Core Curriculum Content Standards

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NJ World Class Standards
Content Area: Science

Content Area



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.


C. Properties of Earth Materials: Earth’s composition is unique, is related to the origin of our solar system, and provides us with the raw resources needed to sustain life.

By the end of grade

Content Statement


Cumulative Progress Indicator (CPI)


Observations and investigations form a basis for young learners’ understanding of properties of Earth materials.


Explore and describe characteristics of and concepts about soil, rocks, water, and air.


Soils are made of many living and nonliving substances. The attributes and properties of soil (e.g., moisture, kind and size of particles, living/organic elements, etc.) vary depending on location.


Describe Earth materials using appropriate terms, such as hard, soft, dry, wet, heavy, and light.


Rocks can be broken down to make soil.


Create a model to represent how soil is formed.


Earth materials in nature include rocks, minerals, soils, water, and the gases of the atmosphere. Attributes of rocks and minerals assist in their identification.


Categorize unknown samples as either rocks or minerals.


Soil attributes/properties affect the soil’s ability to support animal life and grow plants.


Predict the types of ecosystems that unknown soil samples could support based on soil properties.


The rock cycle is a model of creation and transformation of rocks from one form (sedimentary, igneous, or metamorphic) to another. Rock families are determined by the origin and transformations of the rock.


Distinguish physical properties of sedimentary, igneous, or metamorphic rocks and explain how one kind of rock could eventually become a different kind of rock.


Rocks and rock formations contain evidence that tell a story about their past. The story is dependent on the minerals, materials, tectonic conditions, and erosion forces that created them.


Deduce the story of the tectonic conditions and erosion forces that created sample rocks or rock formations.


Soil consists of weathered rocks and decomposed organic material from dead plants, animals, and bacteria. Soils are often found in layers, each having a different chemical composition and texture.


Determine the chemical properties of soil samples in order to select an appropriate location for a community garden.


Physical and chemical changes take place in Earth materials when Earth features are modified through weathering and erosion.


Explain how chemical and physical mechanisms (changes) are responsible for creating a variety of landforms.


Earth’s atmosphere is a mixture of nitrogen, oxygen, and trace gases that include water vapor. The atmosphere has a different physical and chemical composition at different elevations.


Model the vertical structure of the atmosphere using information from active and passive remote-sensing tools (e.g., satellites, balloons, and/or ground-based sensors) in the analysis.


Soils are at the interface of the Earth systems, linking together the biosphere, geosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere.


Model the interrelationships among the spheres in the Earth systems by creating a flow chart.


The chemical and physical properties of the vertical structure of the atmosphere support life on Earth.


Analyze the vertical structure of Earth’s atmosphere, and account for the global, regional, and local variations of these characteristics and their impact on life.