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STC-Middle School™, STC3 Edition: Earth's Dynamic Systems 1-Class Unit Kit

Item # 513501 Exclusive This product is exclusive to Carolina Biological Supply.

Grades 6–8. How did that aquatic fossil end up on top of a mountain? In this unit's 12 lessons, students learn about gradual processes (erosion, deposition, plate motion, and fossilization) and catastrophic events (earthquakes, volcanoes) and how they contribute to changes on the earth's surface. Students track the transfer of energy, build models, and investigate mineral resources. Students conclude the unit with research on preparedness for catastrophic events. For a class of 32 students.



This item will ship on or about 9/1/21

Grades 6–8. Unit Driving Question: How do the dynamic systems of Earth change its surface?
Unit Highlights—How did that aquatic fossil end up on the top of that mountain? In this unit's 12 lessons, students learn about gradual processes (erosion, deposition, plate motion, and fossilization) and catastrophic events (earthquakes, volcanoes) and how they contribute to changes on the earth's surface. Students track the transfer of energy, build models, and investigate mineral resources. Students conclude the unit with research on preparedness for catastrophic events. Are we ready for "The Big One"?

Earth's Dynamic Systems addresses the performance expectations, and attendant science and engineering practices and crosscutting concepts, deemed appropriate for grades 6 through 8 by the Next Generation Science Standards® (NGSS). It helps students develop a better understanding of geologic systems, how those systems change over time, and how engineering, technology, and applications of science are connected to each other and to students' daily lives.

Each lesson in this unit builds on the skills and concepts presented in previous lessons. As students progress through the unit, they take increasing responsibility for their own learning. Eventually, students plan and conduct their own procedures and analyze the results they obtain. Therefore, the unit should be taught in its entirety; it should not be used as a sourcebook of occasional experiments.

To structure and scaffold the development of students' knowledge, skills, and cognitive reasoning, this unit includes three primary lesson types: pre-assessment, skills and knowledge building, and assessment. The pre-assessment lesson allows educators to assess students' preconceptions, misconceptions, and skills. Skills and knowledge building lessons provide multiple opportunities for students to grow and learn through formative assessment. The assessment lesson includes both performance and written assessment activities that function together as a summative assessment of student learning.

This 1-Class Unit Kit comes with a Teacher Edition, teacher access to Carolinascienceonline.com, 16 reusable hardbound Student Guides (item #513503), student eBook access, and the materials needed for a teacher to teach up to 32 students per day.

Next Generation Science Standards®
Performance Expectations

  • MS-LS4-1. Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past.
  • MS-ESS1-4. Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence from rock strata for how the geologic time scale is used to organize Earth's 4.6-billion-year-old history.
  • MS-ESS2-1. Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth's materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.
  • MS-ESS2-2. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth's surface at varying time and spatial scales.
  • MS-ESS2-3. Analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to provide evidence of the past plate motions.
  • MS-ESS3-1. Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how the uneven distributions of Earth's mineral, energy, and groundwater resources are the result of past and current geoscience processes.
  • MS-ESS3-2. Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.
  • ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
  • ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
  • ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
  • ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

  • ESS1.C: The history of planet Earth
  • ESS2.A: Earth's materials and systems
  • ESS2.B: Plate tectonics and large scale system interactions
  • ESS2.C: The roles of water in Earth's surface processes
  • SS3.A: Natural resources
  • ESS3.B: Natural hazards
  • LS4.A: Evidence of common ancestry and diversity
  • ETS1.A: Defining and delimiting engineering problems
  • ETS1.B: Developing possible solutions
  • ETS1.C: Optimizing the design solution

Science and Engineering Practices

  • Asking questions and defining problems
  • Developing and using models
  • Planning and carrying out investigations
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Constructing explanations and designing solutions
  • Engaging in argument from evidence
  • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Crosscutting Concepts

  • Patterns
  • Cause and effect
  • Scale, proportion, and quantity
  • Structure and function
  • Stability and change

Common Core
English Language Arts

  • RI.6.1
  • RI.6-8.4
  • RST.6-8.1
  • RST.6-8.2
  • RST.6-8.3
  • RST.6-8.4
  • RST.6-8.5
  • RST.6-8.6
  • RST.6-8.7
  • RST.6-8.8
  • RST.6-8.9
  • RST.6-8.10
  • SL.6.1
  • SL.6.1.A
  • SL.6-8.1
  • SL.6-8.5
  • SL.7.1
  • SL.7.2
  • SL.7.4
  • SL.7.5
  • SL.8.1
  • SL.8.5
  • WHST.6-8.1
  • WHST.6-8.1.B
  • WHST.6-8.2
  • WHST.6-8.6
  • WHST.6-8.7
  • WHST.6-8.8
  • WHST.6-8.9
  • WHST.6-12.9


  • MP2
  • MP4
  • MP5
  • MP6
  • 6.RPA.3
  • 6-8.EE
  • 6.EE.C.9
  • 6.SP.B.4
  • 6.SP.B.5.C
  • 7.EE.B.3
  • 7.RPA.3
  • 7.SP.C.5

