Below is a basic outline of some of the possible topics to be included in the curriculum. It is by no means all inclusive and will need to be checked against local and NGSS standards.
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Earth and Space Science curriculum is designed to give students a deep understanding of the fundamental concepts and practices of this field. The following is a sample curriculum for a middle or high school Earth and Space Science course that aligns with the NGSS, including the following topics:
Unit 1: Space Systems
- Students will learn about the properties and characteristics of the solar system, including the planets, moons, asteroids, and comets.
- Students will learn about the properties and characteristics of the sun, including its structure, energy, and activity.
- Students will learn about the properties and characteristics of stars, including their life cycles and the formation of galaxies.
Unit 2: History of Earth
- Students will learn about the geologic time scale, including the eras, periods, and epochs of Earth's history.
- Students will learn about the major events and processes that shaped Earth's history, including the formation of the Earth, the development of life, and the evolution of the atmosphere and oceans.
- Students will learn about the methods and techniques used to study Earth's history, including radiometric dating and fossil analysis.
Unit 3: Earth's Systems
- Students will learn about the structure and composition of the Earth, including the crust, mantle, and core.
- Students will learn about the Earth's tectonic plates, including plate boundaries and the causes and effects of earthquakes and volcanoes.
- Students will learn about the Earth's surface processes, including erosion, weathering, and the formation of landforms.
Unit 4: Weather and Climate
- Students will learn about the Earth's atmosphere, including the composition, structure, and circulation patterns.
- Students will learn about the weather patterns, including the causes and effects of precipitation, temperature, and wind.
- Students will learn about the climate patterns, including the causes and effects of global warming and climate change.
Unit 5: Human Sustainability
- Students will learn about the impacts of human activities on the Earth's systems, including pollution, deforestation, and the depletion of natural resources.
- Students will learn about the strategies and technologies used to promote human sustainability, including renewable energy, conservation, and recycling.
- Students will learn about the ethical, social, and political issues related to human sustainability, including equity, access to resources, and the rights of future generations.
Throughout the course, students will engage in hands-on laboratory activities and investigations to help them develop scientific inquiry and data analysis skills. They will also be encouraged to make connections between the Earth and Space Science concepts they are learning and real-world applications. The curriculum should also include opportunities for students to engage in crosscutting concepts, such as patterns, cause and effect, and systems and system models, and Science and Engineering practices, such as planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, developing and using models, and engaging in argument from evidence.
It's important to note that the curriculum should be flexible and tailored to the specific school and students, it's not a one-size-fits-all. But this is a sample that should guide a teacher to create a comprehensive curriculum on Earth and Space Science.