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Year 9 Earth Science Unit Plan

Unit Title Earth Science

Year level 9

Resources The Australian Curriculum,

Pearson Science 9 book
Aims & Overview Students will look at the theories proposed by scientists such as Wegner and Hess, and how these have been developed over
time. They will review their current knowledge of the structure of the Earth, and extend this to investigate the plates that make up
the Earth and how they move, then deepening this investigation into how the movement of the plates can cause natural disasters
that impact our world.
Duration 5 weeks

Lessons per Week 5 x 45 min lessons; (structured as 2 double lessons +1 single lesson per week)

Key Idea Science Understanding:

(Content descriptors) Earth and Space Sciences
The theory of plate tectonics explains global patterns of geological activity and continental movement(ACSSU180)
Science as a Human Endeavour
Nature and development of science
Scientific understanding, including models and theories, is contestable and is refined over time through a process of
review by the scientific community (ACSHE157)
Use and influence of science
People use scientific knowledge to evaluate whether they accept claims, explanations or predictions, and advances in
science can affect peoples lives, including generating new career opportunities (ACSHE160)
Values and needs of contemporary society can influence the focus of scientific research (ACSHE228)
Science Inquiry Skills
Questioning and predicting
Formulate questions or hypotheses that can be investigated scientifically (ACSIS164)
Processing and analysing data and information
Use knowledge of scientific concepts to draw conclusions that are consistent with evidence (ACSIS170)
Critically analyse the validity of information in primary and secondary sources and evaluate the approaches used to solve
problems (ACSIS172)
Communicate scientific ideas and information for a particular purpose, including constructing evidence-based arguments
and using appropriate scientific language, conventions and representations (ACSIS174)

Elaboration(s) Recognising the major plates on a world map

Modelling sea-floor spreading
Relating the occurrence of earthquakes and volcanic activity to constructive and destructive plate boundaries
Considering the role of heat energy and convection currents in the movement of tectonic plates
Relating the extreme age and stability of a large part of the Australian continent to its plate tectonic history
Investigating how the theory of plate tectonics developed, based on evidence from sea-floor spreading and occurrence of
earthquakes and volcanic activity
Investigating technologies involved in the mapping of continental movement
Investigating contemporary science issues related to living in a Pacific country located near plate boundaries, for example
Japan, Indonesia, New Zealand
Describing how science is used in the media to explain a natural event or justify actions
Using internet research to identify problems that can be investigated
Evaluating information from secondary sources as part of the research process
Comparing conclusions with earlier predictions and reviewing scientific understanding where appropriate
Suggesting more than one possible explanation of the data presented
Discussing what is meant by 'validity' and how we can evaluate the validity of information in secondary sources
Researching the methods used by scientists in studies reported in the media
Describing how scientific arguments are used to make decisions regarding personal and community issues
Presenting results and ideas using formal experimental reports, oral presentations, slide shows, poster presentations and
contributing to group discussions
Using secondary sources as well as students own findings to help explain a scientific concept

Standard(s) Year 9 Achievement Standard

By the end of Year 9, students explain chemical processes and natural radioactivity in terms of atoms and energy transfers and
describe examples of important chemical reactions. They describe models of energy transfer and apply these to explain
phenomena. They explain global features and events in terms of geological processes and timescales. They analyse how biological
systems function and respond to external changes with reference to interdependencies, energy transfers and flows of matter. They
describe social and technological factors that have influenced scientific developments and predict how future applications of
science and technology may affect peoples lives.
Students design questions that can be investigated using a range of inquiry skills. They design methods that include the control
and accurate measurement of variables and systematic collection of data and describe how they considered ethics and safety.
They analyse trends in data, identify relationships between variables and reveal inconsistencies in results. They analyse their
methods and the quality of their data, and explain specific actions to improve the quality of their evidence. They evaluate others
methods and explanations from a scientific perspective and use appropriate language and representations when communicating
their findings and ideas to specific audiences.
Assessment Activity Plate tectonics RAFT
Natural disasters research assignment
Time Key Concepts & Skills Teaching and Learning Activities Assessment Activities Resources
Lesson The structure of the earth is composed of Introductory PowerPoint on the The cut and paste activity acts Computer with
1 many layers, the crust or lithosphere is the top continental drift theory. as a diagnostic assessment to projector
layer that we inhabit. Cut and paste continents and elicit ideas and understandings Powerpoint
The continents are made up of continental supercontinents activity from students presentation
crust, and have been found to move over time.
Watch the Global Tectonics: competing
The Global Tectonics: Continents
theories video (22 min), if time permits competing theories worksheet activity sheet
During this video, students complete acts as formative assessment.
the accompanying worksheet
Lesson Hess theory of seafloor spreading helps to Introduce the idea of seafloor spreading and Questions on the magnetic Computer with
2 explain Wegners continental drift theory, and Hess theory striping activity form formative projector
magnetic striping helped to support Hess Introduce the concept of magnetic striping assessment. Powerpoint
theory. Magnetic striping activity, pg 322 presentation

