Living With the Planet

Time required to complete this unit:

This page is under development and may be edited at any time. Some resources have not been cataloged, pending project approval.
3 weeks, or 12.5 hours, or 750 minutes (estimated)

Earth Science Content:

Key Terms: population growth, groundwater, surface water, renewable, nonrenewable, resources, fossil fuels, carbon cycle, water cycle, recharge, discharge, evapotranspiration, storage, residence time, sustainability

Unit Storyline

The Earth is an intricate web of life, interconnecting processes and materials. If one small thing changes, there is a change in response elsewhere in the system. Humans are a part of this system. Our decisions on how we access and use our resources impact our lives, society and the health of our planet. Some of our activities are already changing our climate, causing soil erosion, reducing the availability of fresh water and precious metals, altering the air quality of our planet, and causing the loss of biodiversity. Earth's changing climate has become a particular concern. We worry about the fragility of the Earth's present climate and the consequences of climate change on life, including humans and their cultures. In this unit, we strive to understand the impact of our choices on the land, water, air and natural resources that we depend on to maintain viable conditions for humans to live on planet Earth.

Developed by the DIG Texas BlueprintsCentral Texas Blueprint Team

Students will be able to (do)

  • Evaluate the impact of changes in Earth's subsystems via the use of energy, water, mineral, and rock resources.
  • Discriminate between renewable and nonrenewable resources and quantify the rates of formation, change, and use.???
  • Analyze the economics of resources from initial discovery to disposal.
  • Investigate evidence (of what ???) and the use of such in developing computer models to explain present and predict future conditions.
  • Quantify the dynamics of surface and groundwater movement.

Students will know

  • The processes that form fossil fuels.
  • How carbon exists in different forms within the five subsystems of Earth in the global carbon cycle.
  • The difference between scientific decision-making methods and ethical and social decisions that involve the application of scientific information. (???)
  • The geosphere continuously changes over a range of time scales involving dynamic and complex interactions.
  • Earth contains energy, water, mineral, and rock resources and that human use of these resources impacts Earth's subsystems.
  • The interactions among Earth's five subsystems influence resource availability, which affects Earth's habitability.
  • There are many careers that involve Earth's resources.

Activities

The activities we have selected are congruent with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and are arranged to build upon one another. Therefore, to follow the storyline we recommend that teachers complete the activities in the order provided. To open an activity in a new tab or window, right click the activity link and select the preferred option.

Big Idea 7: Earth Provides Resources

View Activity
http://www.earthscienceliteracy.org/videodirectory/ESLP_Ch007_700Kbit_640x360.wmv

An accompanying set of short videos has been created for the Earth Science Literacy Principles by the American Geosciences Institute. This video gives an introduction on the many resources humans depend on to survive.

Instructional Strategies: Lecture

Resource Type: Video

Time Required: 5 minutes

Learning about Fossil Fuels

View Activity
http://www.fossil.energy.gov/education/energylessons/

The Department of Energy produced this series of interactive energy lessons. Students can learn about the history of fossil fuels and their future potential.

Instructional Strategies: Reading

Resource Type: Scholarly article

Time Required: 120 minutes

The Formation of Fossil Fuels - Earth: The Operators' Manual

View Activity
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8VqWKZIPrM

This video segment from the Earth Operators Manual summarizes how fossil fuels are made, provides a comparison of how long it takes to store energy in coal, oil and natural gas, and discusses how fast we're using them.

Instructional Strategies: Lecture

Resource Type: Video

Time Required: 3 minutes

Texas Wind and Efficiency

View Activity
http://earththeoperatorsmanual.com/segment/10

This engaging video from Earth The Operators Manual focuses on national and global wind energy potential by specifically highlighting Texas' role as wind energy leader and energy efficiency efforts in Houston, Texas.

Instructional Strategies: Lecture

Resource Type: Video

Time Required: 9 minutes

Big Idea 9: Humans Change Earth

View Activity
http://www.earthscienceliteracy.org/videodirectory/ESLP_Ch009_700Kbit_640x360.wmv

An accompanying set of short videos has been created for the Earth Science Literacy Principles by the American Geosciences Institute. This video gives an introduction on the many ways in which humans affect the Earth system, including other living things on Earth.

Instructional Strategies: Lecture

Resource Type: Video

Time Required: 5 minutes

Selecting Sites for a Renewable Energy Project

View Activity
https://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/teaching_methods/google_earth/examples/renewable_energy.html

In this activity, from the "On The Cutting Edge" site, students use Google Earth to investigate a variety of renewable energy sources and select sites within the United States that would be appropriate for projects based on those sources.

