Uncovering Earth’s Secrets can be used to meet both language arts and science standards for all grade levels. It is a nonfiction book that can be used to meet Common Core Standards related to Reading Informational Texts. It can also be used to introduce and reinforce a variety of science standards related to the nature of science, as well as specific earth and ocean science concepts.

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Below are specific science concepts reached by Uncovering Earth’s Secrets. This list of concepts is drawn from the Earth Science Literacy Principles, the Ocean Literacy Principles, and the Next Generation Science Standards.

Earth Science Literacy Principles

BIG IDEA 1. Earth scientists use repeatable observations and testable ideas to understand and explain our planet.

1.1    Earth scientists find solutions to society’s needs. Earth scientists work on challenging problems that face humanity on topics such as climate change and human impacts on Earth. Earth scientists successfully predict hazards to humans and locate and recover natural resources, making possible the flourishing of humans on Earth.

1.2    Earth scientists use a large variety of scientific principles to understand how our planet works. Earth scientists combine study of Earth’s geology with aspects of biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics in order to understand the complexities of the Earth system.

1.3    Earth science investigations take many different forms. Earth scientists do reproducible experiments and collect multiple lines of evidence. This evidence is taken from field, analytical, theoretical, experimental, and modeling studies.

1.4    Earth scientists must use indirect methods to examine and understand the structure, composition, and dynamics of Earth’s interior. With the exception of wells and mine shafts drilled into Earth, direct observations of Earth’s interior are not possible. Instead, Earth scientists observe the interior of the planet using seismic waves, gravity, magnetic fields, radar, sonar, and laboratory experiments on the behavior of materials at high pressures and temperatures.

1.7    Technological advances, breakthroughs in interpretation, and new observations continuously refine our understanding of Earth. This Earth Science Literacy framework must be a living document that grows along with our changing ideas and concepts of Earth.

BIG IDEA 2. Earth is 4.6 billion years old.

2.1    Earth’s rocks and other materials provide a record of its history. Earth scientists use the structure, sequence, and properties of rocks, sediments, and fossils to reconstruct events in Earth’s history. Decay rates of radioactive elements are the primary means of obtaining numerical ages of rocks and organic remains. Understanding geologic processes active in the modern world is crucial to interpreting Earth’s past.

2.7    Over Earth’s vast history, both gradual and catastrophic processes have produced enormous changes. Super-continents formed and broke apart, the compositions of the atmosphere and ocean changed, sea level rose and fell, living species evolved and went extinct, ice sheets advanced and melted away, meteorites slammed into Earth, and mountains formed and eroded away.

BIG IDEA 4. Earth is continuously changing.

4.3    Earth’s interior is in constant motion through the process of convection, with important consequences for the surface. Convection in the iron-rich liquid outer core, along with Earth’s rotation around its axis, generates Earth’s magnetic field. By deflecting solar wind around the planet, the magnetic field prevents the solar wind from stripping away Earth’s atmosphere. Convection in the solid mantle drives the many processes of plate tectonics, including the formation and movements of the continents and oceanic crust.

4.4    Earth’s tectonic plates consist of the rocky crust and uppermost mantle, and move slowly with respect to one another. New oceanic plate continuously forms at mid-ocean ridges and other spreading centers, sinking back into the mantle at ocean trenches. Tectonic plates move steadily at rates of up to 10 centimeters per year.

4.5    Many active geologic processes occur at plate boundaries. Plate interactions change the shapes, sizes, and positions of continents and ocean basins, the locations of mountain ranges and basins, the patterns of ocean circulation and climate, the locations of earthquakes and volcanoes, and the distribution of resources and living organisms.

BIG IDEA 6. Life evolves on a dynamic Earth and continuously modifies Earth.

6.1    Fossils are the preserved evidence of ancient life. Fossils document the presence of life early in Earth’s history and the subsequent evolution of life over billions of years.

