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National Science Education Standards

Using Sally Ride EarthKAM images and materials, students can learn a lot about areas addressed in the National Science Education Standards:
The standards listed below are by no means complete. The full set of standards are described in detail at the official National Science Education Standards website.

Earth and Space Science Education

Using Sally Ride EarthKAM images and materials, students can learn about the physical features of Earth, how out planet changes over time and about Earth as a system of inter-connected components.
  • Structure of the Earth System
    • Major geological events such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and mountain building result from Lithospheric plate motions.
    • Land forms are the result of a combination of constructive and destructive forces. Constructive forces include crustal deformation, volcanic eruption and deposition of sediment, while destructive forces include weathering and erosion.
    • Water, which covers the majority of the Earth's surface, circulates through the crust, oceans and atmosphere in what is known as the \"water cycle.\" In this procress, water evaporates from the Earth's surface, rises and cools as it moves to higher elevations. From here, it then condenses as rain or snow and falls to the surface where it collects in lakes, oceans, soils and in rocks underground.
    • Water is a solvent. As it passes through the water cycle, it dissolves minerals and gases and carries them to the oceans.
    • Clouds, formed by the condensation of water vapor, affect weather and climate.
    • Global patterns of atmospheric movement influence local weather. Oceans have a major effect on climate, because water in the oceans holds a large amount of heat.
  • Earth's History
    • The Earth processes we see today, including erosion, movement of lithospheric plates and changes in atmospheric composition are similar to those that occurred in the past. Earth history is also influenced by occasional catastrophes, such as the impact of an asteroid or comet.
  • Earth in the Solar System
    • The Sun is the major source of energy for phenomena on the Earth's surface, such as growth of plants, winds, ocean currents and the water cycle. Seasons result from variations in the amount of the Sun's energy hitting the surface due to the tilt of the Earth's rotation on its axis and the length of the day.

Science as Inquiry

Using Sally Ride EarthKAM images and materials, students can conduct their own explorations by asking questions and pursing answers. They...
  • Identify questions that can be answered using the images-a new, important form of data,
  • Use the Web and image analysis tools to gather, analyze and interpret data-the Sally Ride EarthKAM images and accompanying information,
  • Develop descriptions, explanations and models using the evidence they find in the Sally Ride EarthKAM images,
  • Think critically and logically about the relationships between the images and their explanations and understandings of the world,
  • Use mathematics, such as scale and measurement, in their scientific inquiries into the images, and
  • Develop understandings about scientific inquiry.

Unifying Concepts and Processes

Using Sally Ride EarthKAM images and materials, students can learn about systems, models, evidence, explanations and other basic processes of science and scientific thinking.
  • Systems, Order, and Organization
    • The goal of this standard is to think and analyze in terms of systems. Thinking and analyzing in terms of systems will help students keep track of mass, energy, objects, organisms, and events referred to in the other content standards.
    • Science assumes that the behavior of the universe is not capricious, that nature is the same everywhere, and that it is understandable and predictable. Students can develop an understanding of regularities in systems, and by extension, the universe; they then can develop understanding of basic laws, theories, and models that explain the world.
    • Types and levels of organization provide useful ways of thinking about the world. Types of organization include the periodic table of elements and the classification of organisms.
  • Evidence, Models and Explanation
    • Evidence consists of observations and data on which to base scientific explanations. Using evidence to understand interactions allows individuals to predict changes in natural and designed systems.
    • Scientific explanations incorporate existing scientific knowledge and new evidence from observations, experiments or models into internally consistent, logical statements.
    • As students develop and understand more scientific concepts and processes, their explanations should become more sophisticated to reflect a rich scientific knowledge base, evidence of logic, higher levels of analysis and greater tolerance of criticism and uncertainty.
  • Constancy, Change and Measurement
    • Although most things are in the process of becoming different - changing - some properties of objects and processes are characterized by constancy. Interactions within and among systems result in change. Changes vary in rate, scale and pattern, including trends and cycles.
    • Changes in systems can be quantified. Evidence for interactions, subsequent change and the formulation of scientific explanations are often clarified through quantitative distinctions--measurement. Mathematics is essential for accurately measuring change.
    • Scale includes understanding that different characteristics, properties or relationships within a system might change as its dimensions are increased or decreased.
  • Evolution and Equilibrium
    • Evolution is a series of changes, some gradual and some sporadic, that accounts for the present form and function of objects, organisms and natural and designed systems. The general idea of evolution is that the present arises from materials and forms of the past.
  • Form and Function
    • Form and function are complementary aspects of objects, organisms and systems in the natural and designed world. The form or shape of an object or system is frequently related to use, operation or function. Function frequently relies on form. Understanding of form and function applies to different levels of organization.

Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

Using Sally Ride EarthKAM images and materials, students can learn about the role of human beings in shaping and impacting our planet.
  • Populations, Resources and Environments
    • When an area becomes overpopulated, the environment will be degraded due to the increased use of resources.
    • Causes of environmental degradation and resource depletion vary from region to region and country to country.
  • Natural Hazards
    • Internal and external processes of the Earth system cause natural hazards, events that change or destroy human and wildlife habitats, damage property and harm or kill humans. Natural hazards include earthquakes, landslides, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, floods, storms and even possible impacts of asteroids.
    • Human activities also can induce hazards through resource acquisition, urban growth, land-use decisions and waste disposal. Such activities can accelerate many natural changes.

Standards for Teachers

Sally Ride EarthKAM supports many of the National Science Education Teaching Standards.
National Science Education Teaching Standards

Standards for Students

The Sally Ride EarthKAM program satisfies national educational standards in many academic disciplines:
National Geography Education Standards
National Math Education Standards