Geology Self Paced (Semester: Grades 7-12)

    This course will cover Earth systems, Earth materials, Earth structure, and case studies from Earth history. Through labs, discussions, and projects, students will gain experience with key geological methods such as observing, describing, and interpreting Earth materials; connecting past and present; using geographically and temporally specific examples to deduce underlying processes; and integrating multiple lines of evidence to compensate for incomplete data. In the process, students will also develop their temporal reasoning and spatial thinking skills. 

    Length: This course will feature 17 units that can be completed using the self paced model over a semester or a year. Students will use Google Classroom for curriculum. 

    Projects: Students will complete various weekly labs, and create a rock collection by the end of the class. 

    This course will address the following

    Generation Science Standards:

    NGSS-HS-ESS1 Earth’s Place in the Universe

    B. Kepler’s laws describe common features of the motions of orbiting objects.

    Observations from astronomy and space probes provide evidence for explanations of solar system formation. Changes in Earth’s tilt and orbit cause climate changes such as Ice Ages.

    C. The rock record resulting from tectonic and other geoscience processes as well as objects from the solar system can provide evidence of Earth’s early history and the relative ages of major geologic formations.

    NGSS-HS-ESS2 Earth’s Systems

    A. Feedback effects exist within and among Earth’s systems.

    B. Radioactive decay within Earth’s interior contributes to thermal convection in the mantle.

    C. The planet’s dynamics are greatly influenced by water’s unique chemical and physical properties.

    D. The role of radiation from the sun and its interactions with the atmosphere, ocean, and land are the foundation for the global climate system. Global climate models are used to predict future changes, including changes influenced by human behavior and natural factors.

    E. The biosphere and Earth’s other systems have many interconnections that cause a continual coevolution of Earth’s surface and life on it.

    NGSS-HS-ESS3 Earth and Human Activity

    A. Resource availability has guided the development of human society and use of natural resources has associated costs, risks, and benefits.

    B. Natural hazards and other geological events have shaped the course of human history at local, regional, and global scales.

    C. Sustainability of human societies and the biodiversity that supports them requires responsible management of natural resources, including the development of technologies.

    D. Global climate models used to predict changes continue to be improved, although discoveries about the global climate system are ongoing and continually needed.

    Science and Engineering Practices

    1. Asking questions and defining problems

    2. Developing and using models

    3. Planning and carrying out investigations

    4. Analyzing and interpreting data

    5. Using mathematics and computational thinking

    6. Constructing explanations and designing solutions

    7. Engaging in argument from evidence

    8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

    *SSLs and Outcomes:

    FA = Formally assessed; IA = Informally assessed; ABNA = Addressed but not assessedI. Developing the Tools of Thought

    A. Develop automaticity in skills, concepts, and process that support and enable complex thought. FA

    - in labs, homework assignments, projects, quizzes, and tests

    B. Construct questions which further understanding, forge connections, and deepen meaning. FA

    -by examining and discussing the work of previous geoscientists and planning and executing term projects

    C. Precisely observe phenomena and accurately record findings. FA

    - in specimen-based lab activities and virtual or real field trips

    D. Evaluate the soundness and relevance of information and reasoning. FA

    - by reading and discussing papers

    - by evaluating which citations to include in projects and papers

    II. Thinking About Thinking

    A. Identify unexamined cultural, historical, and personal assumptions and misconceptions that impede and skew inquiry. IA

    - by comparing explanations based on early geological theories to explanations based on modern methods

    B. Find and analyze ambiguities inherent within any set of textual, social, physical, or theoretical circumstances. FA

    - while integrating multiple lines of geological evidence

    III. Extending and Integrating Thought

    A. Use appropriate technologies as extensions of the mind. FA

    - by using computers to locate resources, view distant areas, and analyze data

    B. Recognize, pursue, and explain substantive connections within and among areas of knowledge. FA

    - by integrating prior knowledge of biology, chemistry, and physics in explanations of geological phenomena

    - by examining contributions of geology to our understanding of ecology,

    evolution, and environmental science

    C. Recreate the beautiful conceptions that give coherence to structures of thought. FA- by integrating evidence to recreate key geological theories such as plate tectonics and the principles of stratigraphy

    IV. Expressing and Evaluating Constructs

    A. Construct and support judgments based on evidence. FA

    - in labs, homeworks, tests, papers, and projects

    B. Write and speak with power, economy, and elegance. IA

    - in papers and projects

    - in presentation and mini-presentations throughout the


    C. Identify and characterize the composing elements of dynamic and organic wholes, structures, and systems. FA

    - in all aspects of this course, by drawing connections between lithosphere,atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere while explaining geological phenomena

    V. Thinking and Acting with Others

    A. Identify, understand, and accept the rights and responsibilities of belonging to a diverse community. ABNA

    - by examining the contributions of diverse scientists to our understanding of geology

    - by working in teams with peers

    B. Make reasoned decisions which reflect ethical standards, and act in accordance with those decisions. ABNA

    - by behaving with intellectual honesty and avoiding plagiarism

    - while evaluating the disproportionate impacts of natural hazards on vulnerable communities

    Instructional Design and Approach:

    Geology is a very hands-on science, and this course takes a corresponding approach. A large part of the course centers around geological problem-solving using real samples and real data (problem-centered). Labs and activities are supported by discussions of varying lengths to cement and integrate key concepts. Students will tackle both classic and unsolved problems in geology to construct an understanding of the Earth System and how Earth processes are reflected in the geologic record. Since geology is a highly interdisciplinary science, students will apply their prior knowledge of chemistry, biology, and physics to their understanding of Earth processes. In the final unit of the course, students will have the option of delving deeper into particular subfields of geology, giving them an opportunity to explore how their existing interests in different fields of science relate to the Earth sciences.

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