FOSS Course Summary

Course Summary – Earth History

Human beings have used Earth’s resources since prehistoric times. We made tools from stones. We mined raw materials to refine and manufacture into tools, utensils, shelters, ovens, and other useful items. We figured out how to extract precious metals from ores. We captured the energy of flowing streams behind dams and found numerous ways to put this power to use. We diverted water into channels for irrigation. And because it is human nature to try to explain everyday phenomena, we made up stories to explain how Earth was created.

Middle school students are ready to exercise their inferential thinking, and the study of earth history is made to order for this effort. They can begin to grapple with Earth’s processes and systems that have operated over geologic time. Students should make observations and do investigations that involve constructing and using conceptual models. They should generate questions for investigation, which may lead to new questions. Through their study of earth history, students should become more confident in their ability to ask good questions and to recognize and use evidence from the rocks to come up with explanations of past environments. This course uses the anchor phenomenon of the Grand Canyon to engage students with history of Earth and introduce them to the geologic history of a place. The driving question for the course is what do we need to know to tell the geologic story of a place?

For a description of each investigation in Earth History and correlations to the Next Generation Science Standards, download the Earth History Course Overview PDF.

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