Starting from the farthest reaches of space and time, and journeying toward Earth, students will investigate Earth and space science, develop a deep appreciation of Earth as a system, and then consider human impact on this system.
The course is organized into three week, theme-based modules that explore Earth’s place in the universe and solar system, examine the five spheres of the Earth (atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere), and consider the impact of human activity on Earth.
Students engage in a series of inquiry-based and investigative activities designed to have them become participants in Earth science instead of passive observers. As they learn Earth science, they incorporate the same methods that scientists employ in their work, and use the same technology tools scientists use to “do science”.
Through the use of science datasets, visualizations, animations, interactives, and modeling activities, students study important science concepts from multiple perspectives and contexts. In many modules, students can join citizen science projects and add data to ongoing science research efforts, giving them the opportunity to both experience the science process first hand, and to apply NGSS Science and Engineering Principles in an authentic research project.
In place of a textbook, this course incorporates a variety of multimedia resources. Students will perform hands-on and virtual investigations to develop a deeper understanding of earth science, incorporating the same online data sets and rich technology tools that scientists use, including Google Earth, ImageJ and GIS (Geographic Information System).
Students will engage in collaborative activities to generate and evaluate class data, and discuss observations, trends and questions. In each module, students complete a “Challenge,” a summative performance assessment project where they have the opportunity to demonstrate how to apply the knowledge they have acquired in a variety of ways.
- This course has a lab kit fee. Please see 'Additional Requirements' for details.
- Upon enrollment students are required to print, read and have a parent or guardian sign the Lab Materials Use Agreement.
This course is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards, with an emphasis on core disciplinary ideas, cross cutting concepts and science practices.
Students will develop a deep understanding of Earth Science as they:
- Recognize that Earth is part of the all-encompassing system of the universe
- Understand that Earth operates as a set of complex, dynamic and interconnected systems
- Investigate the composition and formation of Earth systems
- Explain how internal and external sources of energy drive Earth systems
- Explain how life on Earth responds to and shapes Earth systems
Throughout their study of Earth Science, students will:
- Ask questions and define problems
- Plan and carry out investigations
- Analyze and interpret data
- Use mathematics and computational thinking
- Construct explanations and design solutions
- Engage in argument from evidence
- Obtain, evaluate and communicate information
Students will use Google Earth, ImageJ (requires Java), GIS (Geographic Information System) and Stellarium to collect and analyze data throughout the course.
Students will also need a digital camera to document hands on work throughout the course.
There is a lab kit for this course that must be purchased for an additional fee of $150. Students will need to care for kit contents responsibly, plan accordingly, follow directions carefully and work independently to successfully complete these labs. The lab kit price of $150 is for courses running on a standard VHS schedule. International schools will be responsible for the shipping cost for the lab kit.
Please note that this course contains an end-of-course proctored exam. Instructions for students to identify an appropriate adult proctor are included in the course lessons.
Science - Earth and Space Science
9, 10, 11, 12, 13
Media Kit Shipped:
Media Kit Purchased:
MA NCES Code:
AdvancED, Certified by NCAA for initial-eligibility (VHS School Code: 221356), Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools