of 80 kilometers, there is very little air at all.