Teach the Earth > Geodesy > Course Descriptions > Earth Science

Earth Science

Kiran Kumar Satyavarapu

Rough Rock Community School
high school.


Students from grades 9-12 learn concepts in Earth science and apply them to their daily life. All the classes and courses are based on Arizona State standards, incorporating Navajo Standards.

Course URL:
Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics, Geoscience
Resource Type: Course Information
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level, High School (9-12), College Upper (15-16)
Course Type: Entry Level:Earth Science, Upper Level:Geophysics
Earth System Topics: Solid Earth
Theme: Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Geophysics, Teach the Earth:Teaching Environments:Intro Geoscience, K12
Course Size:


Course Context:

This course is required by all the students from grades 9-12 at the Rough Rock Community School. As a part of this course, the students perform and conduct activities and lab projects that align the mandatory State standards.

Course Goals:

Concept 1: Geochemical Cycles

PO 1. Identify ways materials are cycled within the Earth system (i.e., carbon cycle, water cycle, rock cycle).
PO 2. Demonstrate how dynamic processes such as weathering, erosion, sedimentation, metamorphism, and orogenesis relate to redistribution of materials within the Earth system.
PO 3. Explain how the rock cycle is related to plate tectonics.
PO 4. Demonstrate how the hydrosphere links the biosphere, lithosphere, cryosphere, and atmosphere.
PO 5. Describe factors that impact current and future water quantity and quality including surface, ground, and local water issues.
PO 6. Analyze methods of reclamation and conservation of water.
PO 7. Explain how the geochemical processes are responsible for the concentration of economically valuable minerals and ores in Arizona and worldwide

Concept 2: Energy in the Earth System
PO 1. Describe the flow of energy to and from the Earth.
PO 2. Explain the mechanisms of heat transfer (convection, conduction, radiation) among the atmosphere, land masses, and oceans.
PO 3. Distinguish between weather and climate.
Internal Energy:
PO 4. Demonstrate the relationship between the Earth's internal convective heat flow and plate tectonics.
PO 5. Demonstrate the relationships among earthquakes, volcanoes, mountain ranges, mid-oceanic ridges, deep sea trenches, and tectonic plates.
PO 6. Distinguish among seismic S, P, and surface waves.
PO 7. Analyze the seismic evidence (S and P waves) used to determine the structure of the Earth.
PO 8. Describe how radioactive decay maintains the Earth's internal temperature.
External Energy:
PO 9. Explain the effect of heat transfer on climate and weather.
PO 10. Demonstrate the effect of the Earth's rotation (i.e., Coriolis effect) on the movement of water and air.
PO 11. Describe the origin, life cycle, and behavior of weather systems (i.e., air mass, front, high and low systems, pressure gradients).
PO 12. Describe the conditions that cause severe weather (e.g., hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms).
PO 13. Propose appropriate safety measures that can be taken in preparation for severe weather.
PO 14. Analyze how weather is influenced by both natural and artificial Earth features (e.g., mountain ranges, bodies of water, cities, air pollution).
PO 15. List the factors that determine climate (e.g., altitude, latitude, water bodies, precipitation, prevailing winds, topography).
PO 16. Explain the causes and/or effects of climate changes over long periods of time (e.g., glaciation, desertification, solar activity, greenhouse effect).
PO 17. Investigate the effects of acid rain, smoke, volcanic dust, urban development, and greenhouse gases, on climate change over various periods of time.

Concept 3: Origin and Evolution of the Earth System

Earth Origin/System:
PO 1. Describe the scientific theory of the origin of the solar system (solar nebular hypothesis).
PO 2. Describe the characteristics, location, and motions of the various kinds of objects in our solar system, including the Sun, planets, satellites, comets, meteors, and asteroids.
PO 3. Explain the phases of the Moon, eclipses (lunar and solar), and the interaction of the Sun, Moon, and Earth (tidal effect).
Earth History/Evolution:
PO 4. Interpret a geologic time scale.
PO 5. Distinguish between relative and absolute geologic dating techniques.
PO 6. Investigate scientific theories of how life originated on Earth (high temperature, low oxygen, clay catalyst model).
PO 7. Describe how life on Earth has influenced the evolution of the Earth's systems.
PO 8. Sequence major events in the Earth's evolution (e.g., mass extinctions, glacial episodes) using relative and absolute dating data.
PO 9. Analyze patterns in the fossil record related to the theory of organic evolution.

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

The course structure is framed according to the Arizona state standards. Students will gain understanding and mastery in the concepts that are required to pass the AIMS (Arizona Instrument for Measuring Standards). The in-class and out-of-class activities are useful to gain an in-depth understanding of these concepts and to develop higher order thinking among the students.

Skills Goals

  • Working in groups and working individually
  • Note taking
  • High order thinking skills
  • Verbal communication

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Our classroom instruction includes working in groups and working individually to learn Earth Science concepts and complete assignments and activities. Students have an opportunity to work individually to collect data and other required information from the internet. We also have field trips to reinforce the concepts they learned in the classroom.

Attitudinal Goals


How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Our classroom instruction includes working in groups and working individually to pass and to get better grades. Students have an opportunity to work individually and also collecting data and other required stuff from the internet. We also have field trips to reinforce the concepts they learned in the classroom.


Our assessment is based on level of understanding, ability to work in teams and groups and Higher order thinking. Students should be able to come up with a solution either individually or in groups for a problem given in the course work and to submit the results of their project in the required amount of time. Students are also evaluated based on their performance in the classroom tests.