Lesson Summaries
Lesson 1: Pre-Assessment

Focus Question: What do you know about geologic processes?
Students are introduced to two geologic events, the eruption of Krakatau in 1883 and the discovery of the Burgess Shale in 1909, through primary source documents and images. They consider these events, predict the way they may have occurred, and develop questions to explore about these events during the unit.
Lesson 2: When the Earth Shakes
Focus Question: Why are some structures damaged when Earth shakes?
Students observe videos of earthquakes and are introduced to shake tables as a way to model earthquakes. They design and conduct an experiment to investigate the effect of design variables on the way model buildings respond to shaking. Students use experimental data to describe conditions for areas with the greatest and least risk for future earthquake damage. Students then use iterative testing and modification to design a model of an earthquake-resistant house.
Lesson 3: Analyzing Earthquake Data
Focus Question: How can we collect data about earthquakes?
Students explore how data pertaining to earthquakes can be collected and analyzed. They explore wave motion, use model seismographs to collect simulated earthquake data, analyze seismogram readings, and use earthquake data to locate the epicenter of a quake. Through these investigations, students come to understand how earthquake data can show patterns that help in the prediction of future quakes.
Lesson 4: Investigating Plate Movement
Focus Question: How do changes in the lithosphere affect Earth's surface?
Students plot earthquake data to investigate patterns caused by earthquakes. They also examine the structure of Earth's interior to gain an understanding of the dynamic nature of Earth. Using models, students also simulate the movement of tectonic plates and examine the cause and effect of plate movements along faults.
Lesson 5: Cycling Matter and Energy
Focus Question: How do heat and pressure impact geologic features?
Students model the rock cycle and investigate the role of heat and pressure in cycling matter and energy. They also examine rock samples and use observational data to engage in an argument from evidence about the formation of each sample.
Lesson 6: Volcanoes: Building Up
Focus Question: How are volcanoes formed?
Students gain an understanding of how volcanoes are formed by modeling the movement of magma through Earth's surface. They then examine information pertaining to different types of volcanoes and gain an understanding of the relationship between earthquakes and volcanoes.
Lesson 7: Volcanoes: Eruption
Focus Question: How do volcanoes change Earth's surface?
Students conduct investigations to gain an understanding of how volcanoes contribute to the modification and creation of landforms. Students then revisit the Krakatau event and construct an explanation for the phenomenon, which involves changes at Earth's surface. Students make predictions for how surface features will continue to change in the future as geoscience processes continue to occur.
Lesson 8: Changing Earth's Surface
Focus Question: How have geoscience processes changed Earth's surface?
Students model several different geoscience processes to gain an understanding of their effect on Earth's surface. They research a real-world example of a process they modeled and present their findings. Students then revisit the Burgess Shale event and construct an explanation for rock deformation.
Lesson 9: Analyzing the Fossil Record
Focus Question: What do fossils and layers of sediment tell us about Earth's past?
Students investigate how fossils are formed and what they can tell us about the planet's history and the organisms that they represent. Through modeling and simulations, students examine the role of fossils in explaining the geologic events of the past. Students also use fossils to analyze and interpret patterns related to existence, diversity, anatomical structures, and extinction of organisms.
Lesson 10: Distribution of Resources on Earth
Focus Question: How do geoscience processes impact the distribution of resources on Earth?
Students map the locations of a specific mineral resource to reveal its uneven distribution and construct a scientific explanation. They use a model to simulate drilling for a natural resource and calculate the cost of the simulated exploration. Students also conduct research related to the mineral, energy, and groundwater resources of Earth and present their findings to the class.
Lesson 11: Evidence of a Dynamic Earth
Focus Question: What evidence suggests that Earth is a dynamic geological system?
Students again revisit Burgess Shale fossils and construct an explanation for an aquatic fossil being found well above sea level. Students will describe an appropriate timescale for the time since the fossil was underwater and the rate of elevation increase. Students will also analyze and interpret data related to the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental landforms, and features on the seafloor as evidence for plate motion in Earth's past.
Lesson 12: Assessment: Earth's Dynamic Systems
Focus Question: How can we use knowledge of Earth's dynamic systems to understand the past and prepare for the future?
The unit concludes with a two-part assessment. The first part is a Performance Assessment, in which students, acting as scientists, prepare and present proposals for mitigating the effects of future geodynamic events. Students also evaluate proposals from other groups and make recommendations for which proposals should receive funds. In the second part, students complete a Written Assessment that covers the performance expectations, disciplinary core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and science and engineering practices addressed in this unit.

*Next Generation Science Standards® is a registered trademark of WestEd. Neither WestEd nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of this product, and do not endorse it.

  • WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD - Small Parts. Not for children under 3 yrs. Children under 8 yrs. can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Adult supervision required. Keep uninflated balloons from children. Discard broken balloons at once.
  • This item is only available from Carolina Biological Supply Company.

