Key Idea 1:

The Earth and celestial phenomena can be described by principles of relative motion and perspective.

Introduction: The universe is comprised of a wide array of objects, a few of which can be seen by the unaided eye. Others can only be observed with scientific instruments. These celestial objects, distinct from Earth, are in motion relative to Earth and each other. Measurements of these motions vary with the perspective of the observer. Cyclical changes on Earth are caused by interactions among objects in the universe.

Key Idea 2:

Many of the phenomena that we observe on Earth involve interactions among components of air, water, and land.

Introduction: Students should develop an understanding of Earth as a set of closely coupled systems. The concept of systems provides a framework in which students can investigate three major interacting components: lithosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere. Processes act within and among the three components on a wide range of time scales to bring about continuous change in Earth’s crust, oceans, and atmosphere.

Key Idea 3:

Matter is made up of particles whose properties determine the observable characteristics of matter and its reactivity.

Introduction: Objects in the universe are composed of matter. Matter is anything that takes up space and has mass. Matter is classified as a substance or a mixture of substances. Knowledge of the structure of matter is essential to students’ understanding of the living and physical environments. Matter is composed of elements which are made of small particles called atoms. All living and nonliving material is composed of these elements or combinations of these elements.

Key Idea 4:

Energy exists in many forms, and when these forms change energy is conserved.

Introduction: An underlying principle of all energy use is the Law of Conservation of Energy. Simply stated, energy cannot be created or destroyed.

Energy can be transformed, one form to another. These transformations produce heat energy. Heat is a calculated value which includes the temperature of the material, the mass of the material, and the type of the material. Temperature is a direct measurement of the average kinetic energy of the particles in a sample of material. It should be noted that temperature is not a measurement of heat.

Key Idea 5:

Energy and matter interact through forces that result in changes in motion.

Introduction: Examples of objects in motion can be seen all around us. These motions result from an interaction of energy and matter. This interaction creates forces (pushes and pulls) that produce predictable patterns of change. Common forces would include gravity, magnetism, and electricity. Friction is a force that should always be considered in a discussion of motion.

When the forces acting on an object are unbalanced, changes in that object’s motion occur. The changes could include a change in speed or a change in direction. When the forces are balanced, the motion of that object will remain unchanged. Understanding the laws that govern motion allows us to predict these changes in motion.