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ESS Earth and Space Science

  • Physical Earth

    • 8.ESS.1 The composition and properties of Earth's interior are identified by the behavior of seismic waves.

      • 8.ESS.1.a The refraction and reflection of seismic waves as they move through one type of material to another is used to differentiate the layers of Earth's interior. Earth has a core, a mantle, and a crust. Impacts during planetary formation generated heat.

      • 8.ESS.1.b These impacts converted gravitational potential energy to heat. Earth's core is also able to generate its own thermal energy because of decaying atoms. This continuously releases thermal energy. Thermal energy generated from Earth's core drives convection currents in the asthenosphere.

    • 8.ESS.2 Earth's lithosphere consists of major and minor tectonic plates that move relative to each other.

      • 8.ESS.2.a Historical data and observations such as fossil distribution, paleomagnetism, continental drift and sea-floor spreading contributed to the theory of plate tectonics. The rigid tectonic plates move with the molten rock and magma beneath them in the upper mantle.

      • 8.ESS.2.b Convection currents in the asthenosphere cause movements of the lithospheric plates. The energy that forms convection currents comes from deep within the Earth.

      • 8.ESS.2.c There are three main types of plate boundaries: divergent, convergent and transform. Each type of boundary results in specific motion and causes events (such as earthquakes or volcanic activity) or features (such as mountains or trenches) that are indicative of the type of boundary.

    • 8.ESS.3 A combination of constructive and destructive geologic processes formed Earth's surface.

    • 8.ESS.4 Evidence of the dynamic changes of Earth's surface through time is found in the geologic record.

      • 8.ESS.4.a Earth is approximately 4.6 billion years old. Earth history is based on observations of the geologic record and the understanding that processes observed at present day are similar to those that occurred in the past (uniformitarianism). There are different methods to determine relative and absolute age of some rock layers in the geologic record. Within a sequence of undisturbed sedimentary rocks, the oldest rocks are at the bottom (superposition). The geologic record can help identify past environmental and climate conditions.

PS Physical Science

LS Life Science