Science Curriculum

Geosystems utilizes content from geology, astronomy, oceanography, and meteorology to investigate, both qualitatively and quantitatively, the major earth systems (atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, biosphere) and their dynamic inter-relationships. Students explore concepts with the same tools professional scientists use including computers, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Global Positioning System (GPS), image processing software, and probeware. Students are required to take the Standards of Learning End of Course Test.

Last Updated: 08/17/12 10:32 AM
Standard 1

Benchmark 1.a
Calculate Volume, Area, Mass, etc. Using the Most Appropriate Tools
Indicator 1.a.1
Measure mass and volume of regular and irregular shaped objects
Indicator 1.a.2
Apply concept of mass per unit volume; Calculate density
Indicator 1.a.3
Select & use appropriate tools & techniques to collect & display data
Indicator 1.a.4
Use consistent units when processing data
Indicator 1.a.5
Consider the possible effects of measurement errors on calculations
Indicator 1.a.6
Use mathematical equations to reach and justify conclusions
Indicator 1.a.7
Derive mathematical equations to reach proper conclusions

Benchmark 1.b
Use Technology to Collect, Analyze, and Report Data
Indicator 1.b.1
Identify resources which could be applied to a solution
Indicator 1.b.2
Access real time data using reputable sources to solve real problems
Indicator 1.b.3
Access scientific information using a variety of media; Cite sources
Indicator 1.b.4
Demonstrate the dependence of science on technology
Indicator 1.b.5
Use graphing calculators & computers to produce models & graphs
Indicator 1.b.6
Record data in tables; Use data to construct and interpret graphics
Indicator 1.b.7
Share information electronically with peers and instructors
Indicator 1.b.8
Relate historical events to the inventions of technology used today
Indicator 1.b.9
Design a study that uses technology to gather, analyze & display data

Benchmark 1.c
Construct and Interpret Scales, Diagrams, Charts, Tables, etc.
Indicator 1.c.1
Collect data
Indicator 1.c.2
Determine which type of graphical representation best displays data
Indicator 1.c.3
Generate models, graphs, and spreadsheets using collected data
Indicator 1.c.4
Present data in a variety of ways
Indicator 1.c.5
Construct profiles from topographic contours
Indicator 1.c.6
Communicate information obtained from charts, graphs, etc. to peers
Indicator 1.c.7
Read and interpret graphs, computer simulations and models
Indicator 1.c.8
Interpret data showing changes in temp./pressure with depth/altitude
Indicator 1.c.9
Interpret information contained in remote images and GIS databases

Benchmark 1.d
Read & Interpret Direction and Measurements of Distance on a Map/Globe
Indicator 1.d.1
Read and interpret maps in one-dimension (direction and distance)
Indicator 1.d.2
Read and interpret maps in more than one dimension
Indicator 1.d.3
Use latitude and longitude down to minutes to locate points on a map
Indicator 1.d.4
Interpret features on 7.5 minute quadrangles on topographic maps
Indicator 1.d.5
Analyze and interpret the information found on surface weather maps
Indicator 1.d.6
Compare and contrast the three types of basic map projections
Indicator 1.d.7
Create, edit, and share a presentation-quality map using ArcGIS

Benchmark 1.e
Manipulate Variables With Repeated Trials
Indicator 1.e.1
Develop a clear and concise set of procedures; Revise as necessary
Indicator 1.e.2
Utilize experimental design to develop a model for investigation
Indicator 1.e.3
Suggest improvements in the design of the study

Benchmark 1.f
Use Current Applications to Reinforce Science Concepts
Indicator 1.f.1
Apply Earth science content to current issues and applications
Indicator 1.f.2
Use the writing process to develop and express a viewpoint
Indicator 1.f.3
Explore solutions to local and far-reaching environmental problems
Indicator 1.f.4
Design a product or solution to a real world problem
Standard 2

