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Instructional Focus Document
Environmental Systems
TITLE : Unit 02: Modeling Earth's Systems SUGGESTED DURATION : 25 days

Unit Overview

Introduction

This unit bundles Student Expectations addressing energy interactions, energy transformations, and energy flow.

 

Prior to this Unit

  • Grade 4
    • 4.8B – Describe and illustrate the continuous movement of water above and on the surface of Earth through the water cycle and explain the role of the Sun as a major source of energy in this process.
  • Grade 5
    • 5.8B – Explain how the Sun and the ocean interact in the water cycle.
  • Grade 6
    • 6.9A – Investigate methods of thermal energy transfer, including conduction, convection, and radiation.
    • 6.10A – Build a model to illustrate the compositional and mechanical layers of Earth, including the inner core, outer core, mantle, crust, asthenosphere, and lithosphere.
    • 6.10C – Identify the major tectonic plates, including Eurasian, African, Indo-Australian, Pacific, North American, and South American.
    • 6.10D – Describe how plate tectonics causes major geological events such as ocean basin formation, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and mountain building.
  • Grade 8
    • 8.9A – Describe the historical development of evidence that supports plate tectonic theory.
    • 8.9B – Relate plate tectonics to the formation of crustal features.
    • 8.10A – Recognize that the Sun provides the energy that drives convection within the atmosphere and oceans, producing winds and ocean currents.
  • Biology
    • B.10C – Analyze the levels of organization in biological systems and relate the levels to each other and to the whole system.
    • B.12C – Analyze the flow of matter and energy through trophic levels using various models, including food chains, food webs, and ecological pyramids.
    • B.12D – Describe the flow of matter through the carbon and nitrogen cycles and explain the consequences of disrupting these cycles.

 

During this Unit

This unit also addresses Student Expectations relating to the interrelationship between abiotic cycles and interactions among Earths’ systems. Students diagram abiotic cycles (including the rock, hydrologic, carbon, and nitrogen cycles) in order to make observations and compile data about fluctuations in abiotic cycles and to evaluate the effects of abiotic factors on local ecosystems and local biomes. Through designing models, students will describe how matter cycles and energy flows through specific components of Earths’ systems (including the geosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere). Furthermore, students explain the flow of energy in an ecosystem (including conduction, convection, and radiation) as well as investigate and explain the effects of energy transformations. This is done in terms of the laws of thermodynamics within an ecosystem and through identification of energy interactions in an ecosystem.


After this Unit

Students will focus on land use and management and the impact of these practices on the quality and sustainability of resources. Students will evaluate the relationship between consumption and sustainability of resources.

 

Research

“By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that:

  • At times, environmental conditions are such that land and marine organisms reproduce and grow faster than they die and decompose to simple carbon containing molecules that are returned to the environment. Over time, layers of energy-rich organic material inside the earth have been chemically changed into great coal beds and oil pools. 5E/H1*
  • The chemical elements that make up the molecules of living things pass through food webs and are combined and recombined in different ways. At each link in a food web, some energy is stored in newly made structures but much is dissipated into the environment. Continual input of energy from sunlight keeps the process going. 5E/H3”

American Association for the Advancement of Science. (2009). Benchmarks on-line. Retrieved from http://www.project2061.org/publications/bsl/online/index.php.


Scientists investigate natural phenomena in order to understand and explain each phenomenon in terms of systems.

  • How are the properties of systems and their components related to their classification?
  • How are the components, processes, and / or patterns of systems interrelated?

 

Scientific investigation is an orderly process to ensure that scientific claims are credible.

  • Why is credibility so important in the scientific field?
  • How is scientific knowledge generated and validated?

 

Data is systematically collected, organized, and analyzed in terms of patterns and relationships to develop reasonable explanations and make predictions.

  • What gives meaning to data?
  • What is the value of observing patterns and relationships in data?

 

Scientists analyze, evaluate, and critique each other’s work using principles of scientific investigations in order to build on one another’s ideas through new investigations.

  • How can we know what to believe about a scientific claim?
  • What is the value of scientific literacy?
Unit Understandings
and Questions
Overarching Concepts
and Unit Concepts
Performance Assessment(s)

Ecosystems contain interconnected cycles and layers of matter and energy.

  • In what ways do the abiotic cycles interact and affect one another?
  • How do natural occurrences impact abiotic cycles, and what affects can that impact have on an ecosystem or biome?
  • In what ways do the components of the geosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere interact?
  • In what ways can energy transfer in an ecosystem?
  • What are the effects of energy transformations within Earth’s environmental system?
  • In what ways do energy transformations in ecosystems demonstrate the laws of thermodynamics?
  • How is the economic significance of resources within an environment evaluated?

Systems

  • Earth

 

Classifications

  • Geosphere
  • Hydrosphere
  • Cryosphere
  • Atmosphere

 

Properties

  • Sunlight
  • Organisms
  • Soil
  • Water

 

Patterns

  • Rock cycle
  • Hydrologic cycle
  • Carbon cycle
  • Nitrogen cycle


Models

  • Systems

 

Constancy

  • Conservation of energy

 

Change

  • Thermodynamics
Assessment information provided within the TEKS Resource System are examples that may, or may not, be used by your child’s teacher. In accordance with section 26.006 (2) of the Texas Education Code, "A parent is entitled to review each test administered to the parent’s child after the test is administered." For more information regarding assessments administered to your child, please visit with your child’s teacher.

MISCONCEPTIONS / UNDERDEVELOPED CONCEPTS

Misconceptions:

  • Students may think energy transformations are 100% efficient, rather than energy is “lost” to the environment or universe as heat.

Underdeveloped Concepts:

  • Students may not understand that energy does not cycle within a system like matter, but flows through a system.

