DOE A to Z: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #

Model Curriculum » Home

Science » Science Home

Capstone Science Model Units Outline (4.7.16)

View unit yearlong overview here

[Note: The disciplinary core ideas, practices, and crosscutting concepts of the Capstone Science Course appear in the model Chemistry, Biology/Life Science, and Physics courses. The three-dimensions may be taught in either a three course sequence (chemistry, biology, and physics) or a four course sequence (chemistry, biology, physics, and capstone science.) Either model insures that all students can demonstrate proficiency with all of the science standards. Districts are not limited to traditional course structures. They may be innovative and offer courses that are a combination of physical sciences Life sciences and Earth and space sciences.)

Unit 1A: Chemistry of the Universe

Instructional Days: 25

In this unit of study, energy and matter are studied further by investigating the processes of nuclear fusion and fission that govern the formation, evolution, and workings of the solar system in the universe. Students examine the processes governing the formation, evolution, and workings of the solar system and universe. Some concepts studied are fundamental to science, such as understanding how the matter of our world formed during the Big Bang and within the cores of stars through the process of fusion. Others concepts are practical, such as understanding how short-term changes in the behavior of our sun directly affect humans. An important aspect of Earth and space science involves making inferences about events in Earth's history based on a data record that is increasingly incomplete that farther you go back in time. A mathematical analysis of radiometric dating is used to comprehend how absolute ages are obtained for the geologic record by applying concepts related to the energy released during the processes of fission and radioactive decay. Engineering and technology play a large role here in obtaining and analyzing the data that support the theories of the formation of the solar system and universe. The crosscutting concepts of patterns; scale, proportion, and quantity; energy and matter; and interdependence of science, engineering, and technology are called out as organizing themes for these disciplinary core ideas. Students demonstrate proficiency in developing and using models; using mathematical and computational thinking, constructing explanations; and obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information; and to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas.

This unit is based on HS-ESS1-1, HS-ESS1-2, HS-ESS1-3, HS-ESS1-6, and HS-PS1-8 (secondary to HS-ESS1-6)
[Note: The disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts can be taught in either this course or in a high school chemistry course. If this unit is included in the Capstone course, it becomes an Earth and Space science course, rather than an environmental science course.]

Unit 1B: Planetary Motion

Instructional Days: 10

In this unit of study, students use mathematical and computational thinking to examine the processes governing the motions of solar system objects. While doing so they plan and conduct investigations and apply scientific ideas to make sense of Newton's law of gravitation to describe and predict the gravitational forces between objects. The crosscutting concepts of scale, proportion, and quantity, and patterns are called out as organizing concepts for these disciplinary core ideas. Students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in using mathematical and computational thinking and to use this practice to demonstrate understanding of core ideas.

This unit is based on HS-ESS1-4, HS-PS2-2 (secondary to HS-ESS1-4), and HS-PS2-4 (secondary to HS-ESS1-4)
[Note: The disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts can be taught in either this course or in a high school physics course. If this unit is included in the Capstone course, it becomes an Earth and Space science course, rather than an environmental science course.]

Unit 2: Physics of the Earth System

Instructional Days: 25

Students investigate the energy within the Earth as it drives Earth's surface processes. Students evaluate evidence of the past and current movements of continental and oceanic crust for theory of plate tectonics to explain the ages of crustal rocks. Finally, students develop a model based on evidence of the Earth's interior to describe the cycle of matter by thermal convection. The crosscutting concepts of patterns and stability, cause and effect, stability and change, energy and matter, and systems and systems models are called out as organizing concepts for these disciplinary core ideas.

Within this unit, connections to Physical Science Performance Expectations are made. Students plan and conduct investigations, and analyze data and using math to support claims in order to develop an understanding of ideas related to why some objects keep moving and some objects fall to the ground. Students will also build an understanding of forces and Newton's second law. They will develop an understanding that the total momentum of a system of objects is conserved when there is no net force on the system. Students use mathematical representations to support a claim regarding the relationship among frequency, wavelength, and speed of waves traveling in various media, such as the Earth's layers. Students then apply their understanding of how magnets are created to model the generation of the Earth's magnetic field.  The crosscutting concept of cause and effect is called out as an organizing theme. Students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in planning and conducting investigations and developing and using models. These fundamental physics concepts provide a foundation for understanding the dynamics of Earth motions and processes over deep time.

This unit is based on HS-ESS1-5, HS-ESS2-1, and HS-ESS2-3, HS-PS2-5 (secondary to HS-ESS2-3), and HS-PS4-1 (secondary to HS-ESS2-3). HS-PS2-1 may also be integrated in this unit.

[Note: The disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts can be taught in either this course or in a high school physics course.]

