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Archive for Class Work

Earths Atmosphere



In the darkest regions of deep space, the temperature is a chilly -450° Fahrenheit. Closer to our Sun, temperatures reach thousands of degrees Fahrenheit. What makes Earth’s climate so moderate? Separating Earth from the extreme and inhospitable climate of space is a 500-mile-thick cocoon of gases called the atmosphere.

All planets have an atmosphere, a layer of gases that surrounds them. The Sun’s atmosphere is made up of hydrogen, while Earth’s is made up primarily of nitrogen and oxygen. Carbon dioxide, ozone, and other gases are also present. These gases keep our planet warm and protect us from the direct effects of the Sun’s radiation. Without this regulation, Earth could not sustain life.

Today we will start to learn WHY the earth’s atmosphere is so important to life.  We will also discuss the major gases in the atmosphere and learn why each of them is so important.

From here we will then do an online activity called AstroVenture!


And when you have finished the AstroVenture Assignment,

enjoy this music video!

under: Class Work

The past few days have seen us focusing on the characteristics of the Inner Rocky Planets and the Outer Gas Giant Planets.  We saw that all the planets have certain characteristics, but that the two main groups differ in several key factors.  The Venn Diagram compares and contrasts these two classes of planets.

The Inner and Outer Planets

Using this comparison, you will have the basics to start the Planet Creation project.  The project outline can be found under the Project Resources links to the right.  You will also find a copy of the TrackStar Packet and the link to the TrackStar website.

InterStellar Exo-Planet Creation Project

You are a brilliant scientist and engineer that works for the IAU (International Astronomical Union – the same people that declared that Pluto was no longer a planet). You have developed an incredible machine that can actually create a planet!  You have been commissioned by the IAU to design two new planets, one Inner Terrestrial Planet, and one Outer Gaseous Planet.

Project is due Tuesday April 8

under: Class Work

Planets of the Solar System

Check out this link to compare the planets


We have begun our study of the planets in our Solar System.  Earth is one of the eight planets in our solar system as defined by the International Astronomical Union.  In your studies you will learn the current definition of the word planet, and why Pluto is no longer considered a planet, but now rather, a dwarf planet.  Below is a basic outline of what we are studying.  For this unit we will be focusing on the TrackStar web-based activities and the Planet Creation Project.  Links to these sites are under PROJECT RESOURCES on the right aside of this web page.

Outline for The Solar System

  • Planets orbit the Sun at different distances.

Planets have different sizes and distances.

Distances – How far from the sun, and its effects on temperatures

Orbits – periods of revolution

  • The solar system formed from a swirling cloud of gas and dust.


  • The inner solar system has rocky planets.

The terrestrial planets have rocky crusts.

1. Processes and Surface Features

2. Atmospheres

Craters cover the surface of Mercury.

Volcanoes shape the surface of Venus.

Erosion changes the appearance of Mars.

1. Surface of Mars

2. Gases and Water on Mars

  • The outer solar system has four giant planets.

The gas giants have very deep atmospheres.

Jupiter is a world of storms and clouds.

Saturn has large rings.

Uranus and Neptune are extremely cold.

Birth of the Solar System

 (A National Geographic Video)


If Earth had Rings

under: Class Work


Check out this link for amazing photos!


>Check out this short video on the structure of the sun and its energy source!





There Goes the Sun!

A shining and ‘well functioning’ Sun is critical for our survival on Earth. The Sun was formed almost five billion years ago. At that time, a gas and dust cloud , called a NEBULA, became so condensed due to its own gravity that hydrogen atoms began to merge with each other to form helium and also release huge amounts of energy in a process known as nuclear fusion.

Fortunately, the Sun’s supply of hydrogen is so great that it will continue to shine for another five billion years. However, the intensity of the solar radiation will increase in the future and this will be fatal for life on Earth. As early as two to three billion years from now, the oceans will evaporate and it will become impossible to live on Earth.

On approximately its ten-billionth birthday – that is, in around five billion years from now – the hydrogen supply in the core of the Sun will be exhausted and the generation of energy will shift to the outer layers. As a result of this change, the Sun will expand and become a red-colored giant star that engulfs the planets closest to it – Mercury and Venus.

As a ‘ Red Giant” our Sun will lose a considerable amount of mass – by expanding sharply, the gravitational force at its surface will decrease and, unlike now, a lot of solar matter will pour into space. As its mass reduces, the planets will not be attracted to the Sun as strongly as at present and their orbits around the Sun will shift further outwards. The Earth will gradually move to where the planet Mars orbits today.


From Red Giant to White Dwarf

This does not by any means spell the end of the Sun’s dance of death. Helium will become concentrated in the center of the giant red Sun and will begin to ‘melt’ – forming heavier elements by means of nuclear fusion. This will cause the Sun to contract again as it slightly collapses inward. Near the end of the red giant stage, the helium-fusion zone will also shift to the outer layers of the Sun and the Sun will inflate again.

