Earth Science Syllabus

Textbook for Honors & College Prep Levels:

Spaulding and Namowitz (2005). Earth Science. Evanston, Illinois: McDougal Littell


Textbook for Academic Level:

Padilla, Miaoulis, and Cyr (2005) Earth Science.  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc.


** The general content taught in each level of earth science is the same—however, the methods and depth of the instruction as well as the level of challenge in the assignments will vary by level.


Essential Question 1:  HOW MUCH DO WE DEPEND ON THE EARTH?

  Archeology--How did people depend on the earth in the past?

        -what methods are used to learn about ancient times?

        -how have human societies changed over time?

Topographic Maps--How can we easily communicate our understanding of earth's surface?

        -how can you interpret land features (changes in elevation) on maps?

        -how can you measure and calculate distances/slopes using a map?

 Rivers--How does running water affect the surface of earth and its inhabitants?

        -how long will it take a river to erode its drainage basin?

        -how rivers vary in their characteristics due to age?

        -how people have dealt with the issue of river flooding?

Natural Resources--What things do we directly obtain from earth?

        -how are resources located?

        -what methods are used to extract these resources?

        -how does the rate of resource extraction vary with time?

        -how much of different resources do we use?

Weathering/Soils--How do natural processes happen to form soils--which are vital to our food web?

        -what are the common ways that weathering occurs to produce soil?

        -what characteristics of soil are needed for optimum growing conditions?

        -how can you determine the quality of a soil sample?

Groundwater--Why do we use water from the ground for drinking instead of from other sources?

        -why do ‘water budgets’ vary with location?

        -how does the sediment type influence its porosity/permeability/yeild?


Essential Question 2:  Why Don’t the Weather Experts Always Get it Right?


 The Atmosphere

           --what is the air made up of?

           --what factors impact temperature and pressure?

           --how do scientists divide the atmosphere into layers?


--how does air move along the shoreline?

--how does air move around the globe?

--why do large storms spin?


                --how is the amount of moisture in the air measured?
                --how do clouds and precipitation happen?

                --what are the common air masses that affect the USA?
                --why are weather fronts typically associated with bad weather?

        Weather Maps
                --how do you interpret all of the symbols on a map?

        Climate and Climate Change
                --how might humans be affecting the earth's climate?
                --what can/should be done about the issue of climate change?


Essential Question 3:  Why does Connecticut Look the Way That it Does Today?



--how do they reshape the surface beneath them when they advance and retreat?

--how can you reconstruct a glacier's past based upon the sediments we presently see?



--why are beaches dynamic?

--what can people do to help stabilize beaches and their structures?


        Plate Tectonics

           --what events happen as a result of shifting crustal plates?

           --how can we tell that plates are actually moving?

           --How do we know what we know about earthquakes and volcanoes?

        Rocks and Minerals

           --what are the most common types of rocks and minerals found in CT?

           --what does the presence of these rocks tell us about our state's past?


        Earth History

           --what major events can we identify in earth's history?

           --How did Connecticut fit into the earth's history?



Departmental exams will take place in both January and June.  Each exam will focus on the content taught over the course of that semester.