Unit Vocabulary

Key Content Vocabulary:

  • Atmosphere – all of Earth’s air; divided into troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, and ionosphere
  • Biosphere – all of Earth’s life forms as distributed in biomes, such as tundra, boreal forest, deciduous forest, grassland, desert, savannah, rainforest, chaparral, freshwater, and marine
  • Conduction – transfer of energy through matter by colliding particles (direct contact)
  • Convection – transfer of thermal energy, in a liquid or gas, in which the warmer substance rises and the cooler substance sinks; forms a current
  • Cryosphere – places where water is in frozen form, as well as areas of permafrost
  • Energy transformation – process of energy changing from one form to another
  • Eutrophication – the enrichment of an ecosystem with chemical nutrients, typically compounds containing nitrogen, phosphorus, or both
  • First law of thermodynamics – The energy of the universe is constant. Energy can be transferred and transformed, but it cannot be created or destroyed. Energy for the functioning of an ecosystem comes from the Sun. Solar energy is absorbed by plants where in it is converted to stored chemical energy. Plants act as energy transformers, converting light to chemical energy. Whenever energy is converted from one form into another, some of it is given off as heat, which is the most random form of energy.
  • Geosphere – the core, mantle, and crust of the Earth
  • Hydrosphere – all of the liquid, solid, and gaseous water on Earth
  • Hypotheses – a tentative and testable statement that must be capable of being supported or not supported by evidence
  • Limiting factors – an environmental factor that tends to limit population size
  • Nonrenewable resources – natural resources that are used up at a rate faster than they can be replaced
  • Radiation – transfer of energy through the emission of electromagnetic waves
  • Renewable resources – natural resources that are constantly being recycled
  • Second law of thermodynamics – Every energy transfer or transformation increases the entropy (measure of disorder or randomness) of the universe. The increasing entropy takes the form of an increase in the amount of heat. Energy flows into an ecosystem in the form of light and leaves the ecosystem in the form of heat. The entropy of a particular system may decrease, so long as the total entropy of the universe increases.
  • Theory – a well-established and highly reliable explanation, but may be subject to change as new areas of science and new technologies are developed
  • Tolerance range – the limits for each of the physical and biological components of the environment an organism can tolerate (in order to survive)

 

Related Vocabulary:

  • Fluxes
  • Processes
  • Reservoirs
  • System
Unit Assessment Items System Resources Other Resources

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System Resources may be accessed through Search All Components in the District Resources Tab.

State:

Texas Education Agency – Texas Safety Standards

http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=5483 (look under Documents)


TAUGHT DIRECTLY TEKS

TEKS intended to be explicitly taught in this unit.

TEKS/SE Legend:

  • Knowledge and Skills Statements (TEKS) identified by TEA are in italicized, bolded, black text.
  • Student Expectations (TEKS) identified by TEA are in bolded, black text.
  • Portions of the Student Expectations (TEKS) that are not included in this unit but are taught in previous or future units are indicated by a strike-through.

Specificity Legend:

  • Supporting information / clarifications (specificity) written by TEKS Resource System are in blue text.
  • Unit-specific clarifications are in italicized, blue text.
  • Information from Texas Education Agency (TEA), Texas College and Career Readiness Standards (TxCCRS), and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Project 2061 is labeled.
  • A Partial Specificity label indicates that a portion of the specificity not aligned to this unit has been removed.
TEKS# SE# TEKS SPECIFICITY
E.1 Scientific processes. The student, for at least 40% of instructional time, conducts hands-on laboratory and field investigations using safe, environmentally appropriate, and ethical practices. The student is expected to:
E.1A

Demonstrate safe practices during laboratory and field investigations, including appropriate first aid responses to accidents that could occur in the field such as insect stings, animal bites, overheating, sprains, and breaks.

 

Demonstrate

SAFE PRACTICES DURING FIELD AND LABORATORY INVESTIGATIONS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Wear appropriate safety equipment, such as goggles, aprons, and gloves
  • Follow classroom safety guidelines, as outlined in the Texas Education Agency Texas Safety Standards, 2nd Edition
  • Use lab equipment appropriately
  • Follow field investigation guidelines
  • Limit habitat disturbance / destruction
E.1B

Demonstrate an understanding of the use and conservation of resources and the proper disposal or recycling of materials.

 

Demonstrate

AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE DISPOSAL OR RECYCLING OF MATERIALS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Proper disposal or recycling of materials
    • Disposal
      • Solid and liquid chemical waste
      • Broken glassware
    • Spill cleanup
    • Recycling
      • Paper products
      • Plastics
      • Glass
      • Metals
E.2 Scientific processes. The student uses scientific methods during laboratory and field investigations. The student is expected to:
E.2A

Know the definition of science and understand that it has limitations, as specified in subsection (b)(2) of this section.

Know

THE DEFINITION OF SCIENCE

Including, but not limited to:

  • Science, as defined by the National Academy of Sciences, is the "use of evidence to construct testable explanations and predictions of natural phenomena, as well as the knowledge generated through this process".

Understand

SCIENCE HAS LIMITATIONS

Including, but not limited to:

  • “...some questions are outside the realm of science because they deal with phenomena that are not scientifically testable.”
  • Scientific inquiry may be limited by current technology
E.2B

Know that scientific hypotheses are tentative and testable statements that must be capable of being supported or not supported by observational evidence. Hypotheses of durable explanatory power which have been tested over a wide variety of conditions are incorporated into theories.

Know

THAT SCIENTIFIC HYPOTHESES ARE TENTATIVE AND TESTABLE STATEMENTS THAT MUST BE CAPABLE OF BEING SUPPORTED OR NOT SUPPORTED BY OBSERVATIONAL EVIDENCE

Including, but not limited to:

  • Determine if statements represent testable hypotheses
  • Analyze data to determine whether the data support or do not support hypotheses
  • Widely tested hypotheses
    • Can have durable explanatory power
    • May be incorporated into theories

Note(s):

  • TxCCRS Note:
    • I. Nature of Science – A3 – Formulate appropriate questions to test understanding of natural phenomena. 
E.2E

Follow or plan and implement investigative procedures, including making observations, asking questions, formulating testable hypotheses, and selecting equipment and technology.