At this point, the fusion of helium will cease, leaving the Sun without a source of energy. Once the outward force caused by radiation pressure is absent, the solar mass will collapse inward. During this collapse, the Sun’s surface will heat up again – so much so that it will emit a significant amount of ultraviolet radiation. This will heat the matter that was previously ejected into space and cause it to glow – a ‘planetary nebula’ will be formed.

At the nebula’s center, the Sun will remain as a glowing ‘white dwarf‘ star. The White Dwarf will be about the size of Earth, but its matter will be so densely packed together that a piece the size of a sugar cube will weigh a ton. Over the course of several more billions of years, the White Dwarf will slowly cool down – becoming a ‘black dwarf‘ – and then our Sun will finally have disappeared.

source: http://www.takefreetime.com/2009/07/how-long-will-sun-continue-to-shine.html

How Long Will The Sun Continue To Shine

under: Class Work

Daylight Hours Explorer
Tonight’s assignment is to explore the following flash application available at this link here. Our goal is to analyze the graph and how the hours of daylight change over the course of year at various latitudes on Earth.

Answer the following questions on separate paper or the answer sheet in your
Chapter 2 Notes packet (page 8 or 10) .

This is to be used as background
for your WORM activity.

WORM LOGO1) Examine the daylight hours over the course of the year for the town of Bourne. Use your internet skills to to determine the latitude of Bourne and then adjust the bar to that degree latitude.

  • When is the longest day of the year?
  • The shortest?
  • What days does Bourne receive 12 hours of daylight?
  • What is the most amount of sunlight Bourne receives?
  • The least?

2) Work with the animation, think about what you are doing, and then answer the questions.

  • At what degree latitude do people begin to experience 24 hours of daylight or night time?
  • Why does this occur on our planet?
  • What happens to the amount of daylight at the North Pole and South Pole (90 degrees North and South)?  Describe why this occurs.

Adjust the latitude to at least two other latitudes.

Make sure one is in the southern hemisphere.

  • After analyzing the graphs, write a conclusion stating how the hours of daylight change as someone travels North or South of the EquatorWhat is the relationship between the following vocabulary terms and concepts?.

Be sure you use the following vocabulary words in your conclusions:







Alternate Activity:

Do two activities:

The Earth and Beyond: Day and Night

Sunrise and Sunset and Day Length


              When you complete the activities and get 4 of 4 questions correct,

print the pages that shows you did it and put your name on it!

Children's university Webpage

under: Class Work

Week of February 10 PLAY ORBIT

Posted by: | February 10, 2014 | 1 Comment |

An At-Home Assignment

Playing the Game – Orbit (Click Below)

Playing  the Game - Orbit  (Click Below)

Playing the Game – ORBIT

Play the game at home and record as much as you can about the behavior of the orange ball (the comet). Try to send the comet into orbit at different speeds to see what happens and ask how the comet interacts with different objects.

For example:

  • What happens as the ball gets closer to the objects?

  • What happens to the orange ball as the objects get bigger?

  • What happens when there is more than one object?

  • What effect, if any, does the speed of the orange ball have on its path?

  • Write a concluding statement summarizing what you learned.

  • What level did you reach?

Try to make the orange comet stay on the screen for as long as you can!

Click on the link below to get a worksheet you can use to record your observations, or simply write your own notes on a piece of paper.

Orbit Worksheet

under: Class Work

Welcome to Space Science

We are beginning our study of Space Science, also called Astronomy.  We will begin by exploring the various objects that man finds in the night sky, and try to grasp the size and distance of these objects.   The class will discuss and watch a video on the early space explorations of man.  The week will focus on the topic:

Exploring Space

Look at the objects below in the pictures. We looked at the photos and worked together to try to put them in order to answer:

How Big?

How Far?

How Old?

Try to do these yourself again!

Objects in Space - A Sorting Activity

Video from Class: The Unfolding Universe

Follow along with the worksheet in your CH 1 Notes packet.



The Known Universe by American Museum of Natural HistoryAmerican Museum of Natural History

under: Class Work

SI Logo

Weekly Online Assignments

Beginning Term 3, we will be working in Study Island on a weekly basis.  The purpose of the work is to review the material you have been learning through your Middle School years.  Each week we will take a test, at home, in one of the four major areas of science:  Life Science (6) Physical Science (7), Earth and Space Science (8) and Engineering Technology.  Your goal is to pass one test a week, earning the prized Blue Ribbon.  You may use the Study Island link to www.studyisland.com, or the App on your Smart Phones or tablets. 


Keep taking the test until you pass that individual program and earn the Study island Ribbon. You can choose the Question Format, or the Game Format. 

