full year earth science curriculum

Full Year Earth Science Curriculum for Middle School

Are you ready to crush this school year? Is creating lesson plans just too much on top of teaching on top of grading on top of classroom management on top of *ahem* living your life? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you’ve come to the right place. I’m about to simplify your life with a full year middle school earth science science curriculum bundle! This life-saving collection of resources is ready to use for in person, hybrid, or virtual teaching and, best of all, requires NO PREP!

Through the units included in this middle school earth science curriculum, you and your students will dive deeply into the earth and beyond by investigating key geology and weather concepts and develop a sense of wonder for the natural world while critically thinking about the interactions of humans and our planet. 

If you have questions at any point moving forward, please email me at laneyleeteaches@gmail.com. I am here to support you 365 days a year!

What’s included with this Earth Science Course?

  • FREE pacing guide
  • Google Slides presentations
  • Worksheets in both print and digital formats
  • Guided Reading resources with full-color diagrams in both print and digital formats that more or less fulfill the need for a free textbook
  • Daily warm ups
  • Assessment in both print and digital formats
  • Tons of helpful links with phenomena, virtual labs, and interesting videos
  • Opportunities for hands-on learning experiences
  • Real-world connections
  • Essential Questions
EARTH SCIENCE CURRICULUM MIDDLE SCHOOL FULL YEAR

How does this curriculum align with the Next Generation Science Standards?

If you’re familiar with NGSS, you may know that the earth science standards are not necessarily grouped in a specific grade level, but are spaced out over middle school as a whole. For that reason, this curriculum is not specifically recommended for one grade level and could be carried out at any point in middle school (or even early high school). If your school uses an integrated science approach, you could even take the units included in this curriculum and split them across several grade levels. It depends on your school and what kinds of prior knowledge your students are coming to you with.

Additionally, some of the topics covered are typically reserved for high school science courses, but I have been successfully teaching them to 7th graders for the past decade. I wouldn’t include them if the students didn’t find them so fun and interesting.

Hopefully you will find that all the NGSS earth science topics are covered adequately as are the related disciplinary core ideas. Many of the links included should give your students the sense of phenomena that is essential to the successful implementation of NGSS.

included units:

EARTH SCIENCE CURRICULUM MIDDLE SCHOOL FULL YEAR

UNIT 1: Geology

This unit is all about Earth’s history and the rock cycle. Begin by exploring the history of earth through all its eras and epochs, and then move your way through plate tectonics and the rock cycle. Your students will learn about convection currents and the way that plates interact to create changes on Earth’s surface.

  • MS-ESS1-4 Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence from rock strata for how the geologic time scale is used to organize Earth’s 4.6 billion-year-old history.
  • MS-ESS2-1 Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth’s materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.
  • MS-ESS2-2 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales
  • MS-ESS2-3 Analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to provide evidence of the past plate motions.

UNIT 2: ASTRONOMY

Next, outer space! This unit will surely be a crowd favorite as it covers all the topics students are really interested in, including dark matter and black holes!

First, though, you’ll cover the differences in meteors, comets, and asteroids. Students will explore all the different ways that the Earth, Moon, and Sun interact, including moon phases, seasons, and tides.

Finally, take a look at stars and their characteristics and life cycles, the galaxy, and evidence for the Big Bang Theory.

  • MS-ESS1-1 Develop and use a model of the Earth-sun-moon system to describe the cyclic patterns of lunar phases, eclipses of the sun and moon, and seasons.
  • MS-ESS1-2 Develop and use a model to describe the role of gravity in the motions within galaxies and the solar system.
  • MS-ESS1-3 Analyze and interpret data to determine scale properties of objects in the solar system.
  • MS-PS2-4 Construct and present arguments using evidence to support the claim that gravitational interactions are attractive and depend on the masses of interacting objects.
  • HS-ESS1-1. Develop a model based on evidence to illustrate the life span of the sun and the role of nuclear fusion in the sun’s core to release energy that eventually reaches Earth in the form of radiation. 
  • HS-ESS1-2. Construct an explanation of the Big Bang theory based on astronomical evidence of light spectra, motion of distant galaxies, and composition of matter in the universe.
  • HS-ESS1-3. Communicate scientific ideas about the way stars, over their life cycle, produce elements. 
  • HS-ESS1-4. Use mathematical or computational representations to predict the motion of orbiting objects in the solar system. 
  • HS-ESS1-5. Evaluate evidence of the past and current movements of continental and oceanic crust and the theory of plate tectonics to explain the ages of crustal rocks. 
  • HS-ESS1-6. Apply scientific reasoning and evidence from ancient Earth materials, meteorites, and other planetary surfaces to construct an account of Earth’s formation and early history.

