Earth Science

Earth Science Syllabus

Course description: Science is the systematic study of the Universe. In Geology, we will investigate topics in both life and physical sciences as they relate to the structure, history and use of Earth. We will learn about maps, the structure of Earth, the composition of Earth, plate tectonics and its results, and Earth history. There will be smaller sections on Earth's atmosphere, Earth's oceans, and Earth's place in the solar system. Throughout the course, writing and lab activities will be important. The emphasis of this course is on problem solving, methods of science, and impacts of science on everyday life.

Colorado Science Standard and Extended Evidence Outcome accomplishments expected of students:
Physical Science-Students know and understand common properties, forms and changes in matter and energy.

• Observe, explain, and predict natural phenomena governed by Newton's laws of motion, acknowledging the limitations of their application to very small or very fast objects

• Apply an understanding of atomic and molecular structure to explain the properties of matter, and predict outcomes of chemical and nuclear reactions

• Apply an understanding that energy exists in various forms, and its transformation and conservation occur in processes that are predictable and measurable

Life Science-Students know and understand the characteristics and structure of living things, the processes of life and how living things interact with each other and their environment.

• Analyze the relationship between structure and function in living systems at a variety of organizational levels, and recognize living systems' dependence on natural selection

• Explain and illustrate with examples how living systems interact with the biotic and abiotic environment

• Analyze how various organisms grow, develop, and differentiate during their lifetimes based on an interplay between genetics and their environment

• Explain how biological evolution accounts for the unity and diversity of living organisms

Earth Systems Science-Students know and understand the processes and interactions of Earth's systems and the structure and dynamics of Earth and other objects in space.

• Describe and interpret how Earth's geologic history and place in space are relevant to our understanding of the processes that have shaped our planet

• Evaluate evidence that Earth's geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere interact as a complex system

• Describe how humans are dependent on the diversity of resources provided by Earth and Sun

Geology Essential Outcomes:

1. The student will apply the processes of scientific investigation and design, conduct, analyze, communicate about, and evaluate such investigations.

2. The student will use proper technique in making laboratory measurements and calculations involving data.

3. The student will demonstrate the skills of map reading, including determination of latitude and longitude, cardinal direction, and elevation.

4. The student will relate the movements of the moon and sun to effects on Earth.

5. The student will describe the structure and composition of Earth, including knowledge of the rock cycle and minerals.

6. The student will use the theory of plate tectonics to explain earthquakes, volcanoes and other structural features of Earth.

7. The student will understand the major sources of water and the effects of water on the environment and Earth systems.

8. The student will use the rock and fossil record to describe changes in Earth over time.

Class rules:

1. Treat everyone, their property, and all class equipment with respect. I expect every person in the class to have and to show respect for him- or herself and for others. That means that all of us will strive to respect the possessions, personal space, feelings and ideas of everyone in the classroom and in the school. Everyone should be courteous and understanding toward fellow classmates.

2. Participate appropriately in class.  No electronic devices are allowed in class other than calculators!

3. Use all equipment properly. This includes samples of minerals, rocks and fossils which will be used in labs. Students are required to read, sign and implement a Laboratory Safety Contract.

Instructional and grading methods to be used:

1. Reading assignments-there will be printed and online (Internet) reading assignments for this class. Usually reading assignments have associated problems sets or worksheets.  Worksheets and problems are due on the day indicated, and will not be accepted more than one (1) week late.   Work turned in one (1) day late will carry a grade reduction of ONE LETTER GRADE (10%).  Work turned in more than five (5) school days late will receive a score of ZERO.  If a student is absent, it is that student's responsibility to obtain any assignments that may have been made by contacting the teacher either before or after class.

2. Notebook-students MUST have a notebook dedicated to this class, which the student must bring to class every day. This notebook will be collected periodically and graded. If a student is absent, it is that student's responsibility to get and understand any notes or work that the student missed.

3. Laboratories-labs are a mandatory part of this class. Laboratory reports are required for all labs. If a student is absent for a lab, that student must contact the teacher to make arrangements for a time before or after school so that the lab may be made up. Labs have safety considerations, and all students must read, sign and implement the Laboratory Safety Contract.

4. Class participation-each student is awarded 5 points per day for participation. These points may be lost by disruptive behavior. Be in class and be on your best behavior so that all of us may learn.

5. Examinations-there will be examinations over content areas. Byers High School grading system applies. The semester exam in this class is cumulative in content, and makes up approximately 10% of the semester grade.

The book for this class is an ebook, available at  Each student will have an individual login to use with online reading.  This ebook provides not only the text, but additional study guides and aids to the student.

If you have questions or concerns about the class or topics, please ask!   Contact me via email at:  The information (class schedule, reading assignments, etc.) will be posted on my web site at:  . Please use this resource to help you in class!