In this unit, we will be learning more about our planet – how it is made and the natural forces that are constantly changing its surface. We will see how some forces such as earthquakes can visibly change earths surface in minutes, while other forces like weathering and deposition happen over much longer periods of time.
We will also see how fossils – preserved remains of living organisms – can help us learn about Earth’s history. Fossils can give us clues about events in Earths history, but they also allow us to theorize about extinct animals and plants and characteristics of their environments. As we study fossils, we will also be making fossils in class to observe the processes by which fossils can be formed.
Lesson 1: Earth’s Composition In lesson 1, we will introduce the unit by discussing energy – the ability to do work. We will also be exploring the two major types of energy. Potential energy is stored energy, or energy that an object has because of its position relative to other objects. Kinetic Energy is energy that is doing work, or energy in motion. Energy can take a variety of forms such as sound, light, heat, motion, magnetism, or electricity. Even though the Law of Conservation of Matter and Energy tells us that new energy cannot be created and existing energy cannot be destroyed; the energy that is present in our universe is constantly being used, changing forms, and moving around Earth and throughout the universe. Download PDF Notes
Lesson 2: Shaping Earth’s Surface In lesson 2, we will explore the sound energy – the movement of energy through vibrations in the form of waves. Because they travel by vibrations, sound waves must have a medium to travel through. This medium can be a solid, liquid, or gas; however, sound cannot travel through a vacuum where no molecules are present to vibrate. As we study sound, we will look at the different characteristics of a sound wave such as wavelength, frequency, and amplitude. By changing these characteristics as we listen to a variety of sounds, we will also be able to observe how each of these characteristics can affect how our ears hear a sound’s pitch and volume. Download PDF Notes
Lesson 3: What is a Fossil? In lesson 3, we will be discussing light energy. Light energy is a form of energy that we can see. Light is made up of waves of electromagnetic energy. Visible light makes up a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, which also includes radio waves, infrared waves, ultraviolet waves, x-rays, and gamma rays. Light travels in a straight line at the incredible speed of 186,000 miles per second. We will be also observing what happens to light waves when they strike another object or material. Depending on the properties of material, light waves can be reflected, refracted, or absorbed. Reflection occurs when light strikes an object and bounces back. Refraction is the bending of light waves as they pass through a material, as in the case of a rainbow formed by sunlight passing through water droplets in the atmosphere. Absorption occurs when light strikes an object and can no longer be seen. Download PDF Notes
Lesson 4: Learning About Earth’s History from Fossils In lesson 4, we will be exploring heat energy. Heat is the transfer of thermal energy through vibrations between molecules. As the temperature of an object of substance increases, its molecules will begin to vibrate more quickly. In this lesson, we will also observe and compare the three methods by which heat can transfer. It is important to remember that heat will always transfer from a warmer object to a cooler object. Conduction occurs as heat transfers between two objects that are touching. Radiation describes the transfer of heat through space by electromagnetic radiation. Convection, the final method of heat transfer, involves the transfer of thermal energy through a current of liquid or gas. Download PDF Notes
Resources and Other Documentation
Unit 5 Guided Notes The guided notes for each unit provide students with a printable copy of notes summarizing the content from each class. Blanks are inserted into the notes where key facts or content should appear. As information is covered during class, students should write missing content into the blanks to complete the guided notes. These guided notes may also be used as a review tool for unit tests. Students may print a copy of the guided notes and fill in the missing content. This can be checked using the complete PDF notes for each lesson.