Ohio Model Curriculum –Physical Geology

Alignment with Primary Headwater Habitat Protocol

1)  Overall Goals

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

-Stream morphology (substrate, pool depth and bankfull width) all relate to the creation of habitat for living organisms.  High scores correlate with better habitat improving biodiversity

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

-The HHEI metric scores predict the suitability of the habitat for aquatic life.

-Absence of living creatures when HHEI metrics indicate they should be present is a sign of environmental degradation.  Predictions are based on evidence.

• Understand the nature and development of scientific knowledge;

-PHWH protocol is based on empirical evidence from thousands of streams that allow predictions about other streams to be made.  New evidence may change the protocols or their interpretations

• Participate productively in scientific practices and discourse.

- Students learn about common scientific protocols, metrics and how they are used to compare results gathered by anyone using the protocol.

- Students see how to interpret their results in light of the results gathered by others using the same protcols increasing discourse among scientists

2) Specific Curricular Goals

Science Inquiry and Application

• Identify questions and concepts that guide scientific investigations;

-Students determine the quality of primary headwater streams to support life using three metrics based on physical measurements.  They then collect biological evidence and determine if the quality of the stream determined using biological data supports the quality of the stream determined using physical data.   They identify questions and concepts that link biological findings to the physical environment, i.e. what kind of organisms are found in what kind of physical environments.

• Design and conduct scientific investigations;

- Students Observe Streams, Hypothesize what kind of organisms will be found based on habitat, Predict what kinds of organisms will be found, Follow a standardized protocol to gather data using replicates and different variables, Analyze results using data aligned to standardized protocol outcomes and then support or reject their hypoheses.

• Use technology and mathematics to improve investigations and communications;

- Data can be entered electronically using an App that reports results to a central database.  GPS coordinates are used to identify field site.

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

- Results are compared with other streams and other sites where the biological data do not support the physical data, and students have to hypothesize why.

- Results are used to determine the best place to sight future development and to conserve habitat.

• Recognize and analyze explanations and models; and

-Students relate habitat to the biology of organisms determining why specific habitats support organisms that are more sensitive to changes in high quality environments

• Communicate and support a scientific argument.

- Students use their own data to determine best uses for streams based on data.

Course Content

  • Minerals
  • Atoms and elements
- This correlates to next generation code HS-PS1-1
  • Chemical bonding (ionic, covalent, metallic)
- This correlates to next generation code HS-PS1-4
  • Crystallinity (crystal structure)
  • Criteria of a mineral (crystalline solid, occurs in nature, inorganic, defined chemical composition)
  • Properties of minerals (hardness, luster, cleavage, streak, crystal shape. fluorescence, flammability, density/specific gravity, malleability)
- This correlates to next generation code HS-ESS2-1
  • Igneous, Metamorphic and Sedimentary Rocks
  • 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)

    • This correlates to next generation code HS-ESS2-3

  • Metamorphic

    • Pressure, stress, temperature and compressional forces

    • This correlates to next generation code HS-ESS2-3

    • 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

  • This correlates to next generation code 2-ESS2-3 and HS-ESS2-5

  • 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


i. After analyzing substrate percentages on the PHWH form, students could determine what kinds of rocks are most predominately there.

  • Earth’s History
  • The geologic rock record
  • Relative and absolute age
  • Principles to determine relative age
  • Original horizontality
  • Superposition
  • Cross-cutting relationships

i. Students will be able to look at rock formations located near the stream and could  analyze the age of the stream using the rock wall as a reference.

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

    • This correlates to next generation code HS-ESS1-6

  • Climate changes evident through the rock record

i. Students will be able to collect samples from the streams identify their composition and classify them

ii. Students will then be able to determine the stream’s health and turbidity

  • This correlates to next generation code HS-ESS1-5

  • Fossil record


Plate Tectonics

Internal Earth

   Seismic waves

  • S and P waves

  • Velocities, reflection, refraction of waves

  • This correlates to next generation code HS-ESS2-1 and HS-ESS2-3


   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)

  • This correlates to next generation code 2-ESS2-2 and HS-ESS2-3


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

  • This correlates to next generation code HS-ESS1-5


Earth’s Resources


Energy resources

  • Renewable and nonrenewable energy sources and efficiency

  • Alternate energy sources and efficiency

  • Resource availability

  • Mining and resource extraction

  • This correlates to next generation code HS-ESS3-2 and HS-ESS3-3


Air and Air pollution

  • Primary and secondary contaminants

  • Greenhouse gases

  • Clean Air Act

  • Point source and nonpoint source contamination

  • This correlates to next generation code HS-ESS2-6 and HS-ESS2-2


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

  • This correlates to next generation code HS-ESS2-5

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