Plan, Implement

DESCRIPTIVE, COMPARATIVE, AND EXPERIMENTAL INVESTIGATIONS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Observe natural phenomena
  • Ask questions
  • Formulate testable hypotheses
  • Follow or design and conduct investigations
    •  Descriptive
    •  Comparative
    •  Experimental
  • Select appropriate equipment and technology

Note(s):

  • TEA:
    • Descriptive, comparative and experimental investigations (Texas Education Agency. (2007-2011)). Laboratory and Field Investigations–FAQ, August 2010. Retrieved from http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=5483)
      • Descriptive investigations involve collecting qualitative and/or quantitative data to draw conclusions about a natural or man-made system (e.g., rock formation, animal behavior, cloud, bicycle, electrical circuit). A descriptive investigation includes a question, but no hypothesis. Observations are recorded, but no comparisons are made and no variables are manipulated.
      • Comparative investigations involve collecting data on different organisms/objects/ features/events, or collecting data under different conditions (e.g., time of year, air temperature, location) to make a comparison. The hypothesis identifies one independent (manipulated) variable and one dependent (responding) variable. A ―fair test* can be designed to measure variables so that the relationship between them is determined.
      • Experimental investigations involve designing a ―fair test* similar to a comparative investigation, but a control is identified. The variables are measured in an effort to gather evidence to support or not support a causal relationship. This is often called a ―controlled experiment.
      • * A fair test is conducted by making sure that only one factor (variable) is changed at a time, while keeping all other conditions the same. 
  • TxCCRS:
    • I. Nature of Science – A3 – Formulate appropriate questions to test understanding of natural phenomena.
E.2F

Collect data individually or collaboratively, make measurements with precision and accuracy, record values using appropriate units, and calculate statistically relevant quantities to describe data, including mean, median, and range.

Collect

DATA

Including, but not limited to:

  • Qualitative and / or quantitative
  • On an individual or collaborative basis
  • Record values using appropriate units
  • Demonstrate use of appropriate equipment to collect data
E.2G

Demonstrate the use of course apparatuses, equipment, techniques, and procedures, including meter sticks, rulers, pipettes, graduated cylinders, triple beam balances, timing devices, pH meters or probes, thermometers, calculators, computers, Internet access, turbidity testing devices, hand magnifiers, work and disposable gloves, compasses, first aid kits, binoculars, field guides, water quality test kits or probes, soil test kits or probes, 100-foot appraiser's tapes, tarps, shovels, trowels, screens, buckets, and rock and mineral samples.

 

Demonstrate

THE USE OF COURSE APPARATUSES, EQUIPMENT, TECHNIQUES, AND PROCEDURES

Including, but not limited to:

  • Appropriate use of equipment
    • Rulers
    • Calculators
    • Computers with Internet access
    • Work and disposable gloves
E.2H

Use a wide variety of additional course apparatuses, equipment, techniques, materials, and procedures as appropriate such as air quality testing devices, cameras, flow meters, Global Positioning System (GPS) units, Geographic Information System (GIS) software, computer models, densiometers, clinometers, and field journals.

 

Use

A WIDE VARIETY OF ADDITIONAL COURSE APPARATUSES, EQUIPMENT, TECHNIQUES, MATERIALS, AND PROCEDURES

Including, but not limited to:

  • Additional equipment (as needed)
    • Air quality testing devices
    • Computer models
    • Field journals
E.2I

Organize, analyze, evaluate, build models, make inferences, and predict trends from data.

 

Organize, Analyze, Evaluate, Build models, Make inferences, Predict

TRENDS FROM DATA

Including, but not limited to:

  • Using models
  • Analyze data using different modes of expression (narrative, numerical, graphical)
  • Use appropriate mathematical calculations
    • Possible examples may include:
      • Averaging
      • Percent change
      • Probabilities and ratios
      • Rate of change
  • Use appropriate standard international (SI) units
  • Analyze and evaluate data (narrative, numerical, graphical) in order to make inferences and predict trends
    • Possible data format examples may include:
      • Food chains / food webs
      • Ecological pyramids
      • Abiotic cycles
      • Data and fact tables
      • Graphs
      • Maps
      • Climatogram / climatograph
      • Graphic organizers
      • Feedback loops
      • Images (e.g., illustrations, sketches, photomicrographs)
E.2K

Communicate valid conclusions supported by the data through methods such as lab reports, labeled drawings, graphic organizers, journals, summaries, oral reports, and technology-based reports.

Communicate

VALID CONCLUSIONS SUPPORTED BY DATA

Including, but not limited to:

  • Communicate conclusions in oral, written, and graphic forms
  • Use essential vocabulary of the discipline to communicate conclusions
  • Use appropriate writing practices consistent with scientific writing
  • Present scientific information in appropriate formats for various audiences
  • Methods for communicating conclusions
    • Labeled drawings
    • Diagrams
    • Graphic organizers (including charts and tables)
    • Journals (science notebooks)
    • Summaries
    • Oral reports
    • Possible additional methods for communicating conclusions:
      • Graphs

Note(s):

  • TxCCRS:
    • IV. Nature of Science: Scientific Ways of Learning and Thinking – E1 – Use several modes of expression to describe or characterize natural patterns and phenomena. These modes of expression include narrative, numerical, graphical, pictorial, symbolic, and kinesthetic.
E.3 Scientific processes. The student uses critical thinking, scientific reasoning, and problem solving to make informed decisions within and outside the classroom. The student is expected to:
E.3B

Communicate and apply scientific information extracted from various sources such as current events, news reports, published journal articles, and marketing materials.

Communicate, Apply

SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION

Including, but not limited to:

  • Review scientific information from a variety of sources
  • Summarize and communicate scientific information from a variety of sources
  • Evaluate the quality and accuracy of information from research sources
    • Current events
    • News reports
    • Published journal articles
    • Marketing materials
    • Possible additional sources may include:
      • Books
      • Interviews, conference papers
      • Science notebooks
      • Search engines, databases, and other media or online tools
E.4 Science concepts. The student knows the relationships of biotic and abiotic factors within habitats, ecosystems, and biomes. The student is expected to:
E.4C

Diagram abiotic cycles, including the rock, hydrologic, carbon, and nitrogen cycles.