Have fun!



under: Class Work



Geology Unit Exam – Wednesday January 22


Study Guide in Classroom Notes Link —>

National Park Projects Due Tues January 21

 Remember for the Projects –

You Are Telling a Story, Not Just the Facts! 

Show What You Know!


Weathering and erosion shape the world that is around us. Watch and listen as Zoe and RJ from the StudyJams Crew explain the science behind weathering and erosion.

Now go to the link Weathering and Erosion to complete the handout given in class…

Weathering and Erosion

If you complete this, check out

The Rock Cycle


Processes at Earth’s surface and heat within Earth cause rocks to change into other types of rocks.
Rock Cycle Diagram II

All rock started as magma. The rock cycle started with the cooling of the earth’s magma billions of years ago.  But after that, it has no end. Rather, it is an ongoing cycle in which rock — driven by tectonic processes such as volcanoes and earthquakes, the surface processes of weathering and erosion, and compaction — is created and destroyed.

For this assignment, you will go to the following web site:

Interactives – The Rock Cycle

Interactives Rock Cycle

Directions for the Assignment:

  • Open the Interactives Rock Cycle in a different window.

This interactive web site will help you to review the types of rocks and the processes that occur within the rock cycle.  Instructions given on the web site will lead you through the different sections of material.

The tutorial will review the three rock families and provide you with a list of key characteristics that can be used to place samples within the three rock families.

In this part of the tutorial, when you click on the rock sample, you will be provided with the name of the rock as well as information on how the rock forms and where it can be found.  Make sure to add the rocks to your collection.

  • The next section, “Identify Rock Types”, will allow you to test your ability to recognize rock characteristics and types.  Note: this section is timed (six minutes…more than enough time to complete the activity).
  • When you have completed this self-test, go on to the next section, which describes How Rocks Change.  Be sure to view the animation sequences provided for each rock family!
  • At the end of this section, complete the self-test Transform the Rock to see if you can identify the processes that can change rocks from type to another.

This self-test is timed (six minutes); to complete the sequence, click and drag your answer into the appropriate box.

  • The next section describes the rock cycle and also includes a self-test Complete the Rock Cycle to see if you can name the different parts of the rock cycle.
  • The final activity at the web site is a Test Your Skills assessment to see how much you have learned.

Enter your first and last name in the space provided.  When you have completed the assessment, print out your results. Make sure that you print out the complete results.  Do not just print your score.  You must show your teacher the printout with all of the graded questions to get credit.

This will then become your Study Sheet!

Alternate Assignment:    Rocky’s Journey

Rock Cycle Alternate Assignment

You are now a well-educated geologic student of The Rock Cycle!

Fun Activity:  Rock Cycle Study Jams

Rock Cycle Study Jams Picture

under: Class Work


Mountains and Mountain Building

Chapter 3 Test

January 8

Check out these games:

Structure of a Volcano

Identify and Label the Mountains

Natural Disasters

This week we are studying the three processes of Mountain Building. Mountain building is a very slow process that can take many thousands and even millions of years. Over this time many earthquakes will occur, slowing changing the shape of the land to create a mountain in one of three ways:

  • Folding, creating Folded Mountains

  • Faulting, creating Fault-Block Mountains

  • Volcanic Activity – creating a volcano or a dome mountain

Folded mountains are caused by compression stresses and reverse faults, causing a slow uplift of earth’s crust and rocks. These usually occur along plate boundaries where two plates are converging. The process is similar to pushing a carpet lying on a floor up against a wall to form.  The Himalayas in Asia, the Alps in Europe, the Andes  in South America and the Appalachian Mountains of the US  are good examples of Folded Mountains. Interesting national parks would be the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee/North Carolina.

Folding of a Mountain

Folding of a Mountain

Fault-block mountains are created where the crust may be stretched apart by tension stresses.  Cracks in the Earth’s surface are formed by normal faults, which can result in the  formation of fault-block mountains.  If there are two parallel faults, the crustal block between them may either rise to form a fault-block mountain or fall to produce a rift valley. Examples are the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming and the Great Rift Valley in Africa.


Fault-Block Mountain Building

Volcanic Activity -These mountains form when plate activity allow magma to rise up through the earth’s crust and erupt on the surface. This can create a mountain of lava (magma outside the crust) and ash that can form very tall mountain peaks called volcanoes. The mountain peaks of the Pacific Northwest, such as in Mount Rainier National Park and in North Cascades National Park, as well as  Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska,  are examples of volcanic mountains.


Volcano Building

Sometimes the magma in the crust simply pushes an area of the crust up into a dome shape. The crust doesn’t snap and break, but rather it swells upward as a bump on the crust’s surface. This is called a Dome Mountain. Examples of these  would be  Yosemite National Park in California and the Adirondacks of New York.


Dome Building

Mountains Summary Chart

under: Class Work

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