Earth Science

352 Pages · 2015 · 9.06 MB · English

  • Earth Science


    1.1 Copyright, Utah State Office of Education, 2013.

    Unless otherwise noted, the contents of this book are licensed under

    the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike license.

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    This book is adapted primarily from the excellent materials created by

    the CK-12 Foundation – http://ck12.org/ – which are licensed under the

    Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike license. We

    express our gratitude to the CK-12 Foundation for their pioneering work

    on secondary science textbooks ,without which the current book would

    not be possible.

    We also thank the amazing Utah science teachers whose collaborative

    efforts made the book possible. Thank you for your commitment to

    science education and Utah students!

    Cover and textbook design by Corrine Beaumont, PhD. Photo issued under a

    Creative Commons attribution license, Corrine Beaumont.

    Cover adapted from “Grand Canyon National Park: View from Yaki

    Point, Christmas Day 2014” by Grand Canyon National Park


    This book is yours to keep, so write on all the

    pages you like. There’s even space on the back

    cover for your name.

    It’s your learning,

    It’s your book.


    WHY science?

    Many students equate science to learning vocabulary terms, labeling

    pictures, and memorizing facts. Science by nature is much more

    inclusive and loosely defined. Have you ever asked yourself questions

    about your surroundings and wondered how or why they are

    happening? This is science. Science works best when driven by

    curiosity and innovation. In order for you to experience science in its

    fullest sense you must take it beyond the textbook and into your

    everyday experience, but in order to be meaningful there are certain

    guidelines that can help us. Science is not constrained to Earth

    Science, but there are cross-cutting concepts threaded throughout all

    scientific disciplines. These include:

    uf0b7 Patterns

    Example found in Earth Science:

    We observe specific patterns in weather over time, which helps us define

    regional climates.

    uf0b7 Cause and effect: Mechanism and explanation;

    Example found in Earth Science:

    If sections of the Earth’s crust moves, then earth quakes occur, mountains

    form, and volcano erupt.

    uf0b7 Scale, proportion, and quantity;

    Example found in Earth Science:

    The size and distance the solar system is massive, so we produce scale models.

    uf0b7 Systems and system models;

    Example found in Earth Science:

    We create models of Earth’s mantle, to show how convection currents move

    the magma, acting as a conveyer belt for the Earth’s crust. Understanding

    this model can show how moving Earth’s crust creates many of the land

    features we observe.

    uf0b7 Energy and matter: Flows, cycles, and conservation;

    Example found in Earth Science:

    Light from the sun is absorbed by the surface of the Earth and converted to

    heat. The heat energy is then cycled through the Earth’s atmosphere

    powering the weather.


    uf0b7 Structure and function;

    Example found in Earth Science:

    The structure of a water molecule creates unique characteristic. These

    characteristics allow it to support life on Earth.

    uf0b7 Stability and change;

    Example found in Earth Science:

    When we remove vegetation away a hillside to build a home, we affect the

    stability of the ground which may cause a mud or land slide when it rains.

    When studying any specific scientific discipline you should attempt to

    keep these cross-cutting concepts in mind in order to gain a better

    perspective of the world as whole and the nature of science. Included

    in the concepts are the skills and practices that a scientist utilizes.

    When asking questions about the natural world there are certain skills

    and practices that can help you be generate better conclusions,

    explanations and inferences. These practices include:

    uf0b7 Asking questions and defining problems

    uf0b7 Developing and using models

    uf0b7 Planning and carrying out investigations

    uf0b7 Analyzing and interpreting data

    uf0b7 Using mathematics and computational thinking

    uf0b7 Constructing explanations and designing solutions

    uf0b7 Engaging in argument from evidence

    uf0b7 Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

    While these practices and cross-cutting concepts are crucial to your

    overall success in science, in order to be most meaningful they do

    need some context. This is where the study of disciplinary core ideas

    are most impactful. If you study (Earth Science) or any other scientific

    discipline without the cross-cutting concepts and scientific practices then

    you limit yourself to fact memorization and miss how these concepts

    relate to our everyday life and our society as a whole. Studying

    individual scientific disciplines are the vehicle for understanding cross-

    cutting concepts and acquiring scientific skills. When individual

    disciplines are studied within the context of practices and cross-cutting

    concepts they become more meaningful and more impactful.

    For example: When looking for solutions to atmospheric pollutions it

    is not a problem to be solved by chemists or physicists or geologists

    independently. It can only be solved when scientists come together

    with an understanding of how their independent research relates to the


    larger problem at hand. If we focus solely upon a few facts or cool

    phenomenon we can overlook how the study of science can really

    i mprove and impact our soci ety and personal experiences.