Diagram

ABIOTIC CYCLES

Including, but not limited to:

  • Abiotic cycles
    • Rock
    • Hydrologic
    • Carbon
    • Nitrogen
      • Chemical forms of each element at each stage of the cycle (TxCCRS)
    • Possible additional examples include:
      • Oxygen-water
      • Sulfur
      • Phosphorus

Note(s):

  • TxCCRS Note:
    • X. Environmental Science – A1 – Recognize the Earth’s systems.
    • X. Environmental Science – A5 – Be familiar with Earth’s major biomes.
    • X. Environmental Science – A6 – Describe the Earth’s major biogeochemical cycles.
E.4D

Make observations and compile data about fluctuations in abiotic cycles and evaluate the effects of abiotic factors on local ecosystems and local biomes.

Make

OBSERVATIONS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Fluctuations in abiotic cycles
    • Precipitation data
    • Temperature ranges
    • Nutrient concentrations
    • Energy

Compile

DATA

Including, but not limited to:

  • Fluctuations in abiotic cycles
    • Precipitation data
    • Temperature ranges
    • Nutrient concentrations
    • Energy

Evaluate

THE EFFECTS OF ABIOTIC FACTORS ON LOCAL ECOSYSTEMS AND LOCAL BIOMES

Including, but not limited to:

  • Impact of abiotic cycles on ecosystems and biomes
    • Where an organism can live
    • How much a population can grow
      • Limiting factors
    • Tolerance range
    • Eutrophication

Note(s):

  • TxCCRS Note:
    • VI. Biology – C2 – Recognize variations in population sizes, including extinction, and describe mechanisms and conditions that produce these variations.
    • X. Environmental Science – A1 – Recognize the Earth’s systems. 
E.5 Science concepts. The student knows the interrelationships among the resources within the local environmental system. The student is expected to:
E.5E

Analyze and evaluate the economic significance and interdependence of resources within the environmental system.

 

Note: The focus of Unit 01: Ecosystem Dynamics included an introduction to the economic significance and interdependence of resources within the environmental system. The focus for this unit is the interdependence of these resources (how matter cycles and energy flows through abiotic cycles).

Analyze

INTERDEPENDENCE OF RESOURCES WITHIN THE ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEM

Including, but not limited to:

  • Interdependence of resources within the environmental system
    • Abiotic and biotic
      • Sunlight
      • Organisms
      • Soil
      • Water
E.6 Science concepts. The student knows the sources and flow of energy through an environmental system. The student is expected to:
E.6A

Define and identify the components of the geosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere and the interactions among them.

Define, Identify

COMPONENTS OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEM

Including, but not limited to:

  • Geosphere
    • Characteristics (location, composition, interactions of layers, and changes through time)
      • Core
      • Mantle
      • Crust
        • Tectonic plates
  • Hydrosphere
    • Characteristics (solid, liquid, and gaseous water on Earth; composition and location of bodies of water)
      • Fresh water
        • Percentage of Earth’s total supply
      • Salt water
        • Percentage of Earth’s total supply
  • Cryosphere
    • Characteristics (location, composition)
      • Glaciers
      • Permafrost areas
  • Atmosphere
    • Characteristics (location, composition, interactions of layers, atmospheric circulation, relative temperature, and pressure)
      • Troposphere
      • Stratosphere
      • Mesosphere
      • Thermosphere
  • Biosphere
    • Characteristics (location, characteristic organisms, climate, interactions of abiotic and biotic factors)
      • Desert
      • Deciduous forest
      • Rainforest
      • Grassland
      • Tundra
      • Taiga
      • Savanna
      • Salt water
      • Fresh water

Identify

INTERACTIONS AMONG EARTH SYSTEMS

  • Interactions
    • Atmosphere and hydrosphere interactions
      • Weather and climate
      • Air currents and ocean currents
  • Possible additional interactions may include:
    • Hydrosphere and cryosphere interactions
      • Global climate
    • Cryosphere and geosphere interactions
      • Glaciation (e.g., increased soil fertility and additional water sources)
    • Geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere interactions
      • Effects of volcanic eruption
      • Effects of Amazon deforestation
    • Hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere
      • Wind farm development

Note(s):

  • TxCCRS Note:
    • VI. Biology – G1 – Identify Earth’s major biomes, giving their locations, typical climate conditions, and characteristic organisms present in each.
    • VI. Biology – G2 – Know patterns of energy flow and material cycling in Earth's ecosystems.
    • X. Environmental Science – B1 – Know the various sources of energy for humans and other biological systems.
E.6C

Explain the flow of energy in an ecosystem, including conduction, convection, and radiation.

Explain

FLOW OF ENERGY IN AN ECOSYSTEM

Including, but not limited to:

  • Conduction
    • Heat transfer from earth or soil to organisms
  • Convection
    • Currents
      • Air
      • Water
      • Mantle
  • Radiation
    •  Transference of solar energy to Earth

Note(s):

  • TxCCRS Note:
    • VI. Biology – G2 – Know patterns of energy flow and material cycling in Earth's ecosystems.
    • X. Environmental Science – A6 – Describe the Earth’s major biogeochemical cycles.
    • X. Environmental Science – B1 – Understand energy transformations.
    • X. Environmental Science – B1 – Know the various sources of energy for humans and other biological systems.
E.6D

Investigate and explain the effects of energy transformations in terms of the laws of thermodynamics within an ecosystem.