Unit 3: Dynamic Earth Systems

Instructional Days: 25

In this unit of study, planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, developing and using models, and engaging in arguments from evidence are key practices to explore the dynamic nature of Earth systems. Students apply these practices to illustrate how Earth's interacting systems cause feedback effects on other Earth systems, to investigate the properties of water and its effects on Earth materials and surface processes, and to model the cycling of carbon through all of the Earth's spheres. Students seek evidence to construct arguments about the simultaneous co-evolution of the Earth's systems and life on Earth. The crosscutting concepts of energy and matter, structure and function, and stability and change are called out as organizing concepts for these disciplinary core ideas.

This unit is based on HS-ESS2-2, HS-ESS2-5, HS-ESS2-6, and HS-ESS2-7.
[Note: The disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts can be taught in either this course or in a high school chemistry course.]

Unit 4: Human Activity & the Climate System

Instructional Days: 25

In this unit of study, students evaluate claims, analyze and interpret data, and develop and use models to explore the core ideas centered on the Earth's climate system. Students evaluate the validity and reliability of claims in published materials of the effects that different frequencies of electromagnetic radiation have when absorbed by the atmosphere and Earth's various surfaces.  They apply these core ideas when they use a quantitative model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into an out of the Earth's systems result in changes in climate, and how carbon is cycle through all of the Earth's spheres. They analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth's surface can cause changes to other Earth systems, such as the climate system. Finally, students analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems. The crosscutting concepts of cause and effect, stability and change, energy and matter, and structure and function   arecalled out as an organizing concept for these disciplinary core ideas.

This unit is base d on HS-ESS2-4, HS-ESS3-5, HS-ESS2-2 (secondary to HS-ESS2-4), HS-ESS1-4 (secondary to HS-ESS2-4), HS-ESS2-6 (secondary to HS-ESS3-5), and HS-PS4-4 (secondary to HS-ESS2-4)

[Note: The disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts can be taught in either this course or in a high school chemistry and/or physics course.]

Unit 5: Human Activity & Sustainability

Instructional Days: 25

"Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice." Will Durant, American Historian (1885-1981)

In this unit students construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards are connected to human activity. Additionally, while students are exploring this idea they apply scientific and engineering ideas to design, evaluate, and refine a device that can be used to minimize the impacts of natural hazards. They create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity, and create or revise a simulation to test a solution to mitigate adverse impacts of human activity on biodiversity. They use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity, and evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems. The crosscutting concepts of cause and effect, stability and change, systems and system models arecalled out as an organizing concept for these disciplinary core ideas.

This unit is based on HS-ESS3-1, HS-ESS3-3, HS-ESS3-4, HS-ESS3-6, HS-ETS1-3, and HS-LS4-6 (secondary to HS-ESS3-4)

[Note: The disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts can be taught in either this course or in a high school biology/life science course.]

Unit 6: Human Activity & Energy

Instructional Days: 30

In this unit of study, students engage in argument from evidence, develop and use models, ask questions and define problems, construct explanations and design solutions, and evaluate information. This unit focuses on the physics core ideas surrounding energy and energy transformations as related to the Earth System core idea of energy needs for human activity. Students create a computational model to calculate the change in the energy of one component in a system when the change in energy of the other component(s) and energy flows in and out of the system are known. They apply engineering design principles to design, build, and refine a device that works within given constraints to convert one form of energy into another form of energy. Within this unit students also apply the core ideas of related to the behavior of electromagnetic energy to evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning behind the idea that electromagnetic radiation can be described either by a wave model or a particle model, and that for some situations one model is more useful than the other. They develop and use a model of two objects interacting through electric or magnetic fields to illustrate the forces between objects and the changes in energy of the objects due to the interaction (secondary concept). They apply these core ideas to communicate technical information about how some technological devices use the principles of wave behavior and wave interactions with matter to transmit and capture information and energy. At the basis of our energy needs is the need for resources to create energy, and therefore students evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.  The crosscutting concepts of systems and system models, energy and matter, cause and effect, and stability and change arecalled out as an organizing concept for these disciplinary core ideas.

This unit is based on HS-ESS3-2, HS-PS3-1, HS-PS3-2, HS-PS3-3, HS-PS3-5 (secondary to HS-PS3-3), HS-PS4-3, and HS-PS4-5

[Note: The disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts can be taught in either this course or in a high school physics course.]

Note: The number of instructional days is an estimate based on the information available at this time. 1 day equals approximately 42 minutes of seat time. Teachers are strongly encouraged to review the entire unit of study carefully and collaboratively to determine whether adjustments to this estimate need to be made.