Unit One: Matter and Energy
Kinetic and Potential Energy
I can define energy as the ability to do work or the ability to move an object.
I can define kinetic energy as energy of motion in objects or substances.
I can define potential energy as energy possessed by an object because of its position or height above the ground.
I can identify and distinguish between kinetic and potential energy in everyday situations (for example, stretched rubber band, objects in motion, ball on a hill, food energy).
I can explain that energy may be changed from one form to another, but the amount of energy stays the same.
I can explain that potential energy can be converted to kinetic energy. (For example, the potential energy in a battery can be changed into kinetic energy in an electric motor. The transformation occurs when the object is in motion.)
I can explain that kinetic energy can be converted to potential energy. (For example, the kinetic energy in a windmill can be changed into potential energy as it charges storage batteries. The transformation occurs when an object changes from a moving object to an object in a position with potential energy.)
I can demonstrate and explain energy changes from potential to kinetic and back using a simple mechanical system like a roller coaster or pendulum.
I can explain that different forms of energy (kinetic, potential, thermal, gravitational, elastic, chemical, mass) can be transferred from one place to another.
I can explain that radiation is the transfer of energy by waves.
I can explain that conduction is the transfer of heat energy by direct contact between particles.
I can explain that convection is the transfer of heat energy through liquids and gases by moving particles.
I can explain verbally, in writing, or with diagrams that energy is not lost or gained when it is transferred to another form of energy (from potential to kinetic or from kinetic to potential).
Changes in State
I can define atoms as the smallest particles that make up all matter and molecules as a combination of two or more atoms.
I can list the states of matter as solid, liquid, gas, and plasma.
I can give examples of changes in states of matter such as freezing, melting, evaporation (boiling point), condensation, sublimation, and deposition.
I can explain that a material will change from one state to another at specific combinations of temperature and surrounding pressure.
I can explain that the temperature of a material will increase or decrease until it reaches the point where the change takes place, and it will stay at that temperature until that change is completed.
I can explain verbally, in writing, or with diagrams that the motion of molecules or atoms will increase or decrease as temperature increases or decreases.
I can describe with drawings or demonstrations, verbally, or in writing that the amount of matter (mass) stays the same (is conserved) when a substance changes from state to state.
Unit Two: Ecosystems
Producers, Consumers, and Decomposers
I can identify producers as organisms (like plants) that obtain their food by trapping light energy to make food and supply their energy needs.
I can identify consumers as organisms (like animals, including humans) that obtain their food directly from another organism by eating it or being a parasite on or in it.
I can identify decomposers as organisms that use plants and animals as well as animal waste products as their food source (like bacteria and fungi). They also release chemicals into the soil and water to break down these materials which allows them to take in small particles and release minerals back to the environment to be recycled into plants.
I can classify plants, animals (including humans), bacteria and fungi based on their source of energy into the categories producer, consumer, and decomposer.
I can explain that consumers obtain their energy directly from another organism by eating it or being a parasite on or in it.
I can explain that decomposers obtain their energy as they play a more fundamental role in the process of decomposition and nutrient recycling. Other decomposers help decomposition by breaking down larger particles of organic matter.
Interactions of Organisms
I can define a population as a group of organisms (plants or animals) of the same species living in a particular area at a particular time.
I can define a community as populations of organisms living in a general area.
I can define an ecosystem as an area whose communities are determined by the environmental conditions of the area.
I can distinguish between populations, communities, and ecosystems.
I can describe some local or regional populations, communities, and ecosystems of Michigan – forests, wetlands, and lakes.
I can explain that the Earth supports diverse populations.
Relationships of Organisms
I can give an example of a predatory-prey relationship found in a Michigan ecosystem.
I can give an example of a symbiotic relationship.
I can give an example of competition such as gray squirrels and fox squirrels, and forest trees competing for light.
I can give an example of parasitism.
I can give an example of and explain how two populations can develop a mutually beneficial relationship and come to depend on one another.
I can describe what might happen to the population of prey in an area if the population of predators increased.
I can describe what might happen to the population of plants in an area if the population of plant eaters decreased.
Biotic and Abiotic Factors
I can identify the living (biotic) and the nonliving (abiotic) components of an ecosystem.
I can identify the biotic factors that may influence changes in populations (for example, invasive species).
I can identify the abiotic factors that may influence changes in populations (for example, temperature and rainfall).
Environmental Impact of Organisms
I can identify humans as part of ecosystems.
I can describe examples of how humans can intentionally destroy ecosystems (by building cities or roads, deforestation, or by filling wetlands).
I can describe examples of how humans can accidentally destroy ecosystems (by introducing invasive species or raising average global temperatures).
I can describe the possible consequences of overpopulation of organisms in an ecosystem.
I can describe the possible consequences of human overpopulation on species extinction, resource depletion, climate change, and pollution.