Investigate, Explain

EFFECTS OF ENERGY TRANSFORMATIONS IN TERMS OF THE LAWS OF THERMODYNAMICS WITHIN AN ECOSYSTEM

Including, but not limited to:

  • Energy transformation in terms of the laws of thermodynamics
    • Laws of thermodynamics
      •  First law of thermodynamics: The energy of the universe is constant. Energy can be transferred and transformed, but it cannot be created or destroyed. Energy for the functioning of an ecosystem comes from the Sun. Solar energy is absorbed by plants where in it is converted to stored chemical energy. Plants act as energy transformers, converting light to chemical energy. Whenever energy is converted from one form into another, some of it is given off as heat, which is the most random form of energy.
        • Possible example:
          • Within a food web, light energy is transformed into chemical energy for producers and consumers, and then into mechanical energy for consumers. The amount of energy being transferred through the web cannot be greater than the amount initially supplied by the Sun (via a producer)
      • Second law of thermodynamics: Every energy transfer or transformation increases the entropy (measure of disorder or randomness) of the universe. The increasing entropy takes the form of an increase in the amount of heat. Energy flows into an ecosystem in the form of light and leaves the ecosystem in the form of heat. The entropy of a particular system may decrease, so long as the total entropy of the universe increases.
        • Possible example:
          • Energy decreases as it moves up trophic levels as illustrated in a food web, because energy is lost as metabolic heat
          • When one animal feeds off another, there is a loss of heat (energy) in the process
          • In an ecosystem, predators evolve so as to be better able to capture their prey, which increases the efficiency of flow of energy through trophic levels (decreased entropy) but reduces a system's stability (increased entropy overall)  

Note(s):

  • TxCCRS Note:
    • VI. Biology – G2 – Know patterns of energy flow and material cycling in Earth's ecosystems.
    • X. Environmental Science – B1 – Understand energy transformations.
    • X. Environmental Science – B1 – Know the various sources of energy for humans and other biological systems.
E.6E

Investigate and identify energy interactions in an ecosystem.

Investigate, Identify

ENERGY INTERACTIONS IN AN ECOSYSTEM

Including, but not limited to:

  • Energy interactions between biosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere
  • Photosynthesis
  • Ecological pyramids
  • Food webs

Note(s):

  • TxCCRS Note:
    • X. Environmental Science – B1 – Understand energy transformations.
DEVELOPING TEKS

TEKS that need continued practice, improvement, and refinement, but do not necessarily need to be explicitly taught in this unit.

TEKS/SE Legend:

  • Knowledge and Skills Statements (TEKS) identified by TEA are in italicized, bolded, black text.
  • Student Expectations (TEKS) identified by TEA are in bolded, black text.
  • Portions of the Student Expectations (TEKS) that are not included in this unit but are taught in previous or future units are indicated by a strike-through.

Specificity Legend:

  • Supporting information / clarifications (specificity) written by TEKS Resource System are in blue text.
  • Unit-specific clarifications are in italicized, blue text.
  • Information from Texas Education Agency (TEA), Texas College and Career Readiness Standards (TxCCRS), and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Project 2061 is labeled.
TEKS# SE# TEKS SPECIFICITY
E.2 Scientific processes. The student uses scientific methods during laboratory and field investigations. The student is expected to:
E.2C Know that scientific theories are based on natural and physical phenomena and are capable of being tested by multiple independent researchers. Unlike hypotheses, scientific theories are well-established and highly-reliable explanations, but may be subject to change as new areas of science and new technologies are developed.

Know

SCIENTIFIC THEORIES

Including, but not limited to:

  • Scientific theories are based on natural and physical phenomena
  • Scientific theories are capable of being tested by multiple independent researchers
  • Unlike, hypotheses, scientific theories are well-established and highly reliable explanations
  • Scientific theories may be subject to change as new areas of science and new technologies are developed
    • A scientific theory may be subject to change when new evidence is inconsistent with or cannot be explained by current theory
  • Examine various scientific theories from the field of biology and the evidence that supports them
    • Possible examples of related scientific theories may include:
      • Laws of thermodynamics
      • Theory of natural selection
      • Theory of evolution
      • Gene theory (Mendel)
      • Germ theory of disease

Note(s):

  • TxCCRS Note:
    • I. Nature of Science – A2 – Use creativity and insight to recognize and describe patterns in natural phenomena.
    • I. Nature of Science – A4 – Rely on reproducible observations of empirical evidence when constructing, analyzing, and evaluating explanations of natural events and processes.
E.2D Distinguish between scientific hypotheses and scientific theories.

Distinguish

BETWEEN SCIENTIFIC HYPOTHESES AND SCIENTIFIC THEORIES

Including, but not limited to:

  • Distinguish between scientific hypotheses and scientific theories
  • Use statements and supporting evidence to determine whether a statement is a hypothesis or a scientific theory
  • Examine examples of hypotheses and theories in the field of environmental systems

Note(s):

  • Project 2061: By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that:
    • In science, the testing, revising, and occasional discarding of theories, new and old, never ends. This ongoing process leads to a better understanding of how things work in the world but not to absolute truth. 1A/H3bc*
E.2J Perform calculations using dimensional analysis, significant digits, and scientific notation.

Perform

CALCULATIONS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Scientific conventions
    • Significant digits
    • Scientific notation
    • Appropriate Standard International (SI) units
  • Mathematical procedures
    • Dimensional analysis
    • Scientific notation
    • Rules for Significant Figures (Digits)
      1. Non-zero digits and zeros between non-zero digits are always significant.
      2. Leading zeros are not significant.
      3. Zeros to the right of all non-zero digits are only significant if a decimal point is shown.
      4. For values written in scientific notation, the digits in the coefficient are significant.
      5. In a common logarithm, there are as many digits after the decimal point as there are significant figures in the original number.

Note(s):

  • The STAAR Chemistry Reference Materials include the Rules for Significant Figures as listed above.
E.3 Scientific processes. The student uses critical thinking, scientific reasoning, and problem solving to make informed decisions within and outside the classroom. The student is expected to:
E.3A In all fields of science, analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing, including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.

Analyze, Evaluate, Critique

SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATIONS, IN ALL FIELDS OF SCIENCE, SO AS TO ENCOURAGE CRITICAL THINKING BY THE STUDENT

Including, but not limited to:

  • Use
    • Empirical evidence
    • Logical reasoning
    • Experimental and observational testing
  • Examine
    • All sides of scientific evidence of those explanations

Note(s):

  • Project 2061: By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that:
    • Scientific knowledge is subject to modification as new information challenges prevailing theories and as a new theory leads to looking at old observations in a new way. 1A/M2
    • Some scientific knowledge is very old and yet is still applicable today. 1A/M3
    • Scientific investigations usually involve the collection of relevant data, the use of logical reasoning, and the application of imagination in devising hypotheses and explanations to make sense of the collected data. 1B/M1b*
    • If more than one variable changes at the same time in an experiment, the outcome of the experiment may not be clearly attributable to any one variable. It may not always be possible to prevent outside variables from influencing an investigation (or even to identify all of the variables). 1B/M2ab
  • TxCCRS:
    • I. Nature of Science – A1 – Utilize skepticism, logic, and professional ethics in science.
    • I. Nature of Science – A4 – Rely on reproducible observations of empirical evidence when constructing, analyzing, and evaluating explanations of natural events and processes.
E.3C Draw inferences based on data related to promotional materials for products and services.