Instructional Strategies: Challenge or problem-solving

Resource Type: Visualization (static visualization, animation, simulation)

Time Required: 150 minutes



NASA Computer Model Provides a New Portrait of Carbon Dioxide

View Activity
https://www.nasa.gov/press/goddard/2014/november/nasa-computer-model-provides-a-new-portrait-of-carbon-dioxide/#.VcUSfnFVgSU

From NASA, the video "A Year in the Life of Earth's CO2," is an ultra-high resolution computer model giving scientists the ability to see how carbon dioxide found in the atmosphere makes its way around the Earth. Additional information is included in the accompanying article.

Instructional Strategies: Modeling

Resource Type: Visualization (static visualization, animation, simulation)

Time Required: 5 minutes


Documenting Climate Change Through Art

View Activity
http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/thepulse/item/65983-documenting-climate-change-through-art-

This is an interview with artist and photographer Diane Burko whose striking paintings of melting glaciers capture one of the impacts of climate change through the language of art. Ms. Burko works closely with scientists who are documenting and measuring climate change.

Instructional Strategies: Lecture , Reading

Resource Type: Interview with an expert

Time Required: 10 minutes

James Balog: Time-lapse proof of extreme ice loss

View Activity
http://www.ted.com/talks/james_balog_time_lapse_proof_of_extreme_ice_loss?language=en

Photographer James Balog shares his time-lapse photography skills as a way to help scientists and the public see the effects of climate change through receding glaciers.

Instructional Strategies: Lecture

Resource Type: Video

Time Required: 20 minutes

What We Know: The Reality, Risks and Responses to Climate Change

View Activity
http://whatweknow.aaas.org

The overwhelming evidence of human-caused climate change documents both current impacts with significant costs and extraordinary future risks to society and natural systems. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) launched the What We Know initiative to ensure that the three "R's" of climate change are communicated to the public: Reality, Risk and Response. The website offers five-minute video interviews with climate experts.

Instructional Strategies: Lecture , Reading

Resource Type: Interview with an expert , Video

Time Required: 20 minutes


Corals

View Activity
https://serc.carleton.edu/earthlabs/corals/index.html

A series of six lessons presented in this EarthLabs module on Corals expose students to current scientific research, data, and visualizations in a way that allows them to become active participants in both learning about and conserving coral reefs.

Instructional Strategies: Inquiry

Resource Type: Classroom learning activity , Laboratory investigation, experiment or demonstration

Time Required: 750 minutes for all 6 labs in the module.

For this unit, we have selected three labs: Finding Coral's Ideal Environment (Lab 4), Trouble in Paradise: Factors that Impact Coral Health (Lab 5) and Using Data to Identify Hotspots and Predict Bleaching Events (Lab 6).

  • Finding Coral's Ideal Environment (Corals Lab 4)
http://serc.carleton.edu/earthlabs/corals/4.html

Student's examine sea surface temperature, depth, salinity, and aragonite saturation data to discover coral reefs' favored environments.

Time Required: 90 minutes

  • Trouble in Paradise: Factors that Impact Coral Health (Corals Lab 5)
http://serc.carleton.edu/earthlabs/corals/5.html

Students examine the three main factors that disrupt corals.

Time Required: 90 minutes

  • Using Data to Identify Hotspots and Predict Bleaching Events (Corals Lab 6)
http://serc.carleton.edu/eslabs/corals/6.html
Students will explore some of the tools used by scientists to identify areas around the world where corals are at risk for bleaching and they will also learn about what bleaching means for the long-term health of coral reefs and invent a way to model what happens in coral polyps during the process of coral bleaching.

Time Required: 90 minutes

Island Paradise

View Activity
http://www.txessrevolution.org/IslandIntro

This case study presents the story of Easter Island and its ecological collapse. It is written as a jigsaw in which students receive part of the story and make predictions about what will later happen.

Instructional Strategies: Inquiry

Resource Type: Classroom learning activity

Time Required: 100 minutes

What Happened On Easter Island — A New (Even Scarier) Scenario

View Activity
http://www.npr.org/sections/krulwich/2013/12/09/249728994/what-happened-on-easter-island-a-new-even-scarier-scenario

This NPR article, written by Robert Krulwich, takes a look at the two different scenarios explaining the collapse of the Easter Island.