Benchmark 2.a
Understand How Science Explains & Predicts Dynamics of Earth Systems
Indicator 2.a.1
Observe the natural world, raise questions, seek answers
Indicator 2.a.2
Identify key issues and problems
Indicator 2.a.3
Make predictions, using scientific data and data analysis
Indicator 2.a.4
Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and predictions
Indicator 2.a.5
Determine trends and relationships from data
Indicator 2.a.6
Analyze how natural processes can be used to predict or explain
Indicator 2.a.7
Create a code of scientific integrity that applies in the classroom
Indicator 2.a.8
Describe the limitations of science in meeting human problems & needs
Indicator 2.a.9
Question the interactions & dependencies between science & technology

Benchmark 2.b
Recognize Evidence Is Required to Evaluate Hypotheses and Explanations
Indicator 2.b.1
Develop hypotheses
Indicator 2.b.2
Use data to support or reject a hypothesis.
Indicator 2.b.3
Distinguish between examples of observations and inferences
Indicator 2.b.4
Obtain & interpret information using probes & geospatial technologies

Benchmark 2.c
Understand Observation & Logic Are Essential for Reaching a Conclusion
Indicator 2.c.1
Test the validity of prior conclusions
Indicator 2.c.2
Apply scientific investigative methods to generate conclusions
Indicator 2.c.3
Analyze results in order to construct a plausible explanation
Indicator 2.c.4
Evaluate statements to determine if systematic science is used

Benchmark 2.d
Understand That Evidence Is Evaluated for Scientific Theories
Indicator 2.d.1
Compare and contrast hypotheses, theories, and scientific laws
Indicator 2.d.2
Contrast the scientific use vs. the nontechnical usage of "theory"
Indicator 2.d.3
Explain how scientific methodology is used to change theories
Indicator 2.d.4
Differentiate between verifiable data and unfounded claims
Indicator 2.d.5
Correlate historical events with individuals and circumstances
Indicator 2.d.6
Debate theories and ideas with peers in group discussions
Indicator 2.d.7
Share experimental results with peers for review and analysis
Indicator 2.d.8
Evaluate peer research
Standard 3

Benchmark 3.a
Understand the Position of Earth in the Solar System
Indicator 3.a.1
Draw a diagram of the solar system and label the planets
Indicator 3.a.2
Diagram relative positions of the Sun/Moon/Earth; Predict tides, etc.
Indicator 3.a.3
Analyze the role of Earth's position, size, and axial tilt
Indicator 3.a.4
Explain Eratosthenes' method of calculating Earth's circumference
Indicator 3.a.5
Calculate the Earth's Polar and Equatorial circumference using GPS

Benchmark 3.b
Understand Sun-Earth-Moon Relationships (Seasons, Tides, Eclipses)
Indicator 3.b.1
Diagram and explain the cause of the seasons
Indicator 3.b.2
Explain & describe the gravitational forces that cause Earth’s tides
Indicator 3.b.3
Create a model showing the position of Earth, the moon & moon phases
Indicator 3.b.4
Create a model of the position of Earth, moon & sun during an eclipse
Indicator 3.b.5
Compare and contrast lunar and solar eclipses
Indicator 3.b.6
Explain why there is not a solar and lunar eclipse each month
Indicator 3.b.7
Use Earth's analemma to determine a specific date

Benchmark 3.c
Understand Characteristics of the Sun, Planets, Moons, Comets, etc.
Indicator 3.c.1
Describe Sun’s internal structure, surface features, source of energy
Indicator 3.c.2
Differentiate between the inner & outer planets and their atmospheres
Indicator 3.c.3
Compare and contrast the characteristics of the planets
Indicator 3.c.4
Analyze the 4 inner planets; Explain why they vary so significantly
Indicator 3.c.5
Compare the classification of the dwarf planet Pluto to the planets
Indicator 3.c.6
Compare characteristics among moons, comets, meteoroids, asteroids
Indicator 3.c.7
Predict needed conditions for another celestial object to support life
Indicator 3.c.8
Access current geologic and atmospheric data about the planets
Indicator 3.c.9
Interpret remote sensing data that has been collected by satellites
Indicator 3.c.10
Apply Newton's & Kepler's laws to describe the motion of the planets
Indicator 3.c.11
Compare several different types of stars (including the Sun)
Indicator 3.c.12
Research properties of a planetary body; Design plans for colonization