Draw

INFERENCES BASED ON DATA

Including, but not limited to:

  • Examine data from promotional materials described in print, on television, and on the Internet
  • Evaluate data from promotional materials for quality and accuracy
  • Evaluate completeness and reliability of information from sources
E.3D Evaluate the impact of research on scientific thought, society, and the environment.

Evaluate

IMPACT OF RESEARCH

Including, but not limited to:

  • Read scientific articles to gain understanding of the impact of research
  • Evaluate the impact of research on society, everyday life, and the environment
  • Recognize how scientific discoveries are connected to technological innovations
  • Understand how scientific research and technology have an impact on ethical and legal practices
  • Understand how commonly held ethical beliefs impact scientific research
  • Understand how scientific discoveries have impacted / changed commonly held beliefs
E.3E Describe the connection between environmental science and future careers.

Describe

CONNECTIONS BETWEEN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND FUTURE CAREERS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Environmental science careers
    • Possible examples may include:
      • Careers in environmental law and policy
      • Careers in ecology
      • Careers in conservation
      • Careers in environmental management
      • Careers in energy and air pollution control
      • Environmental engineer
      • Environmental educator
      • Restoration ecologist
      • Marine biologist
      • Sustainable farmer
      • Renewable energy researcher
      • Forest ranger
E.3F Research and describe the history of environmental science and contributions of scientists.

Research, Describe

HISTORY OF ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND CONTRIBUTIONS OF SCIENTISTS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Conduct research on significant events in the history of environmental science
    • Possible examples may include:
      • National Environmental Policy Act (1969)
      • Publication of Silent Spring (Rachel Carson)
      • Publication of An Essay on the Principle of Population (Thomas Malthus)
      • Creation of the Environmental Protection Agency
      • Discovery of CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere (1957)
      • Love Canal
      • Chernobyl (April 26, 1986)
      • Three Mile Island (1979)
      • Oil spills
        • California coast (Santa Barbara) (1969)
        • Alaska coast (March 24, 1989)
        • Gulf of Mexico (April, 2010)
  • Conduct research on contributions of various environmental scientists
    • Biodiversity
      • Possible examples may include:
        • Niles Eldredge
        • Charles Darwin
        • E.O. Wilson
        • Paul Ralph Ehrlich
    • Sustainability
      • Possible examples may include:
        • George Washington Carver
        • Thomas Malthus (author of An Essay on the Principle of Population)
        • Joshua Abbott
    • Stewardship
      • Possible examples may include:
        • Rachel Carson (author of Silent Spring)
        • John Wesley Powell
        • John Muir (conservationist)
        • James Hansen
E.4 Science concepts. The student knows the relationships of biotic and abiotic factors within habitats, ecosystems, and biomes. The student is expected to:
E.4A Identify native plants and animals using a dichotomous key.

Identify

NATIVE PLANTS AND ANIMALS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Using a dichotomous key
    • Native plants
    • Native animals

Note(s):

  • TxCCRS Note:
    • VI. Biology – G1 – Identify Earth’s major biomes, giving their locations, typical climate conditions, and characteristic organisms present in each.
    • X. Environmental Science – A1 – Recognize the Earth’s systems.
    • X. Environmental Science – A5 – Be familiar with Earth’s major biomes.
E.4B Assess the role of native plants and animals within a local ecosystem and compare them to plants and animals in ecosystems within four other biomes.

Assess, Compare

THE ROLE OF NATIVE PLANTS AND ANIMALS WITHIN A LOCAL ECOSYSTEM TO OTHER PLANTS AND ANIMALS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Native plants and animals of the local ecosystem
    • Possible roles may include:
      • Keystone species
      • Apex predators
      • Population control
      • Producers
      • Consumers
      • Decomposers
  • Native plants and animals of ecosystems in other biomes
    • Possible roles may include:
      • Keystone species
      • Apex predators
      • Population control
      • Biodiversity
      • Producers
      • Consumers
      • Decomposers
    • Possible examples of biomes may include:
      • Desert
      • Deciduous forest
      • Rainforest
      • Grassland
      • Tundra
      • Taiga
      • Savanna
      • Salt water
      • Fresh water

Note(s):

  • TxCCRS Note:
    • X. Environmental Science – A1 – Recognize the Earth’s systems.
    • X. Environmental Science – A4 – Know the features of the hydrosphere.
    • X. Environmental Science – A5 – Be familiar with Earth’s major biomes.
E.4E Measure the concentration of solute, solvent, and solubility of dissolved substances such as dissolved oxygen, chlorides, and nitrates and describe their impact on an ecosystem.

Measure

THE CONCENTRATION OF SOLUTE, SOLVENT, AND SOLUBILITY OF DISSOLVED SUBSTANCES

Including, but not limited to:

  • Dissolved substances
    • Oxygen
    • Chlorides
    • Nitrates
    • Phosphates

Describe

IMPACT OF DISSOLVED SUBSTANCES ON AN ECOSYSTEM

Including, but not limited to:

  • Dissolved substances
    • Oxygen
    • Chlorides
    • Nitrates
    • Phosphates
  • Possible impacts may include
    • Condition of water
      • Eutrophication
      • Dead zones
    • Condition of soil
      • Soil salinity

Note(s):

  • TxCCRS Note:
    • X. Environmental Science – A1 – Recognize the Earth’s systems.
E.4F Predict how the introduction or removal of an invasive species may alter the food chain and affect existing populations in an ecosystem.