I can explain how overpopulation of invasive species often displaces native species, possibly leading to localized extinction.
Unit Three: Composition, Properties, and Changes of the Earth
I can explain that all rocks are similar because they are all composed of minerals.
I can list the three types of rocks – igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic.
I can describe how igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks are formed.
I can describe how rocks change from one type of rock to another through the processes of the rock cycle.
I can explain that weathering breaks down rock.
I can explain the processes of physical weathering: abrasion, freeze/thaw, thermal expansion/contraction, pressure unloading, and plants and animals.
I can explain the processes that cause chemical weathering: water causes the composition of the mineral or rock to change, and primary minerals broken down to secondary minerals are carried away in solution.
I can explain that as soon as a rock particle is loosened by weathering and moved, it is called erosion.
I can explain that eroded rock is one of the main components of soil.
I can explain that rock can be eroded by wind, water (including waves), and glacial movement.
I can explain that erosion partly determines the shapes of landforms.
I can define sediment as fragments of rock that are produced by erosion and transported.
I can explain that sediment transported by the energy of wind or water is deposited when that energy level decreases.
I can explain that one of the components of soil is mineral, which is made from many tiny pieces of eroded rock.
I can explain that another component in the soil is the organic material from decaying plants and animals.
I can explain that in addition to the minerals and organic material in soil, there is also air and water.
I can compare and contrast soil samples based on particle size.
I can order the main soil particle sizes from largest to smallest – sand, silt, and clay.
Magnetic Field of Earth
I can describe the Earth as a giant magnet.
I can explain that the Earth has a north and south magnetic pole, just like a natural or manufactured magnet.
I can describe a compass as small, light-weight magnet (called a needle) that is balanced on a point so that it can spin around freely.
I can explain, illustrate, or demonstrate that the north pole of the compass needle will swing toward the North Pole of the Earth.
I can explain, illustrate, or demonstrate that a compass can be used for navigation from any point on the Earth.
Unit Four: Plate Tectonics and Fossils
I can explain that the Earth's crust is composed of seven major semi-rigid plates (lithospheric plates) that move in different directions.
I can explain that the lithospheric plates only move centimeters per year.
I can explain that as the plates move, they interact with one another at their boundaries where they are separating, converging, or sliding past each other.
I can explain that one theory for the movement of the plates is that the mantle pushes the plates by a process called convection. When a gas or a liquid is heated unevenly, the part that is heated rises (convection current).
I can explain that another theory for the movement of the plates is that gravity pulls the old heavier ocean floor with more force than the newer lighter sea floor.
I can show or explain that earthquakes happen when the plate boundaries move against each other, building up pressure, and then causing a sudden and often violent shift.
I can show or explain that volcanoes are formed when plates move apart or collide.
I can explain that when two plates collide, one plate is pushed up and the other slides under. The part that slides under is melted and forms magma that can be forced through vents to form volcanic mountains.
I can explain that volcanoes can also form when a plate moves over a hot spot in the mantle and exposes a vent. Fountains of magma or hot rock punch through the crust.
I can explain that when plates beneath the ocean move apart, a vent is exposed and magma slowly rises to the surface, which forms a new ocean floor.
I can show or explain that mountains form when two plates collide and crush together causing land to be pushed up, resulting in the folding and breaking of the Earth's crust.
I can define the lithosphere as the solid-most outer part of the Earth's surface made up of land, including the ocean's floor.
I can define the Earth's crust as the outside (exterior) of the Earth.
I can define the mantle as the layer of the Earth between the crust and the core.
I can describe the core of the Earth as being found below the mantle and composed of iron and nickel with a liquid outer part and a solid inner core.
I can describe the Earth as having distinct layers of rock.
I can explain that sedimentary rocks most often contain fossils.
I can explain that the rock layers show a progression of organisms from layer to layer.
I can explain how relative dating by observing where fossils are found in these layers of rock can help us estimate the order of prehistoric and geological events.
I can explain how timelines can graphically represent the timing and relationships between events in the Earth's history.
I can identify erosion as a process that exposes layers of rock.
I can identify mountain building when two plates collide as a process that changes the shape of the Earth.
I can identify glaciers as slow-moving masses of ice that can move rocks and carve out mountains.
I can describe erosion, mountain building, and glacier movement as forces which can change the surface of the Earth and earth materials to form layers. These layers can be used to show the geologic time and history of the Earth.
I can define a fossil as an imprint, replacement, or remains of an organism from ancient times.
I can explain that fossils can provide a historical perspective on change of the Earth.
I can explain that fossils can provide a biological record of life on Earth.
I can explain that fossils can provide a record of how organisms have changed over time.
I can explain how the fossil record can be aligned to the major environmental changes that have occurred on Earth.
I can explain how the fossil record illustrates how organisms responded to environmental change.
I can explain that some fossils can provide a valuable continuous record of environmental change.