Benchmark 3.d
Understand the History and Contributions of Space Exploration
Indicator 3.d.1
Create a timeline showing key events in space exploration
Indicator 3.d.2
Compare the various types of evidence obtained from lunar exploration
Indicator 3.d.3
Analyze historical explanations for the origin of the moon
Indicator 3.d.4
Analyze how technology has contributed to change and enlightenment
Standard 4

Benchmark 4.a
Understand Hardness, Color & Streak, Luster, Cleavage, Fracture, etc.
Indicator 4.a.1
Differentiate between rocks and minerals
Indicator 4.a.2
Analyze the distinguishing characteristics used to categorize minerals
Indicator 4.a.3
Identify minerals by their physical and chemical properties
Indicator 4.a.4
Recognize the major elements found in the Earth’s crust
Indicator 4.a.5
Analyze why Fe, Al and Si are rarely found in the native state
Indicator 4.a.6
Analyze distribution & persistence of minerals at/near Earth’s surface

Benchmark 4.b
Investigate and Understand the Uses of Minerals
Indicator 4.b.1
Recognize some major rock-forming minerals; Explain their importance
Indicator 4.b.2
Recognize some major ore minerals; Explain their importance
Standard 5

Benchmark 5.a
Investigate and Understand Igneous Rocks
Indicator 5.a.1
Explain how the cooling rate of molten material affects igneous rocks
Indicator 5.a.2
Comprehend and identify various igneous rock textural features
Indicator 5.a.3
Assess how magmatic origin affects the composition of igneous rocks
Indicator 5.a.4
Differentiate and identify intrusive and extrusive igneous rocks
Indicator 5.a.5
Use Bowen's Reaction Series to explain mineral associations

Benchmark 5.b
Investigate and Understand Sedimentary Rocks
Indicator 5.b.1
List the weathering agents and describe their effects on structures
Indicator 5.b.2
Differentiate between clastic and non-clastic sedimentary rocks
Indicator 5.b.3
Analyze and identify various sedimentary rocks

Benchmark 5.c
Investigate and Understand Metamorphic Rocks
Indicator 5.c.1
Explain how physical features can determine a rock's environment
Indicator 5.c.2
Describe foliated & unfoliated metamorphic rocks: structure, formation
Indicator 5.c.3
Analyze the major groups of metamorphic rocks; Determine parent rock

Benchmark 5.d
Investigate and Understand the Rock Cycle
Indicator 5.d.1
Illustrate and describe the rock cycle
Indicator 5.d.2
Integrate the rock cycle with Plate Tectonics Theory/VA's 5 provinces
Standard 6

Benchmark 6.a
Understand Fossil Fuels, Minerals, Rocks, Water and Vegetation
Indicator 6.a.1
Analyze the formation of fossil fuels; Relate to ancient conditions

Benchmark 6.b
Understand the Advantages and Disadvantages of Various Energy Sources
Indicator 6.b.1
Differentiate between renewable and non-renewable resources
Indicator 6.b.2
Analyze the advantages and disadvantages of various energy sources

Benchmark 6.c
Investigate and Understand Resources Found in Virginia
Indicator 6.c.1
Identify examples of renewable & nonrenewable resources found in VA
Indicator 6.c.2
Analyze how Virginia’s production/use of natural resources has changed
Indicator 6.c.3
Evaluate Virginia’s potential as producer of renewable energy sources
Indicator 6.c.4
Analyze a range of emerging energy and mineral resources in Virginia

Benchmark 6.d
Investigate and Understand Environmental Costs and Benefits
Indicator 6.d.1
Assess role of fossil fuels & renewable energy sources in the future
Indicator 6.d.2
Determine the sources of clean water in their community; Analyze data
Indicator 6.d.3
Examine the uneven distribution of economically important resources
Indicator 6.d.4
Explore the economic, political and geologic importance of resources
Indicator 6.d.5
Distinguish among the various levels of natural resource consumption

Benchmark 6.e
Identify the Key Issue in an Actual Environmental Situation
Indicator 6.e.1
Examine the role of human activity on the Earth System
Indicator 6.e.2
Assess the benefits and/or risks of man-made hazards
Indicator 6.e.3
Calculate the length of storage time for various radioactive wastes
Indicator 6.e.4
Identify the core problem or key issue in an environmental situation
Standard 7