Predict

HOW INTRODUCTION OR REMOVAL OF AN INVASIVE SPECIES MAY ALTER THE FOOD CHAIN AND AFFECT EXISTING POPULATIONS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Introduction of invasive species
  • Impacts
    • Economic
      • Commercial
      • Agricultural
      • Recreational
    • Biodiversity
      • Prevent native species from reproducing
      • Out-compete native species for food and other resources
        • Decrease biodiversity
    • Habitat alteration
      • Threat to native wildlife
    • Food chain
      • Destroy or replace native food sources
      • Altering ecosystem conditions (e.g., soil chemistry)
  • Removal of invasive species
  • Impacts
    • Economic
      • Cost of removal
      • Cost of restoration
    • Biodiversity
      • Alteration of organisms in soil
      • Germination, growth, and establishment of native organisms
    • Alteration of food chain / web

Note(s):

  • TxCCRS Note:
    • VI. Biology – G4 – Know the process of succession.
E.4G Predict how species extinction may alter the food chain and affect existing populations in an ecosystem.

Predict

HOW SPECIES EXTINCTION MAY ALTER THE FOOD CHAIN AND AFFECT EXISTING POPULATIONS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Impact on food chain
    • Initial impact on extinct species’ predators and prey
    • Long term impact on food chain stability
    • Magnitude of impact based on species role in an ecosystem
      • Keystone species
      • Apex predator
  • Impact on existing populations
    • Possible endangerment and / or extinction of other organisms
    • Possible population growth of other organisms
E.4H Research and explain the causes of species diversity and predict changes that may occur in an ecosystem if species and genetic diversity is increased or reduced.

Research, Explain

CAUSES OF SPECIES DIVERSITY

Including, but not limited to:

  • Climate
    • Latitudinal gradients
    • Altitudinal gradients
  • Food availability
    • Productivity
  • Disturbances (e.g., glaciation)
  • Biological interactions
    • Predation
    • Competition
    • Mutualism
    • Parasitism
    • Disease

Predict

CHANGES THAT MAY OCCUR IN AN ECOSYSTEM IF SPECIES AND GENETIC DIVERSITY IS INCREASED OR REDUCED

Including, but not limited to:

  • Increases in species and genetic diversity
    • Possible changes that may occur:
      • Evolution through natural selection
      • Ecosystem stability
      • Carrying capacity
  • Decreases in species and genetic diversity
    • Possible changes that may occur:
      • Evolution through natural selection
      • Ecosystem stability
      • Carrying capacity
The English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS), as required by 19 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 74, Subchapter A, §74.4, outline English language proficiency level descriptors and student expectations for English language learners (ELLs). School districts are required to implement ELPS as an integral part of each subject in the required curriculum.

School districts shall provide instruction in the knowledge and skills of the foundation and enrichment curriculum in a manner that is linguistically accommodated commensurate with the student’s levels of English language proficiency to ensure that the student learns the knowledge and skills in the required curriculum.


School districts shall provide content-based instruction including the cross-curricular second language acquisition essential knowledge and skills in subsection (c) of the ELPS in a manner that is linguistically accommodated to help the student acquire English language proficiency.

http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter074/ch074a.html#74.4 


Choose appropriate ELPS to support instruction.

