Scope, Sequence, and Coordination

A Framework for High School Science Education

Based on the National Science Education Standards

Topographic Maps

Interactions Among Ecosystem: Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Mountains and Plate Movements
Interactions among the solid earth, the oceans, the atmosphere, and organisms have resulted in the ongoing evolution of the earth system. We can observe some changes such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions on a human time scale, but many processes such as mountain building and plate movements take place over hundreds of millions of years.

Further Description:

Just as life on Earth has been evolving, so has the solid earth, hydrosphere, and atmosphere. Uniformity, a basic underlying assumption of geology, states that what we see occurring now is also what we have seen in the pastCthe laws of nature do not change over long periods of time. Most geologic changes take place over millions of years, although there are some geologically quick disasters or catastrophes.

Modern geology is based on the theory of plate tectonics. For students to fully understand this theory, instructional time must first be spent building an understanding of the evidence supporting itC earthquake and volcano patterns, paleomagnetism, and sediment age. These studies can be done prior to an investigation of plate tectonics.

The focal point of this generalization is that landscapes, oceans, and the atmosphere go through both a natural slow process of evolution, which would be implied by laws of science, and sudden changes more connected to extraordinary and discontinuous events. Things change and these changes can be predicted and sometimes observed. In addition, there are important interactions between the solid earth, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. Each affects the other through processes such as weathering and erosion.

Concepts Needed:

Grade 9

Sediments, sedimentation, weathering, sorting, angularity

Grade 10

Landform evolution, surface geology (erosion, weathering, transportation, streams, landforms, glaciers, earthquakes, faults), coastal processes, rates of change, topo mapping, geologic maps, mineral characteristics (hardness, color, luster, cleavage, crystal shape, composition), physiographic provinces, risks, geothermal energy

Grade 11

Paleomagnetism, paleoclimates, fractional crystallization, Bowen=s reaction series

Grade 12

Theory, model, scientific thought, continental drift, plate tectonics

Empirical Laws or Observed Relationships:


Theories or Models:

Origin of Earth, gravity, crustal evolution, origin of life on Earth, origin of atmosphere, hydrosphere, geological assumptions (e.g., principle of uniformity), superposition, original horizontality, faunal succession

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Micro-Unit Description:

Topographic Maps
Students should create and use topographic maps.

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