Ohio Model Curriculum – Physical Geology

Alignment with ETA Protocol


1)  Overall Goals


• Know, use and interpret scientific explanations of the natural world;

-Hydrology, habitat alteration and development, and plant communities all relate to the creation of habitat for living organisms.

-Students can relate the role of gardens to the environment and natural world

• Generate and evaluate scientific evidence and explanations, distinguishing science from pseudoscience

-Students will be able to gather various plant data from the gardens, and will be able to explain and analyze the data collected

• Understand the nature and development of scientific knowledge;

-The gardens  allows the students to understand that scientific knowledge is constantly changing and improving.

-Students will be able to learn new ways to better improve gardens

• Participate productively in scientific practices and discourse.

-Students could create experiments related to the gardens

-They can collect data/ observations which is very important in science practices

2) Specific Curricular Goals

Science Inquiry and Application

• Identify questions and concepts that guide scientific investigations;

-Students determine the quality of the garden  in its environment  based on observations and specific plants located. They identify questions and concepts that link biological findings to the physical environment, i.e. Is this plant the right plant for this garden? What role does this garden have in the ecosystem?

• Design and conduct scientific investigations;

- Students can create gardens, and collect data on the impact it has in the environment, thus conducting experiments


• Use technology and mathematics to improve investigations and communications;

-The use of smartphones and QR codes can be used as a technological aid in identifying the plants in the various types of gardens.


• Formulate and revise explanations and models using logic and evidence (critical thinking);

- The gardens can be used a model gardens for citizens in the community

- They can also determine  future development of gardens that will be best suitable for the environment.


• Recognize and analyze explanations and models; and

-Students relate habitat to the biology of plants located in specific gardens. They can determine why specific habitats support specific plants and what roles these plants have.


• Communicate and support a scientific argument.

- Students use their own data to determine the quality of the garden create and argue why the garden is beneficial or not.

Course Content

  • Igneous

    • Mafic and felsic rocks and minerals

    • Intrusive (igneous structures: dikes, sills, batholiths, pegmatites)

    • Earth’s interior (inner core, outer core, lower mantle, upper mantle, Mohorovicic discontinuity, crust)

    • Magnetic reversals and Earth’s magnetic field

    • Thermal energy within the Earth

    • Extrusive (volcanic activity, volcanoes: cinder cones, composite, shield)

    • Bowen’s Reaction Series (continuous and discontinuous branches)

  • Metamorphic

    • Pressure, stress, temperature and compressional forces

  • Foliated (regional), non-foliated (contact)

  • Parent rock and degrees of metamorphism

  • Metamorphic zones (where metamorphic rocks are found)

  • Sedimentary

    • The ocean

  • Tides (daily, neap and spring)

  • Currents (deep and shallow, rip and longshore)

  • Thermal energy and water density

  • Waves

  • Ocean features (ridges, trenches, island systems, abyssal zone, shelves, slopes, reefs, island arcs)

  • Passive and active continental margins

  • Division of sedimentary rocks and minerals (chemical, clastic/physical, organic)

  • Depositional environments

  • Streams (channels, streambeds, floodplains, cross-bedding, alluvial fans, deltas)

  • Transgressing and regressing sea levels

Earth’s History


The geologic rock record


Relative and absolute age


Principles to determine relative age

  • Original horizontality

  • Superposition

  • Cross-cutting relationships

Absolute age

  • Radiometric dating (isotopes, radioactive decay)

  • Correct uses of radiometric dating


Combining relative and absolute age data


The geologic time scale

  • Comprehending geologic time

    • Climate changes evident through the rock record

  • Fossil record


Plate Tectonics


Internal Earth

Seismic waves

  • S and P waves

  • Velocities, reflection, refraction of waves

Structure of Earth (Note: specific layers were part of grade 8)

  • Asthenosphere

  • Lithosphere

  • Mohorovicic boundary (Moho)

  • Composition of each of the layers of Earth

  • Gravity, magnetism and isostasy

  • Thermal energy (geothermal gradient and heat flow)

Historical review (Note: this would include a review of continental drift and sea-floor spreading found in grade 8)

  • Paleomagnetism and magnetic anomalies

  • Paleoclimatology


Plate motion (Note: introduced in grade 8)

  • Causes and evidence of plate motion

  • Measuring plate motion

  • Characteristics of oceanic and continental plates

  • Relationship of plate movement and geologic events and features

  • Mantle plumes


Earth’s Resources


Energy resources

  • Renewable and nonrenewable energy sources and efficiency

  • Alternate energy sources and efficiency

  • Resource availability

  • Mining and resource extraction

  • Rain gardens use in saving water could be an ideal example for resource availability


Air and Air pollution

a. Primary and secondary contaminants

b. Greenhouse gases

c. Clean Air Act

d. Point source and nonpoint source contamination


Glacial Geology

Glaciers and glaciation

  • Evidence of past glaciers (including features formed through erosion or deposition)

  • Glacial deposition and erosion (including features formed through erosion or deposition)

  • Data from ice cores

  • Historical changes (glacial ages, amounts, locations, particulate matter, correlation to fossil evidence)

  • Evidence of climate changes throughout Earth’s history

  • Glacial distribution and causes of glaciation

  • Types of glaciers – continental (ice sheets, ice caps), alpine/valley (piedmont, valley,

cirque, ice caps)

  • Glacial structure, formation and movement

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