Are You Smarter Than a Sixth Grader?
Science education in Douglas County Elementary Schools is delivered via content specific kits, which are rich with information and are aligned with Nevada State Standards. Each grade level is responsible for teaching three science kits during the school year and each kit addresses one strand of the science standards – Earth Science, Life Science, or Physical Science. The sixth grade kit “Dynamic Earth” contains lessons particularly pertinent to the goals and message of the Douglas County Wellhead Protection Plan.
The goals of this kit are to provide students with the vision of Earth as a dynamic system of operations, and to instill a sense of stewardship toward Earth. These operations or “spheres”, are weather & climate (the atmosphere), land & geology (the geosphere), freshwater and oceans (the hydrosphere), and living things (the biosphere). The biosphere can be found within all the above spheres in that life exists in and on the land, in the air, and in water. They are interconnected and work together to provide us the perfect place to live. There is a fifth sphere – the area in space around the Earth, which is called the cosmosphere. There is a balance to the system, and when something occurs in any of the spheres, the others may be affected. The big ideas of the kit include:
- Energy – The Earth system is powered by energy from two major sources: the Sun and the planet’s internal heat;
- Cycles – The Earth system is characterized by overlapping cycles in which matter is recycled over and over. Cycles involve multiple spheres and systems interactions. Examples of cycles include day and night, the rock cycle, seasons, components of the water cycle, etc.;
- Scale – Processes operating in the Earth system take place on spatial scales and on time scales, both of which can be short or even instantaneous, or of long duration. Examples of instantaneous scales include breathing, rotation of the earth, tides, and earthquakes. Examples of long term scale include mountain building, making coal, components of the water cycle, and plate tectonics;
- Humans and the Earth system – People are part of the Earth system and they impact and are impacted by its materials and processes. Resource conservation education, including air and water quality, especially at the local level, are emphasized; and
- Science – Scientific ideas are developed through observation and reasoning; science does not prove or conclude, it is always a work in progress; and finally, science corrects itself.