ELPS# Subsection C: Cross-curricular second language acquisition essential knowledge and skills.
Click here to collapse or expand this section.
ELPS.c.1 The ELL uses language learning strategies to develop an awareness of his or her own learning processes in all content areas. In order for the ELL to meet grade-level learning expectations across the foundation and enrichment curriculum, all instruction delivered in English must be linguistically accommodated (communicated, sequenced, and scaffolded) commensurate with the student's level of English language proficiency. The student is expected to:
ELPS.c.1A use prior knowledge and experiences to understand meanings in English
ELPS.c.1B monitor oral and written language production and employ self-corrective techniques or other resources
ELPS.c.1C use strategic learning techniques such as concept mapping, drawing, memorizing, comparing, contrasting, and reviewing to acquire basic and grade-level vocabulary
ELPS.c.1D speak using learning strategies such as requesting assistance, employing non-verbal cues, and using synonyms and circumlocution (conveying ideas by defining or describing when exact English words are not known)
ELPS.c.1E internalize new basic and academic language by using and reusing it in meaningful ways in speaking and writing activities that build concept and language attainment
ELPS.c.1F use accessible language and learn new and essential language in the process
ELPS.c.1G demonstrate an increasing ability to distinguish between formal and informal English and an increasing knowledge of when to use each one commensurate with grade-level learning expectations
ELPS.c.1H develop and expand repertoire of learning strategies such as reasoning inductively or deductively, looking for patterns in language, and analyzing sayings and expressions commensurate with grade-level learning expectations.
ELPS.c.2 The ELL listens to a variety of speakers including teachers, peers, and electronic media to gain an increasing level of comprehension of newly acquired language in all content areas. ELLs may be at the beginning, intermediate, advanced, or advanced high stage of English language acquisition in listening. In order for the ELL to meet grade-level learning expectations across the foundation and enrichment curriculum, all instruction delivered in English must be linguistically accommodated (communicated, sequenced, and scaffolded) commensurate with the student's level of English language proficiency. The student is expected to:
ELPS.c.2A distinguish sounds and intonation patterns of English with increasing ease
ELPS.c.2B recognize elements of the English sound system in newly acquired vocabulary such as long and short vowels, silent letters, and consonant clusters
ELPS.c.2C learn new language structures, expressions, and basic and academic vocabulary heard during classroom instruction and interactions
ELPS.c.2D monitor understanding of spoken language during classroom instruction and interactions and seek clarification as needed
ELPS.c.2E use visual, contextual, and linguistic support to enhance and confirm understanding of increasingly complex and elaborated spoken language
ELPS.c.2F listen to and derive meaning from a variety of media such as audio tape, video, DVD, and CD ROM to build and reinforce concept and language attainment
ELPS.c.2G understand the general meaning, main points, and important details of spoken language ranging from situations in which topics, language, and contexts are familiar to unfamiliar
ELPS.c.2H understand implicit ideas and information in increasingly complex spoken language commensurate with grade-level learning expectations
ELPS.c.2I demonstrate listening comprehension of increasingly complex spoken English by following directions, retelling or summarizing spoken messages, responding to questions and requests, collaborating with peers, and taking notes commensurate with content and grade-level needs.
ELPS.c.3 The ELL speaks in a variety of modes for a variety of purposes with an awareness of different language registers (formal/informal) using vocabulary with increasing fluency and accuracy in language arts and all content areas. ELLs may be at the beginning, intermediate, advanced, or advanced high stage of English language acquisition in speaking. In order for the ELL to meet grade-level learning expectations across the foundation and enrichment curriculum, all instruction delivered in English must be linguistically accommodated (communicated, sequenced, and scaffolded) commensurate with the student's level of English language proficiency. The student is expected to:
ELPS.c.3A practice producing sounds of newly acquired vocabulary such as long and short vowels, silent letters, and consonant clusters to pronounce English words in a manner that is increasingly comprehensible
ELPS.c.3B expand and internalize initial English vocabulary by learning and using high-frequency English words necessary for identifying and describing people, places, and objects, by retelling simple stories and basic information represented or supported by pictures, and by learning and using routine language needed for classroom communication
ELPS.c.3C speak using a variety of grammatical structures, sentence lengths, sentence types, and connecting words with increasing accuracy and ease as more English is acquired
ELPS.c.3D speak using grade-level content area vocabulary in context to internalize new English words and build academic language proficiency
ELPS.c.3E share information in cooperative learning interactions
ELPS.c.3F ask and give information ranging from using a very limited bank of high-frequency, high-need, concrete vocabulary, including key words and expressions needed for basic communication in academic and social contexts, to using abstract and content-based vocabulary during extended speaking assignments
ELPS.c.3G express opinions, ideas, and feelings ranging from communicating single words and short phrases to participating in extended discussions on a variety of social and grade-appropriate academic topics
ELPS.c.3H narrate, describe, and explain with increasing specificity and detail as more English is acquired
ELPS.c.3I adapt spoken language appropriately for formal and informal purposes
ELPS.c.3J respond orally to information presented in a wide variety of print, electronic, audio, and visual media to build and reinforce concept and language attainment.
ELPS.c.4 The ELL reads a variety of texts for a variety of purposes with an increasing level of comprehension in all content areas. ELLs may be at the beginning, intermediate, advanced, or advanced high stage of English language acquisition in reading. In order for the ELL to meet grade-level learning expectations across the foundation and enrichment curriculum, all instruction delivered in English must be linguistically accommodated (communicated, sequenced, and scaffolded) commensurate with the student's level of English language proficiency. For Kindergarten and Grade 1, certain of these student expectations apply to text read aloud for students not yet at the stage of decoding written text. The student is expected to:
ELPS.c.4A learn relationships between sounds and letters of the English language and decode (sound out) words using a combination of skills such as recognizing sound-letter relationships and identifying cognates, affixes, roots, and base words
ELPS.c.4B recognize directionality of English reading such as left to right and top to bottom
ELPS.c.4C develop basic sight vocabulary, derive meaning of environmental print, and comprehend English vocabulary and language structures used routinely in written classroom materials
ELPS.c.4D use prereading supports such as graphic organizers, illustrations, and pretaught topic-related vocabulary and other prereading activities to enhance comprehension of written text
ELPS.c.4E read linguistically accommodated content area material with a decreasing need for linguistic accommodations as more English is learned
ELPS.c.4F use visual and contextual support and support from peers and teachers to read grade-appropriate content area text, enhance and confirm understanding, and develop vocabulary, grasp of language structures, and background knowledge needed to comprehend increasingly challenging language
ELPS.c.4G demonstrate comprehension of increasingly complex English by participating in shared reading, retelling or summarizing material, responding to questions, and taking notes commensurate with content area and grade level needs
ELPS.c.4H read silently with increasing ease and comprehension for longer periods
ELPS.c.4I demonstrate English comprehension and expand reading skills by employing basic reading skills such as demonstrating understanding of supporting ideas and details in text and graphic sources, summarizing text, and distinguishing main ideas from details commensurate with content area needs
ELPS.c.4J demonstrate English comprehension and expand reading skills by employing inferential skills such as predicting, making connections between ideas, drawing inferences and conclusions from text and graphic sources, and finding supporting text evidence commensurate with content area needs
ELPS.c.4K demonstrate English comprehension and expand reading skills by employing analytical skills such as evaluating written information and performing critical analyses commensurate with content area and grade-level needs.
ELPS.c.5 The ELL writes in a variety of forms with increasing accuracy to effectively address a specific purpose and audience in all content areas. ELLs may be at the beginning, intermediate, advanced, or advanced high stage of English language acquisition in writing. In order for the ELL to meet grade-level learning expectations across foundation and enrichment curriculum, all instruction delivered in English must be linguistically accommodated (communicated, sequenced, and scaffolded) commensurate with the student's level of English language proficiency. For Kindergarten and Grade 1, certain of these student expectations do not apply until the student has reached the stage of generating original written text using a standard writing system. The student is expected to:
ELPS.c.5A learn relationships between sounds and letters of the English language to represent sounds when writing in English
ELPS.c.5B write using newly acquired basic vocabulary and content-based grade-level vocabulary
ELPS.c.5C spell familiar English words with increasing accuracy, and employ English spelling patterns and rules with increasing accuracy as more English is acquired
ELPS.c.5D edit writing for standard grammar and usage, including subject-verb agreement, pronoun agreement, and appropriate verb tenses commensurate with grade-level expectations as more English is acquired
ELPS.c.5E employ increasingly complex grammatical structures in content area writing commensurate with grade-level expectations, such as:
ELPS.c.5F write using a variety of grade-appropriate sentence lengths, patterns, and connecting words to combine phrases, clauses, and sentences in increasingly accurate ways as more English is acquired
ELPS.c.5G narrate, describe, and explain with increasing specificity and detail to fulfill content area writing needs as more English is acquired.
Last Updated 04/27/2020
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