This engaging and exciting webquest can be completed individually, with partners, or in groups. The purpose of this webquest is for students to learn about or review the Earth System which is comprised of four spheres: the Geosphere, Biosphere, Atmosphere, and Hydrosphere.
Students are presented with a scenario and must complete an explanation at the end of the webquest.
This activity guides students through exploring information, examples, and videos about Earth’s spheres.
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The performance expectations in ESS2: Earth’s Systems, help students formulate an answer to questions such as: “How do the materials in and on Earth’s crust change over time, How does the movement of tectonic plates impact the surface of Earth, How does water influence weather, circulate in the oceans, and shape Earth’s surface, What factors interact and influence weather, and How have living organisms changed the Earth and how have Earth’s changing conditions impacted living organisms?” The ESS2 Disciplinary Core Idea from the NRC Framework is broken down into five sub-ideas: Earth materials and systems, plate tectonics and large-scale system interactions, the roles of water in Earth’s surface processes, weather and climate, and biogeology. Students understand how Earth’s geosystems operate by modeling the flow of energy and cycling of matter within and among different systems. Students investigate the controlling properties of important materials and construct explanations based on the analysis of real geoscience data. Of special importance in both topics are the ways that geoscience processes provide resources needed by society but also cause natural hazards that present risks to society; both involve technological challenges, for the identification and development of resources. Students develop understanding of the factors that control weather. A systems approach is also important here, examining the feedbacks between systems as energy from the sun is transferred between systems and circulates though the ocean and atmosphere. The crosscutting concepts of patterns, cause and effect, scale proportion and quantity, systems and system models, energy and matter, and stability and change are called out as organizing concepts for these disciplinary core ideas. In the ESS2 performance expectations, students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in developing and using models, planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, and constructing explanations; and to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas.
Students who demonstrate understanding can:
Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphereinteract. [Clarification Statement: Examples could include the influence of the ocean on ecosystems, landform shape, and climate; the influence of the atmosphere on landforms and ecosystems through weather and climate; and the influence of mountain ranges on winds and clouds in the atmosphere. The geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere are each a system.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to the interactions of two systems at a time.]