Academic standards list

Geology — Science (2009-2018)


Academic standards define the expectations for knowledge and skills that students are to learn in a subject by a certain age or at the end of a school grade level. This page contains a list of standards for a specific content area, grade level, and/or course. The list of standards may be structured using categories and sub-categories.

Embedded Inquiry

Standard INQ — Embedded Inquiry
Science is a relentless quest for understanding how the natural world works. All of science is driven by the premise that the world is capable of being understood. Yet, scientists believe that currently accepted explanations of natural phenomena or events are never perfect or fully complete and are always amenable to revision in light of new scientific evidence. Each scientific discipline uses its distinctive tools and techniques to investigate phenomena associated with the physical, geological, or living worlds. All rely upon theories from which the development of hypotheses emerge, the collection of data, and the interpretation of evidence as the foundation for reaching logical conclusions and making reasoned predictions.Conceptual StrandUnderstandings about scientific inquiry and the ability to conduct inquiry are essential for living in the 21st century.Guiding QuestionWhat tools, skills, knowledge, and dispositions are needed to conduct scientific inquiry?
Course Level Expectation
Recognize that science is a progressive endeavor that reevaluates and extends what is already accepted.
Design and conduct scientific investigations to explore new phenomena, verify previous results, test how well a theory predicts, and compare opposing theories.
Use appropriate tools and technology to collect precise and accurate data.
Apply qualitative and quantitative measures to analyze data and draw conclusions that are free of bias.
Compare experimental evidence and conclusions with those drawn by others about the same testable question.
Communicate and defend scientific findings.

Embedded Technology/Engineering

Standard T/E — Embedded Technology/Engineering
Scientific inquiry is fueled by the desire to understand the natural world; technological design is driven by the need to meet human needs and solve human problems. Technology exerts a more direct effect on society than science because it is focused on solving human problems, helping humans to adapt to changes, and fulfilling goals and aspirations. The engineering design cycle describes the worklives of practicing engineers. The design cycle describes a series of activities that includes a background research, problem identification, feasibility analysis, selection of design criteria, prototype development, planning and design, production and product evaluation. Because there are as many variations of this model, practicing engineers do not adhere to a rigid step-by-step interpretation of this design cycle.Conceptual StrandSociety benefits when engineers apply scientific discoveries to design materials and processes that develop into enabling technologies.Guiding QuestionHow do science concepts, engineering skills, and applications of technology improve the quality of life?
Course Level Expectation
Explore the impact of technology on social, political, and economic systems.
Differentiate among elements of the engineering design cycle: design constraints, model building, testing, evaluating, modifying, and retesting.
Explain the relationship between the properties of a material and the use of the material in the application of a technology.
Describe the dynamic interplay among science, technology, and engineering within living, earth-space, and physical systems.


Standard 1 — Maps
Conceptual StrandMaps represent earths landforms and provide tools for studying geologic processes.Guiding QuestionWhat geologic features are represented on maps and how can maps provide clues that explain geologic processes?
Course Level Expectation
Read and interpret topographic and geologic maps.
Use geologic maps to investigate rock types, time periods, and faults and folds.
Investigate technologies used to create maps.
Apply maps for planning purposes and to investigate land-use problems.

Matter and Minerals

Standard 2 — Matter and Minerals
Conceptual StrandMinerals are naturally occurring substances formed through geological processes that have characteristic physical and chemical properties.Guiding QuestionHow do minerals form and what are their unique characteristics?
Course Level Expectation
Describe how atoms serve as building blocks for all matter.
Apply the periodic table to determine the properties of an element.
Describe the geologic processes that result in mineral formation.
Distinguish between the physical and chemical properties of minerals.
Investigate the structure and geometry of crystals.

The Rock Cycle

Standard 3 — The Rock Cycle
Conceptual StrandThe rock cycle explains how different rock types are related to each other and how earth processes transform rocks from one type to another over geologic time.Guiding QuestionHow does the rock cycle explain the origin of different rock types?
Course Level Expectation
Identify and differentiate among the three rock groups.
Describe the processes responsible for forming the three rock groups.
Examine the characteristics of each rock group.
Explain the rock cycle.

Geologic History

Standard 4 — Geologic History
Conceptual StrandThe earth has changed over a long period and global change is a continuation of that evolutionary process.Guiding QuestionWhat is the scientific evidence for the evolution of earth and life on earth?
Course Level Expectation
Interpret the nature of geologic time.
Investigate the evolution of earth.
Investigate the history of life.
Interpret the fossil record for evidence of biological evolution.
Demonstrate the impact of environmental change on the origin and extinction of plant and animal species.
Investigate the long-term aspects of global change and explain how these events have influenced current global patterns.

Plate Tectonics

Standard 5 — Plate Tectonics
Conceptual StrandPlate tectonics is the grand unifying theory of geology.Guiding QuestionHow does the theory of plate tectonics connect all geologic processes and explain major geologic phenomena?
Course Level Expectation
Describe the major evidence to explain the theory of plate tectonics.
Recognize different types of plate boundaries.
Explain how convection currents provide the driving mechanism for plate movement.
Describe processes associated with volcanoes, earthquakes, and mountain building.


Standard 6 — Landforms
Conceptual StrandGeologic processes sculpt the earth into landforms characterized by differences in topography.Guiding QuestionHow do earths interacting systems produce a variety of landforms?
Course Level Expectation
Investigate the hydrosphere and how changes in the hydrosphere affect various landforms.
Associate the surface processes responsible for various landforms.
Describe the characteristics of groundwater and explain how human activities affect groundwater quality.
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