activity sheet

Lesson The earth consists of several layers with Powerpoint on the structure of the earth, its The world map and convection Computer with
3 different physical properties. plates, and how they move, along with how activities are used as formative projector
this related to Wegner and Hess theories assessment for the unit. Powerpoint
Locating plates on a world map activity presentation
Convection activity, Page 323 Printed world
map activity
See Pearson pg
323 for
Convection prac
Lesson Plates move in different ways, and these have Revise the structure of the Earth and location The RAFT task will act as a Computer with
4-5 different effects upon our planet to create the of plates from the last lesson. summative assessment piece projector
natural features that we see today. Introduce the boundaries between the plates; for the unit. Students will have Powerpoint
diverging, converging, and transform the next lesson to work on it, presentation
o Subduction and collision then it will be due the Printed RAFT task
Plate boundary demonstrations, students get following week. sheets
into groups and have to act out a certain type
of boundary 3-2-1 exit card on plate
A RAFT task for the students, where they are boundaries as diagnostic
given (or may create) a role, audience, format, assessment.
and topic and describe different types of
boundaries through this.
Lesson Plate tectonics caused the unique features of Rise of the continents: Australia video Computer with
6 continents to appear, and this created the The students will have a worksheet to work projector
Australia that we know today through as they watch Powerpoint
Rise of the
Continents video
Lesson Volcanoes are a major mechanism for creating Begin with an activity where students are given Formative assessment tasks http://www.pbsle
7-8 new crust, however they pose dangers to their a blank world map and mark predicted
surrounding environments locations of volcanoes with sticker dots. resource/
Students are then given a world map with i.ess.earthsys.lp_v
Volcanoes vary greatly in terms of the volcanoes to compare and discuss olcanoes/volcano
composition and temperature of the magma Students explore the Volcanism, volcanic es/
they produce, and these characteristics affect eruptions and hazards, anatomy of a volcano,
how they will erupt. and volcanic features online activities, Class set of
answering questions on a worksheet as they laptops
Students watch videos describing lava sampling
and flow, taking notes.
Lesson Earthquake/Volcano assignment Watch some news reports on volcanic The research assignment Computer with
9 eruptions and earthquakes around the forms a summative projector
world assessment task for the Powerpoint
Introduce the natural disaster research unit. presentation
assignment, which students will begin work News reports
on this lesson. Natural disaster
task sheet
Lesson Earthquakes are caused by a large release of Introduce students to earthquakes, their The activities are written up Computer with
10-11 energy from between the tectonic plates. They structure, where they occur and how we can as formative assessment projector
commonly occur at plate boundaries, and we detect them. tasks Powerpoint
can predict them using modern technology. Discuss how buildings are designed to presentation
withstand the force of earthquakes
o Building construction activity
Discuss how we measure earthquakes, and
what this means for society
o Seismometer practical activity
Lesson Research assignment Students may continue work on this The research assignment Class set of
11 assignment, to be handed up next lesson forms a summative laptops
Students may also work on any other assessment task for the
assignments that they have not completed. unit.
Lesson Research assignment due Students complete their assignments and The research assignment Class set of
12 submit them. forms a summative laptops
assessment task for the