UNIT 3: WEATHER & CLIMATE

This unit is a fan favorite! It’s got everything you need to thoroughly cover weather and climates. First you’ll begin by discussing layers of the atmosphere and clouds. After that, move into wind, air masses, and fronts and the ways they interact. Students will apply their knowledge to predict the weather. Finally, discuss ocean currents and the ways that all of these factors contribute to regional climates.

  • MS-ESS2-4 Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.
  • MS-ESS2-5 Collect data to provide evidence for how the motions and complex interactions of air masses result in changes in weather conditions.
  • MS-ESS2-6 Develop and use a model to describe how unequal heating and rotation of the Earth cause patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation that determine regional climates.

UNIT 4: NATURAL DISASTERS

This unit combines what students learn in both the geology and weather unit to discuss all the different kinds of extreme conditions that can occur on Earth. This unit is broken into Earth’s interior related disasters and weather related disasters. It covers: hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, blizzards, and droughts.

  • MS-ESS3-2 Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects
  • TEKS E.8(A) analyze and describe the effects on areas impacted by natural events such as tectonic movement, volcanic events, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, tsunamis, and population growth

UNIT 5: HUMAN IMPACT

Finally, no Earth science curriculum would be complete without a discussion on how humans are impacting the Earth that we rely on for the resources we need to live. In this unit, you will spend a week discussing each of the following topics: fossil fuels and climate change, renewable energy, other resources, pollution, and human population growth. There’s so much to discuss here related to how our per capita consumption of resources can be best managed for a sustainably growing population.

  • MS-PS1-3 Gather and make sense of information to describe that synthetic materials come from natural resources and impact society.
  • MS-ESS3-1 Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how the uneven distributions of Earth’s mineral, energy, and groundwater resources are the result of past and current geoscience processes. 
  • MS-ESS3-3 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.*
  • MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.
  • MS-ESS3-5 Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century. 
  • TEKS E.9(A)  identify causes of air, soil, and water pollution, including point and nonpoint sources  
  • TEKS E.9(C)  examine the concentrations of air, soil, and water pollutants using appropriate units  
  • TEKS E.9(F)  evaluate cost-benefit tradeoffs of commercial activities such as municipal development, farming, deforestation, over-harvesting, and mining  
  • TEKS E.9(H)  analyze and evaluate different views on the existence of global warming  
  • TEKS E.9(K)  analyze past and present local, state, and national legislation including  Texas automobile emissions regulations, the National Park Service Act,  the Clean Air Act, the Soil and Water Resources Conservation Act, and  the Endangered Species Act 
  • TEKS E.5(B) identify source, use, quality, management, and conservation of water
  • TEKS E.5(C) document the use and conservation of both renewable and non-renewable resources as the pertain to sustainability
  • TEKS E.5(A) summarize methods of land use and management and describe its effects on land fertility
  • TEKS E.5(D) identify renewable and non-renewable resources that must come from outside an ecosystem such as food

I’m Ready to simplify my life!

I was hoping you’d say that! Click the links below to download everything you need for a successful year:

Full Year EARTH Science Curriculum for Middle School

FREE Full Year EARTH Science Pacing Guide for Middle School

EXTENSIONS

This middle school earth science curriculum leaves about 2 weeks (give or take) that you can fill in any way you like. If you do all of the included activities and projects, you may not end up having two weeks to spare, but I think it’s important to not mandate every second of every class period, and to leave some space to follow the rabbit holes that your students find the most interesting. 

That beings said, if you’re stuck for ideas, some suggestions I’d make are that you could: 

  • Scientific Method Unit – Go deeper into the scientific method, bias, experimental error. This unit includes the Science Fair Project, which is always a classic! 
  • Engineering Unit – Look at how science and technology are connected with this fun unit! It includes lots of hands-on activities and projects that will get your students thinking like an engineer.

Unsure about purchasing a complete earth science curriculum?

EARTH SCIENCE CURRICULUM MIDDLE SCHOOL FULL YEAR
EARTH SCIENCE CURRICULUM MIDDLE SCHOOL FULL YEAR PACING GUIDE
EARTH SCIENCE CURRICULUM MIDDLE SCHOOL FULL YEAR LANEY LEE

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I work hard so you don’t have to. Finding useful resources for your lesson is a lot of work. Making them is even more work. Whenever I can, I always trade money for time. A couple dollars to reimburse another classroom teacher for their efforts in creating valuable resources is seen as a fair trade according to thousands of positive reviews.

My resources are high quality. Most of my resources come in both PDF and digital format to support you in face to face, virtual, or hybrid learning models. Having multiple representations is always useful for differentiation. My resources also include an easy to use answer key and high quality image, graphics, and explanations where needed.

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