Instructional Strategies: Reading

Resource Type: News or popular magazine article

Time Required: 2 minutes

Field Trips

Studies that examine how geologists think and learn about the Earth point to the value of field experiences in helping students develop practices that constitute geologic reasoning. We encourage teachers to take students into the field as much as possible. To this end, we include ideas for virtual and actual field trips. The former recognizes the limitations of the K-12 classroom setting. Field learning provides a chance to encourage the ability to see features that are important to professional practice. Indeed, many geoscientists report that fieldwork was a key factor influencing their choice of geoscience as a career.

Virtual Field Trip

The Carbon Cycle Game

Take a trip through the carbon cycle.

Scaffolding Notes

Teachers must develop their own individual plan for how they will teach the unit.The learning activities and educational resources in this unit are intended to complement other instructional activities led by the teacher. Many of the selected learning experiences provide links to excellent background preparatory materials, additional hands-on resources, teaching tips, and cross-curricular connections.

Teachers will need to create their own multimedia presentations, deliver lectures and assign ancillary work to their students in order to set the stage for effective use of the learning activities contained herein. Therefore, it is imperative to allocate time to review the activities and background material prior to using the learning experiences in this unit and to probe students for their prior knowledge before starting an activity.

In addition, although some activities may incorporate assessments, teachers may need to create their own assessments to ensure that are appropriate for the students they teach.

Asterisks (*) indicate teacher resource and background information recommendations for activity support.

_________________________________________________________

Earth Science Literacy Initiative Big Idea 7: Earth Provides Resources

The Learning About Fossil Fuels activity provides several articles for students to read. Teachers may choose to assign only certain sections to students or they may incorporate all of them into their lesson and create questions that go along with each section.

The Formation of Fossil Fuels

Texas: Wind and Efficiency - Earth: The Operators' Manual

Earth Science Literacy Initiative Big Idea 9: Humans Change Earth

Selecting Sites for Renewable Energy Projects requires computer access for students in addition to teacher access with a projector (preferred) so students can follow along. It is suggested that teachers perform the activity before completing with students. The CLEAN site has detailed teacher tips and notes.

*Teachers may want to use Time-lapse history of human global CO2 Emissions as a way to introduce students to the impact of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. Starting with the Industrial Revolution around 1753, students can see how the CO2emissions began in England and progressed across the world.

NASA Computer Model Provides a New Portrait of Carbon Dioxide

Documenting Climate Change Through Art

James Balog: Time-Lapse Proof of Extreme Ice Loss is included so that the changes that saw through her art can be substantiated by

http://ed.ted.com/lessons/james-balog-time-lapse-proof-of-extreme-ice-loss#watch

What We Know: The Reality, Risks and Responses to Climate Change includes multiple videos that have time ranges from 5-10 minutes. The teacher can select 5-7 (suggested) and share/discuss with students or can jig-saw the videos. There are broad overview videos as well as interviews with experts. The goal of the website is to present the scientific community's stance on climate change.

*For this unit, teachers should provide a brief overview on the importance of coral reefs and the anatomy of reef-building coral polyps.

Finding Coral's Ideal Environment

Trouble in Paradise: Factors that Impact Coral Health requires the use of the online ReefGIS tool in Parts A and B. Teachers should become familiar with this tool before utilizing with students. In Part C, students will be using a bromothymol blue solution, so prior collection of materials is necessary for this lab.

Using Data to Identify Hotspots and Predict Bleaching Eventsrequires computer access to animations and data tools for analysis. Teachers should be familiar with all sites linked and how to interpret the data prior to the lesson(s). Part A requires collection of craft materials for students to use to model coral bleaching.

Island Paradise is a jigsaw activity that requires close attention to instructions. The complete teaching strategy tips are available on the activity website, specifically on the page entitled, "Advanced Teacher Preparation>Island Paradise." Of specific note, the site states, "It is important that the students do not know they are reading about Easter Island before this exercise begins..." "...If they anticipate where they will end up, their answers will be skewed..."

What Happened on Easter Island - A New (Even Scarier) Scenario

Next Generation Science Standards

We anticipate that students should be able to achieve the NGSS Performance Expectation(s) listed after completing the activities in this unit. However, we have not carried out educational research to verify this.

HS-ESS

These Performance Expectations integrate the Disciplinary Core Ideas, Cross Cutting Concepts and Science and Engineering Practices of the NGSS as shown in the unit table [file #xyz 'Title of Unit'].

Additional Resources

The recommended additional resources may be used to extend or augment the storyline.

SWITCH Energy Project

A film, video and education program to help people understand energy and promote energy efficiency.

Earth the Operators' Manual

This PBS show presents an objective, accessible assessment of the Earth's problems and possibilities that will leave viewers informed, energized and optimistic.

Live units may have permissions pending and are subject to revision.


« Previous Page