Understanding Your Environment
The module chapters lead students from an understanding of processes
that change the Earth’s surface to the impact of human activity
and the ability to modify such changes based on an understanding of
the relationships between the physical and human components of the systems.
Understanding Your Environment uses an inquiry-based approach to lead
students to an understanding of the Earth’s system processes that
change the surface of the Earth.
Through their inquiry in this module, students develop understandings
of the environment and complex Earth systems associated with change
on the Earth’s surface. The major themes addressed include the
following portions of the National Science Education Standards for Grades
- Changes to the Earth’s surface are the result of the interaction
of physical systems and are influenced by the activities of humans.
- Change is a natural and unavoidable phenomenon.
- Everyday people make decisions and conduct activities that affect
their environment and Earth systems.
- Understanding the interaction between Earth systems and human activities
will help citizens make choices that can modify the overall affect
of human activity on the resulting nature and degree of change to
Geology and Your Community
The Chapter Challenge for Bedrock Geology and Your Community is for
students to develop a brochure or guide explaining the geologic history
of their community, which can be used by their local Bed and Breakfast
Association. The use of maps and models is incorporated into learning
activities throughout the chapter. As students move through the chapter,
they examine sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rock samples and
learn how they form. Students then learn how rocks are distributed in
the Earth’s crust, and how to read geologic maps and cross sections.
By the end of the chapter, students should be able to put their acquired
knowledge to use, detailing the geologic history of the their community
and also placing this history into the larger perspective of the geologic
history of the United States.
Systems and Your Community
This chapter leads students to an understanding of the Earth’s
river systems and processes that change the Earth’s surface on
local and global scales. Student-based inquiry includes topics on the
formation, characteristics, and changes associated with river systems.
The characteristics of high and low gradient streams are investigated
using both local and Internet data. Stream flow, erosion, deposition
and their effects on landscape development are explored both in the
classroom using models and maps, and in the field. Land use patterns
and planning are related to past, present and future aspects of river
systems in the students’ community. The Chapter Challenge presented
to students is to plan a riverside park in or near their community.
Use Planning and Your Community
Many communities are becoming increasingly aware of the need to consider
the interaction of Earth systems with human activities while planning
for community development and growth. Earth systems that involve water,
air, and soil are of particular importance to the development of communities.
In this chapter, students will learn how people and Earth systems interact
affecting community decisions about land use. The interrelationships
between man’s activities on the Earth and Earth processes will
become apparent as students are led to understand the human concerns
regarding the watershed, atmospheric conditions, flooding, and landscape
changes. Major chapter themes include change and interaction. Activities
in the chapter are specifically designed to address local issues and
concerns. As a result, heavy emphasis is placed on community-based research
for both human and field resources. Each activity provides the student
with information to incorporate into their Chapter Challenge. In the
Chapter Challenge, students are asked to update the master plan for
land use in their community. Land-use planning highlighting past, present,
and possible future human and geological interactions is a major component
of the Chapter.