Benchmark 7.a
Understand Geologic Processes and Their Resulting Features
Indicator 7.a.1
Compare the processes that create the Earth’s internal heat
Indicator 7.a.2
Describe how the internal differentiation of the Earth led to layers
Indicator 7.a.3
Construct a scale model of the Earth’s interior
Indicator 7.a.4
Construct a model of convection cells deep within the Earth
Indicator 7.a.5
Relate fold and fault structures to the forces that form them
Indicator 7.a.6
Compare the erosive and depositional effects of wind, water, and ice
Indicator 7.a.7
Explain conditions that affect a stream’s ability to shape the land
Indicator 7.a.8
Comprehend the characteristics of each physiographic province of VA
Indicator 7.a.9
Analyze the geologic history of Virginia
Indicator 7.a.10
Integrate the rock cycle, plate tectonics, and Virginia’s geology
Indicator 7.a.11
Interpret the physiographic patterns of North America

Benchmark 7.b
Investigate and Understand Tectonic Processes
Indicator 7.b.1
Compare the types of plate boundaries & how their features are formed
Indicator 7.b.2
Analyze composition/structure of continental & oceanic lithospheres
Indicator 7.b.3
Compare the rates of movement of the lithospheric plates
Indicator 7.b.4
Analyze the various structures produced in convergent plate boundaries
Indicator 7.b.5
Apply the Plate Tectonics Theory to the formation of continents, etc.
Indicator 7.b.6
Describe the characteristics of the different types of seismic waves
Indicator 7.b.7
Analyze how seismic data helps to determine earth’s internal structure
Indicator 7.b.8
Compare/contrast various types of volcanism and geothermal activity
Indicator 7.b.9
Relate volcanic activity to magmatic viscosity & chemical composition
Indicator 7.b.10
Analyze the body of evidence for Plate Tectonics Theory
Indicator 7.b.11
Analyze how collisions/rifting created Virginia's current physiography
Indicator 7.b.12
Compare the tectonic activity of North America's east and west coasts
Indicator 7.b.13
Offer interpretations of an area's tectonic history based on rocks
Indicator 7.b.14
Interpret various graphical representations to find plate boundaries
Indicator 7.b.15
Integrate the theory of isostasy with its relationship to land forms
Indicator 7.b.16
Explain the difference between seismic intensity and magnitude
Indicator 7.b.17
Use GIS to design an earthquake emergency response plan for a city
Standard 8

Benchmark 8.a
Investigate and Understand the Processes of Soil Development
Indicator 8.a.1
Diagram the development of soil profiles and discuss mature soils

Benchmark 8.b
Investigate and Understand the Development of Karst Topography
Indicator 8.b.1
Analyze the formation of karst topography

Benchmark 8.c
Identify Groundwater Zones and the Water Table
Indicator 8.c.1
Interpret a simple groundwater diagram
Indicator 8.c.2
Explain how porosity & permeability affect the ground water movement
Indicator 8.c.3
Analyze the presence of groundwater in various types of rock terrains

Benchmark 8.d
Identify Sources of Fresh Water with Reference to the Hydrologic Cycle
Indicator 8.d.1
Interpret a simple hydrologic cycle diagram
Indicator 8.d.2
Identify sources of fresh water with reference to the hydrologic cycle
Indicator 8.d.3
Calculate and interpret a local water budget

Benchmark 8.e
Understand Dependence on Freshwater Resources and Water Quality
Indicator 8.e.1
Examine dependence on freshwater and the importance of water quality
Indicator 8.e.2
Analyze the relationship between salt-water intrusion & buried craters

Benchmark 8.f
Identify Watershed Systems in Virginia, Including the Chesapeake Bay
Indicator 8.f.1
Identify on a map the major watersheds in Virginia
Standard 9

Benchmark 9.a
Understand That Traces/Remains of Ancient Life Are Preserved in Rocks
Indicator 9.a.1
Describe the development of life forms on the Earth

