Semester A

Course Description

The first three modules of Semester 1 cover Scientific Inquiry, the Structure and Composition of the Universe, and the Features of the Solar System. Students learn the importance of scientific inquiry and how to communicate the results of scientific investigations. They then have material on the formation of the universe, including the Big Bang Theory, the motions of celestial objects, and stellar evolution. The third module covers material related to the Solar System, including features of the Sun and the planets and the movements of Earth. The second three modules of Semester 1 cover Weather, Climate, and Earth’s Water Cycle. Students first learn in Module 4 about the atmosphere and clouds, as well as the factors that influence local and global climate. In Module 5 they continue by learning about weather and air masses, meteorology and storms. Module 6 then discusses the water cycle, including groundwater and ocean features, as well as water scarcity and pollution.

Major Concepts

Semester B

Course Description

The first three modules of Semester 2 cover the physical structure of the Earth and Earth’s tectonic system, including the rock cycle, tectonic activity, and mountain building. It then covers weathering and erosion and soil formation.  The next material in the course then addresses the concept of systems; it addresses the Earth as a system, feedback in systems, and Earth’s major nutrient cycles.  The second three modules of Semester 2 cover geologic history, including the evolution of Earth’s atmosphere, the geologic time scale, and the fossil record. It then goes over natural resources and the effects of human population on natural resources. The course wraps up with a discussion of human society and its interconnectedness with the Earth’s environment, how science and technology work together, and the technological design process in earth science applications.

Major Concepts


Grade Level

uninflated round balloon
permanent marker
50 small candies that have letters on one side of them (like M&Ms or Skittles)
a small zipper seal plastic bag
two kitchen mixing bowls
ice cubes
a permanent marker
a block of wood
a pair of pliers
a pair of needle-nose tweezers
a slotted spoon
a drinking straw
sunflower seeds in the shell
colored water
a long narrow vase
rice grains
small block of Styrofoam
3 or 4 large marshmallows
a teaspoon of herbs (any kind will do, like basil or parsley)

2 Semesters

Pre-Algebra, Physical Science 8