Product Families Featuring This Item:

Components Qty Included?
Earth’s Dynamic Systems Student Guide 16 Included
Earth’s Dynamic Systems Teacher Edition 1 Included
Unit Technology Pack (includes digital access to the Teacher Edition and digital student access to the Student Guide) 1 Included
Air Line Tubing, 25 ft 1 Included
Bag, Plastic, Resealable, 2 x 3” 32 Included
Balloon, Round, 9” /!\ WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD (2). Not for children under 8 yrs. 8 Included
Bottle, Dropper, 10 mL 8 Included
Bottle, Square Glass, 8 oz, with Lid 1 Included
Bowl, Plastic, Square, 50 mL 8 Included
Bowl, Water, Plastic 20 Included
Box, Cardboard, No. 742 8 Included
Brush, Paint, #2 16 Included
Bucket, White, 3-1/2 gal 4 Included
Candle, Tea 2 Included
Card Set, Fossil Record 8 Included
Card Set, Krakatau 8 Included
Carolina™ Writable Inflatable Globe, 12” 8 Included
Centimeter Cube, Plastic /!\ WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD (1). Not for children under 3 yrs. 48 Included
Clay, Red, 8-lb Bucket 1 Included
Coffee Stirrer, Wood 250 Included
Container, Plastic, 16 oz, with Lid 16 Included
Container, Plastic, 240 mL (8 oz), 3/4” Hole in Bottom, with Lid 20 Included
Container, Plastic, 240 mL (8 oz), No Hole in Bottom, with Lid 20 Included
Continent Stencil 1 Included
Convection Fluid, Carolina™, 32-oz Bottle 1 Included
Corn Syrup, Dark, 16-oz Bottle 2 Included
Corn, Field, 1/2 lb 1 Included
Cornmeal, 2 lb 1 Included
Cornstarch, 1-lb Box 1 Included
Crayon, Assorted Colors 16 Included
Cube, Wood, 2” sq 2 Included
Cup, 1-1/4 oz, with Lid 45 Included
Cup, Plastic, 10 oz 50 Included
Cup, Plastic, 120 mL (4-1/2 oz), with Lid 150 Included
Cup, Styrofoam®, 8 oz 25 Included
Dawn® Dish Liquid 1 Included
Dough™, Crayola®, Green, 3 lb 1 Included
Dust Mask, Disposable 50 Included
Erlenmeyer Flask, 25 mL 12 Included
Fabric Square, Mesh, 6” 2 Included
Fault Laboratory Pack™ 8 Included
Foam Pad, Black 16 Included
Foam Pad, Green 16 Included
Forceps 16 Included
Fossil-Bearing Mound 16 Included
Glue, White, 128 oz 1 Included
Gravel, Aquarium, 5-lb Bag 6 Included
Hot Pot 3 Included
Humus, 1.6-L Bag 2 Included
Inflating Pump 1 Included
Introduction to Rocks Study Kit 1 Included
Lens, Dual Hand 16 Included
Model Magma™ Set 1 Included
Modeling Clay Assortment 2 (blue, yellow, red, green), 1 lb 3 Included
Moving Plates Model™ 1 Included
Pad, Absorbent, Large 2 Included
Pad, Absorbent, Small 2 Included
Paint Paddle, Wood 2 Included
Pan, Fluted, Plastic, 20 x 16 x 7 cm 8 Included
Photo Card Set, Burgess Shale 8 Included
Photo Card Set, Rock Types 9 Included
Photo Card Set, Volcano 8 Included
Plaster Patch, 4 lb 1 Included
Powder, Cocoa, 8 oz 1 Included
Pumice, Floating 8 Included
Rubber Band, No. 32 32 Included
Salt, Kosher, 3-lb Box 1 Included
Sand, Black, 1 lb 6 Included
Sand, Red, 1 lb 6 Included
Sea Shell, Assortment 1 Included
Seismogram, Sample 8 Included
Seismograph 2 Included
Shake Table Component Set 2 Included
Spoon, Measuring, 5 mL (1 tsp) 16 Included
Spreader, Plastic, 4” 2 Included
Spring, Metal, Large (Giant Slinky®) 8 Included
Stake (skewer), Wood 34 Included
Stick, Excavating, Plastic, 10 cm 16 Included
Straw, Flexible, Drinking 40 Included
Tape, Carpet, Double-Sided, Roll 1 Included
Teeth, Fossil Shark, about 1 oz 1 Included
Tongue Depressor 16 Included
Transparency Film 30 Included
Transparency Set, Earth’s Dynamic Systems 1 Included
Tray, Foam 7-1/2 x 9-1/2” 20 Included
Tube, Clear Plastic, Round, 3-1/2” diam x 48” L 1 Included
Tuff 8 Included
Twine, Cotton, Roll 1 Included
Ultra-Velcro®, Hook Strip 1 Included
Ultra-Velcro®, Loop, 2 x 12” 1 Included
Volcanic Breccia 8 Included
Wax Bead, Black 355-mL (12-oz) Bag 8 Included
Weighing Dish, Aluminum 25 Included