Benchmark 9.b
Investigate and Understand the Methods of Dating Bodies of Rock
Indicator 9.b.1
Differentiate between relative and absolute time
Indicator 9.b.2
Discuss the laws of superposition, uniformitarianism & cross-cutting
Indicator 9.b.3
Explain how radioactive isotopes are used to find earth's absolute age

Benchmark 9.c
Understand Use of Absolute & Relative Dating to Determine Age of Rocks
Indicator 9.c.1
Analyze a sequence of rocks to infer the sequence's history over time
Indicator 9.c.2
Calculate the age of a rock sample by using an isotope's half-life

Benchmark 9.d
Understand That Rocks/Fossils from Many Periods/Epochs Are Found in VA
Indicator 9.d.1
Analyze the different types of fossils found in Virginia
Standard 10

Benchmark 10.a
Understand Physical and Chemical Changes Related to Tides, Waves, etc.
Indicator 10.a.1
Explain water movement near shorelines: long shore currents & tides
Indicator 10.a.2
Compare and contrast the movement of surface and deep ocean currents
Indicator 10.a.3
Analyze role of ocean currents in heat distribution; Predict changes
Indicator 10.a.4
Explain upwellings and how they impact ocean productivity
Indicator 10.a.5
Describe the ways in which waves form and interact
Indicator 10.a.6
Discuss the factors which may have caused the ice ages
Indicator 10.a.7
Discuss the geological implications of continental glaciation
Indicator 10.a.8
Provide examples of events that can change a coastal area's sea level
Indicator 10.a.9
Explain the density stratification of estuaries
Indicator 10.a.10
Differentiate between tsunamis and common ocean waves
Indicator 10.a.11
Evaluate importance of salt water marshes on life in the deeper seas

Benchmark 10.b
Understand the Importance of Environmental and Geologic Implications
Indicator 10.b.1
Analyze the potential impact of a major environmental disaster

Benchmark 10.c
Investigate and Understand Systems Interactions
Indicator 10.c.1
Describe the ways in which energy is transferred: sun/atmosphere/ocean
Indicator 10.c.2
Relate important ocean conditions to weather on the continents
Indicator 10.c.3
Compare Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico water temperatures
Indicator 10.c.4
Evaluate role of the marine environment re: carbon dioxide and oxygen
Indicator 10.c.5
Examine the causes of global temperature variation

Benchmark 10.d
Understand That Features of the Seafloor Reflect Tectonic Processes
Indicator 10.d.1
Describe the shape and composition of ocean basins
Indicator 10.d.2
Explain how volcanic island chains are formed
Indicator 10.d.3
Cite evidence supporting the theories of continental drift, etc.
Indicator 10.d.4
Explain significance of the conditions around deep-see volcanic vents

Benchmark 10.e
Understand the Economic and Public Policy Issues Concerning Oceans
Indicator 10.e.1
Discuss economic & public policy issues concerning oceans & the coast
Indicator 10.e.2
Determine effects of human interactions on the ocean & coastal zone
Indicator 10.e.3
Describe how the Chesapeake Bay can be polluted by sources far away
Standard 11

Benchmark 11.a
Understand Evidence for Atmospheric Composition Changes over Time
Indicator 11.a.1
Analyze scientific evidence for atmospheric change over geologic time
Indicator 11.a.2
Discuss the Earth’s place in the “habitability zone"

Benchmark 11.b
Understand Theories of the Effects of Early Life on the Atmosphere
Indicator 11.b.1
Explain current theories relating to the origin of our atmosphere

Benchmark 11.c
Investigate and Understand Atmospheric Regulation Mechanisms
Indicator 11.c.1
Relate composition/structure of the atmospheric layers to altitude
Indicator 11.c.2
Analyze how the Earth’s surface & atmosphere gets energy from the sun
Indicator 11.c.3
Compare and contrast the climate feedback mechanisms of the planets

Benchmark 11.d
Understand Potential Changes to the Atmosphere and Climate
Indicator 11.d.1
Analyze climate feedback mechanisms that control Earth's temperature
Indicator 11.d.2
Explain the causes of climatic change and assess the consequences
Indicator 11.d.3
Explain how volcanos/meteor impacts could affect Earth's atmosphere
Indicator 11.d.4
Describe the chemical reactions involved in stratospheric ozone
Indicator 11.d.5
Describe the chemical reactions involved in acid rain
Standard 12