6.6    Mass extinctions occur when global conditions change faster than species in large numbers can adapt. Mass extinctions are often followed by the origination of many new species over millions of years as surviving species evolve and fill vacated niches.

BIG IDEA 8. Natural hazards pose risks to humans.

8.1    Natural hazards result from natural Earth processes.

These hazards include earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, floods, droughts, landslides, volcanic eruptions, extreme weather, lightning-induced fires, sinkholes, coastal erosion, and comet and asteroid impacts.

8.6    Earth scientists are continually improving estimates of when and where natural hazards occur. This analysis is done through continuously monitoring Earth, increasing our understanding of the physical processes that underlie its changes, and developing scientific models that can explain hazard-related scientific observations.

Ocean Literacy: Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts

Principle 1: The Earth has one big ocean with many features.

A. The ocean is the defining physical feature on our planet Earth—covering approximately 70% of the planet’s surface. There is one ocean with many ocean basins, such as the North Pacific, South Pacific, North Atlantic, South Atlantic, Indian, Southern, and Arctic.

B. Ocean basins are composed of the seafloor and all of its geological features (such as islands, trenches, mid-ocean ridges, and rift valleys) and vary in size, shape and features due to the movement of Earth’s crust (lithosphere). Earth’s highest peaks, deepest valleys and flattest plains are all in the ocean.

Principle 2: The ocean and life in the ocean shape the features of Earth.

A. Many earth materials and biogeochemical cycles originate in the ocean. Many of the sedimentary rock ow exposed on land were formed in the ocean. Ocean life laid down the vast volume of siliceous and carbonate rocks.

E. Tectonic activity, sea level changes, and the force of waves influence the physical structure and landforms of the coast.

Principle 7: The ocean is largely unexplored.

A. The ocean is the largest unexplored place on Earth—less than 5% of it has been explored. The next generation of explorers and researchers will find great opportunities for discovery, innovation, and investigation.

D. New technologies, sensors, and tools are expanding our ability to explore the ocean. Scientists are relying more and more on satellites, drifters, buoys, subsea observatories, and unmanned submersibles.

F. Ocean exploration is truly interdisciplinary. It requires close collaboration among biologists, chemists, climatologists, computer programmers, engineers, geologists, meteorologists, physicists, animators, and illustrators. And these interactions foster new ideas and new perspectives for inquiries.

Next Generation Science Standards

Crosscutting Concepts:

1. Patterns. Observed patterns of forms and events guide organization and classification, and they prompt questions about relationships and the factors that influence them.

2. Cause and effect: Mechanism and explanation. Events have causes, sometimes simple, sometimes multifaceted. A major activity of science is investigating and explaining causal relationships and the mechanisms by which they are mediated. Such mechanisms can then be tested across given contexts and used to predict and explain events in new contexts.

3. Scale, proportion, and quantity. In considering phenomena, it is critical to recognize what is relevant at different measures of size, time, and energy and to recognize how changes in scale, proportion, or quantity affect a system’s structure or performance.

7. Stability and change. For natural and built systems alike, conditions of stability and determinants of rates of change or evolution of a system are critical elements of study.

Nature of Science Concepts

* Scientific Investigations Use a Variety of Methods

* Scientific Knowledge is Based on Empirical Evidence

* Scientific Knowledge is Open to Revision in Light of New Evidence

* Scientific Models, Laws, Mechanisms, and Theories Explain Natural Phenomena

* Science is a Way of Knowing

* Scientific Knowledge Assumes an Order and Consistency in Natural Systems

* Science is a Human Endeavor

* Science Addresses Questions About the Natural and Material World

Science, Technology, Society and the Environment Concept

* The Interdependence of Science, Engineering, and Technology

Earth Space Science Disciplinary Core Ideas

* ESS1.C: The history of planet Earth

* ESS2.B: Plate tectonics and large-scale system interactions

* ESS3.B: Natural hazards

Life Science Disciplinary Core Idea

* LS4.A: Evidence of common ancestry and diversity