Connecticut Content Standard 7: The Earth

Students will understand the processes and forces that shape the structure and composition of the Earth.

Grades K – 4

Educational experiences in Grades K - 4 will assure that students:

  • Recognize (in Grades K-2) that rocks come in many sizes and shapes, and many have interesting textures, colors and patterns;
  • identify (in Grades K-2) preserved traces of organisms, such as footprints, shells or imprints of leaves left in soft mud, clay or plaster;
  • recognize (in Grades K-2) that the Earth has different land forms (e.g., mountains, hills, plains, rivers, beaches);
  • observe (in Grades K-2) changes that happen to many Earth materials and land forms;
  • list ways (in Grades K-2) that people use the Earth's resources (e.g., burning fuels to cook food and warm their houses, using materials for building, growing plants in soil);
  • classify rocks according to a number of attributes, such as color, texture, layering, particle size and reactions with weak acids (e.g., vinegar);
  • describe how waves, wind, water and ice shape and reshape the Earth's land surface by eroding rock and soil in some areas and depositing them in other areas;
  • describe how land forms can change as a result of geological activities such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, floods, etc;
  • explain that soil is made partly from weathered rock, partly from plant and animal remains, and also contains living organisms;
  • identify ways in which evidence of ancient life has been preserved;
  • explain how the energy in fossil fuels, such as oil, coal and gas, comes indirectly from the sun; andrecognize that some energy sources cost more and cause more pollution than others.

Grades 5 - 8

Educational experiences in Grades 5 - 8 will assure that students:

  • describe how sediments of sand and smaller particles (sometimes containing the remains oforganisms) are buried and are cemented together by dissolved minerals and compacted to form solid rock again;
  • explain how rock buried deep enough may be reformed by pressure and heat into different kinds of rocks and minerals;
  • recognize that some useful minerals are scarce and some exist in great quantities, but the ability to recover them is just as important as their abundance;
  • recognize that the movement of heat and materials within the Earth causes earthquakes and volcanic eruptions;
  • describe the formation and movement of glaciers;
  • use maps (e.g., topographic, hydrographic, highway) to identify land features and their locations;
  • recognize that some changes in the Earth's surface, such as earth-quakes and volcanic eruptions, are abrupt, while other changes happen very slowly (e.g., uplift and wearingdown of mountains); and
  • explain how human activities (such as reducing the amount of forest cover, increasing the amount and variety of chemicals released into the atmosphere, and waste disposal) have altered the Earth's land, oceans and atmosphere.

Grades 9 - 12

Educational experiences in Grades 9 - 12 will assure that students:

  • illustrate how the formation, weathering, sedimentation and reformation of rock constitute a continuing "rock cycle;"
  • explain that the lithosphere consists of separate plates that ride on a denser, hot, gradually deformable layer of the Earth that releases energy and brings new materials to the Earth's surface;
  • explain that plate tectonics is supported by geophysical, structural and paleontological evidence;
  • describe how geological time can be determined using evidence from fossils, rock sequences and radiometric dating;
  • interpret geological features within the community and state (e.g., road cuts, rivers, shorelines);
  • explain interactions between the Earth's lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and bio-sphere; and analyze the costs, benefits, alternatives and consequences of natural re-source exploration, development and consumption.


The following GEMS Guides address this Standard:

On Sandy Shores Grades 2-4

Stories in Stone Grades 4-8

Acid Rain
Grades 6-8

River Cutters

Grades 6-8

Plate Tectonics Grades 6–8

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