    Table of Contents

    Chapter 1: Universe

    - How do we know what we know about the universe? (Pg 16)

    - What fuels a star? (Pg 27)

    - What is at the center of the universe? (Pg 37)

    - What are conditions like on the inner planets? (Pg 47)

    - What are condition like on the outer planets? (Pg 58)

    - What other objects are in the solar system? (Pg 68)

    Chapter 2: Inside Earth

    - How does the internal structure of the Earth affect the temperature

    of the Earth? (Pg 78)

    - What causes earthquakes and volcanoes? (Pg 90)

    - What discovery was made during World War II that revived the idea

    of the continental drift hypothesis? (Pg 96)

    - Does the movement of Earth’s plates affect all living things? (Pg 110)

    Chapter 3: Atmosphere

    - Is the Greenhouse Effect a good thing or a bad thing? (Pg 122)

    - How does heat on Earth resemble a household budget? (Pg 128)

    - Why is it winter in the Southern Hemisphere when it is summer in

    the Northern Hemisphere? (Pg 132)

    - What makes the wind blow? (Pg 135)

    - Why were winds so important to the early explorers? (Pg 142)

    - What is ozone and why are we concerned about a hole in the

    ozone? (Pg 148)

    - What causes the change in the weather? (Pg 155)

    - How do they forecast the weather? (Pg 160)

    - What causes severe weather? (Pg 164)

    - What are short-term climate changes? (Pg 168)

    - How has Earth’s climate changed? (Pg 171)

    - What causes climate change? (Pg 174)

    - How are fossil fuels formed? (Pg 180)

    Chapter 4: Hydrosphere

    - Why can’t we drink most of the water on Earth? (Pg 188)

    - How do we use water? (Pg 196)

    - How do humans and animals cause water pollution? (Pg 201)

    - What makes H O unique? (Pg 207)


    - What is a freshwater ecosystem? (Pg 212)

    - Was there always water on Earth? (Pg 218)

    - What causes water to move in the ocean? (Pg 224)

    Chapter 5: People and Planet

    - How do technological advances increase human knowledge? (Pg


    - How is a seismologist like a medical doctor? (Pg 238)

    - Will water cause the next war? (Pg 239)

    - Are soil and water renewable resources? (Pg 246)

    - How will the removal of the Elwha Dam affect the freshwater

    ecosystem upstream? (Pg 250)

    - What data do scientists provide that informs the discussion of Earth

    resource use? (Pg 255)

    - Can we predict natural hazards? (Pg 260)

    - What causes a heat wave? (Pg 272)

    - What is a tsunami? (Pg 278)

    - Which human activities contribute to the frequency and intensity of

    natural hazards? (Pg 282)

    - How do humans impact the carbon cycle? (Pg 289)

    - How do scientists use technology to continually improve estimates

    of when and where natural hazards occur? (Pg 293)

    - What is one of the deadliest science jobs? (Pg 298)

    - Does a picnic bring rain? (Pg 303)


    Utah Science Core Curriculum Alignment

    Standard 1: Students will understand the scientific evidence that

    supports theories that explain how the universe and the solar

    system developed. They will compare Earth to other objects in

    the solar system.

    Objective 1: Describe both the big bang theory of universe formation

    and the nebular theory of solar system formation and evidence

    supporting them.

    a) Identify the scientific evidence for the age of the solar system (4.6

    billion years), including Earth (e.g., radioactive decay).

    b) Describe the big bang theory and the evidence that supports this

    theory (e.g., cosmic background radiation, abundance of elements,

    distance/redshift relation for galaxies).

    c) Describe the nebular theory of solar system formation and the

    evidence supporting it (e.g., solar system structure due to gravity,

    motion and temperature; composition and age of meteorites;

    observations of newly forming stars).

    d) Explain that heavy elements found on Earth are formed in stars.

    e) Investigate and report how science has changed the accepted ideas

    regarding the nature of the universe throughout history.

    f) Provide an example of how technology has helped scientists

    investigate the universe.

    Objective 2: Analyze Earth as part of the solar system, which is part of

    the Milky Way galaxy.

    a) Relate the composition of objects in the solar system to their

    distance from the Sun.

    b) Compare the size of the solar system to the Milky Way galaxy.

    c) Compare the size and scale of objects within the solar system.

    d) Evaluate the conditions that currently support life on Earth

    (biosphere) and compare them to the conditions that exist on other

    planets and moons in the solar system (e.g., atmosphere,

    hydrosphere, geosphere, amounts of incoming solar energy,

    habitable zone).


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