Core Curriculum Content Standards

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Science Standards Learning Progressions

5.4 Earth Systems Science All students will understand that Earth operates as a set of complex, dynamic, and interconnected systems, and is a part of the all-encompassing system of the universe.
D. Tectonics: The theory of plate tectonics provides a framework for understanding the dynamic processes within and on Earth.
By the end of Grade 6 By the end of Grade 8 By the end of Grade 12
Content: Lithospheric plates consisting of continents and ocean floors move in response to movements in the mantle.

5.4.6.D.1 Apply understanding of the motion of lithospheric plates to explain why the Pacific Rim is referred to as the Ring of Fire.
Content: Earth is layered with a lithosphere, a hot, convecting mantle, and a dense, metallic core.

5.4.8.D.1 Model the interactions between the layers of Earth.
Content: Convection currents in the upper mantle drive plate motion. Plates are pushed apart at spreading zones and pulled down into the crust at subduction zones.

5.4.12.D.1 Explain the mechanisms for plate motions using earthquake data, mathematics, and conceptual models.
Content: Earth’s landforms are created through constructive (deposition) and destructive (erosion) processes.

5.4.6.D.2 Locate areas that are being created (deposition) and destroyed (erosion) using maps and satellite images.
Content: Major geological events, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and mountain building, result from the motion of plates. Sea floor spreading, revealed in mapping of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and subduction zones are evidence for the theory of plate tectonics.

5.4.8.D.2 Present evidence to support arguments for the theory of plate motion.
Content: Evidence from lava flows and ocean-floor rocks shows that Earth’s magnetic field reverses (North – South) over geologic time.

5.4.12.D.2 Calculate the average rate of seafloor spreading using archived geomagnetic-reversals data.
Content: Earth has a magnetic field that is detectable at the surface with a compass.

5.4.6.D.3 Apply knowledge of Earth’s magnetic fields to successfully complete an orienteering challenge.
Content: Earth’s magnetic field has north and south poles and lines of force that are used for navigation.

5.4.8.D.3 Explain why geomagnetic north and geographic north are at different locations.