Benchmark 12.a
Observe and Collect Weather Data
Indicator 12.a.1
Understand that weather is measurable, predictable, describes changes
Indicator 12.a.2
Read and interpret weather data from appropriate instruments
Indicator 12.a.3
Read and interpret weather station models

Benchmark 12.b
Predict Weather Patterns
Indicator 12.b.1
Describe different types of clouds and why they form
Indicator 12.b.2
Compare & contrast high & low pressure systems & their weather
Indicator 12.b.3
Predict weather based on cloud type, temperature & barometric pressure
Indicator 12.b.4
Read and interpret a weather map containing fronts, isobars, isotherms

Benchmark 12.c
Understand Severe Weather Occurrences
Indicator 12.c.1
Distinguish between tornadoes and hurricanes
Indicator 12.c.2
Analyze the impact of satellite technology on weather prediction
Indicator 12.c.3
Differentiate between severe weather watches and warnings

Benchmark 12.d
Understand Weather Phenomena, Radiation, Conduction, and Convection
Indicator 12.d.1
Compare and contrast the four methods of energy transfer
Indicator 12.d.2
Label diagram: the interaction of Earth’s atmosphere & energy transfer
Indicator 12.d.3
Discuss pressure differences, Coriolis effect & global wind patterns
Indicator 12.d.4
Identify and describe the direction of local winds
Indicator 12.d.5
Discuss how clouds affect incoming and outgoing solar energy
Indicator 12.d.6
Differentiate between cold & warm fronts, stationary fronts, etc
Indicator 12.d.7
Understand that climate is measurable, predictable, describes patterns
Indicator 12.d.8
Discuss the variables that affect the climate of an area
Indicator 12.d.9
Read and interpret climate graphs
Indicator 12.d.10
Label diagram: global climate zones/surface movement of ocean currents
Indicator 12.d.11
Compare the climate of a city to that of the surrounding countryside
Indicator 12.d.12
Identify and explain various atmospheric phenomena
Standard 13

Benchmark 13.a
Investigate and Understand Cosmology Including the Big Bang Theory
Indicator 13.a.1
Explain the origin of the Universe as postulated by Big Bang Theory
Indicator 13.a.2
Recognize that not all the elements were created in the Big Bang
Indicator 13.a.3
Discuss how changing technology is helping astronomers explore
Indicator 13.a.4
Use spectral shifts and magnitude to determine the Hubble Constant
Indicator 13.a.5
Compare & contrast the dominant theories on the universe's age & size

Benchmark 13.b
Understand the Origin & Evolution of Stars, Star Systems, and Galaxies
Indicator 13.b.1
Explain how the force of gravitational attraction formed stars
Indicator 13.b.2
Explain the opposing forces that hold a star together
Indicator 13.b.3
Construct an H-R Diagram and use to compare & contrast star features
Indicator 13.b.4
Use the H-R diagram to classify stars
Indicator 13.b.5
Contrast the life span & energy output of a blue giant star to the sun
Indicator 13.b.6
Analyze the various fusion products of high mass stars
Indicator 13.b.7
Explain the various ways distances to stars are measured
Indicator 13.b.8
Explain how the force of gravitational attraction formed galaxies
Indicator 13.b.9
Describe the Milky Way galaxy
Indicator 13.b.10
Describe different types of galaxies and compare them to the Milky Way
Indicator 13.b.11
Explain the potential origin and role of ultra massive black holes
Indicator 13.b.12
Identify & explain the best current idea for the solar system's origin
Indicator 13.b.13
Evaluate the probability of travel to nearby solar systems

Essential - Standard, benchmark, or indicator from the VDOE Standards of Learning document. In the absence of VDOE standards for a given course, content subject to testing such as AP and IB can be labeled Essential.
Expected - Standard, benchmark, or indicator added by the FCPS Program of Studies to provide a context, a bridge, or an enhancement to the Essential SBIs.
Extended - Standard, benchmark, or indicator added by the FCPS Program of Studies generally used to differentiate instruction for advanced learners (Honors/GT)