Learning Objectives for Mr. Dawson's ENVIRONMENTAL EARTH SCIENCE and ASTRONOMY courses.

*Note that EES includes both Earth and Space Science and Biology frameworks from the MA Dept. of Education (DoE).
*Note that Astro. includes both Earth and Space Science and Physics frameworks from the MA DoE.
*Both EES and Astro. will include some of the Technology/Engineering frameworks from the MA DoE.
*Both EES and Astro. will include some of the Instructional Technology Standards from the MA DoE.
*Both EES and Astro. will include some of the National Educational Technology Standards for Students, or NETS*S.
*Also, every class at BHS covers the BHS Literacy Objectives.
*We will not focus much on the National Science Education Standards (NSES), since these are already covered well in the MA DoE Science Learning Frameworks. The curious can find the NSES at http://newton.nap.edu/html/nses/6a.html.
*You can find other MA DoE learning frameworks at http://www.doe.mass.edu/frameworks/.
*You can download Word document versions of the EES, Astro, Tech/Eng, NETS*S, and BHS Literacy objectives with the links below.

NETS*S - http://cnets.iste.org/Students/NETS_S_standards.doc
Current MA Frameworks, all subjects - http://www.doe.mass.edu/frameworks/current.html


(adapted from the Massachusetts Department of Education)

Earth and Space Science High School Learning Standards


The Earth and space science high school standards address the following topics: Matter and Energy in the Earth System, Energy in the Earth’s System, Earth’s Processes and Cycles, and The Origin and Evolution of the Universe.

Content Standards

1. Matter and Energy in the Earth System
Broad Concepts: The entire Earth system and its various cycles are driven by energy. Earth has both internal and external sources of energy. Two fundamental energy concepts included in the Earth system are gravity and electromagnetism.
1.1 Identify Earth’s principal sources of internal and external energy, such as, radioactive decay, gravity, solar energy. Describe the components of the electromagnetic spectrum and give examples of its impact on human life.
1.2 Explain how the transfer of energy through radiation, conduction, and convection contributes to global atmospheric processes, such as, storms, winds.
1.3 Explain how the layers of the atmosphere affect the dispersal of incoming radiation through reflection, absorption, and reradiation.
1.4 Provide examples of how the unequal heating of Earth and the Coriolis effect influence global circulation patterns, and show how they impact Massachusetts weather and climate, such as, global winds, convection cells, land/sea breezes, and mountain/valley breezes.
1.5 Explain how the revolution of Earth around the Sun and the inclination of Earth on its axis cause Earth’s seasonal variations (equinoxes and solstices).
1.6 Describe the various conditions associated with frontal boundaries and cyclonic storms (such as, thunderstorms, winter storms [nor’easters], hurricanes, and tornadoes) and their impact on human affairs, including storm preparations. Use satellite and radar images and weather maps to illustrate these conditions and to understand weather forecasts.
1.7 Explain the dynamics of oceanic currents, including upwelling, deep-water currents, the Labrador Current and the Gulf Stream, and their relationship to global circulation within the marine environment and climate. Use satellite images to illustrate these circulation patterns.
1.8 Describe the effects of longshore currents, storms, and artificial structures (such as, jetties, sea walls) on coastal erosion in Massachusetts.
1.9 Explain what causes tides and describe how they affect the coastal environment.
1.10 Use a combination of ground-based observations, satellite data, and computer models to demonstrate Earth systems and their interconnections. Explain why it is necessary to use all of these tools together.

2. Energy Resources in the Earth System
Broad Concept: Numerous Earth resources are used to sustain human civilization. The abundance and accessibility of these resources dramatically influences consumption.
2.1 Recognize, describe, and compare renewable (such as, solar, wind, water, biomass) and nonrenewable (such as, fossil fuels, nuclear [U-235]) energy resources.
2.2 Describe the effects on the environment and on the carbon cycle of using both renewable and nonrenewable sources of energy.

3. Earth Processes and Cycles
Broad Concepts: The evolution of Earth has been driven by interactions between the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. Over geologic time the internal motions of Earth have continuously altered the topography and geography of the continents and ocean basins by both constructive and destructive processes.
3.1 Explain how physical and chemical weathering leads to erosion and the formation of soils and sediments, and creates the various types of landscapes. Give examples that show the effects of physical and chemical weathering on the environment. Use satellite images to illustrate the effects of these processes.
3.2 Describe the nitrogen and carbon cycles.
3.3 Explain how water flows into and through a watershed. Explain the role of aquifers, wells, porosity, permeability, water table, capillary water, and runoff.
3.4 Describe the processes of the hydrologic cycle including evaporation, condensation, precipitation, surface runoff and groundwater percolation, infiltration, and transpiration.
3.5 Describe the rock cycle, and the processes that are responsible for the formation of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. Compare the physical properties of these rock types and the physical properties of common rock-forming minerals.
3.6 Describe the absolute and relative dating methods used to measure geologic time, such as, index fossils, radioactive dating, law of superposition, and cross-cutting relationships.
3.7 Describe life forms associated with each of the major geologic eras.
3.8 Explain how seismic data are used to reveal Earth’s interior structure and to locate earthquake epicenters. Use current seismic data to identify regions of seismic activity.
3.9 Describe the Richter scale of earthquake magnitude and the relative damage that is incurred by earthquakes of a given magnitude.
3.10 Understand that the force of gravity between two objects depends on their masses and on the distance between them. Gravity influences objects of all sizes from celestial objects to soil particles.
3.11 Trace the development of a lithospheric plate from its growth at a divergent boundary (mid-ocean ridge) to its destruction at a convergent boundary (subduction zone). Explain the relationship between convection currents in Earth’s mantle and the motion of the lithospheric plates.
3.12 Relate earthquakes, volcanic activity, tsunamis, mountain building and tectonic uplift to plate movements. Explain the evidence that supports the theory of plate tectonics such as fossils, matching rock formations, paleomagnetic patterns, and the age of the ocean floor.

4. The Origin and Evolution of the Universe
Broad Concept: The origin of the universe, between 14 and 15 billion years ago, still remains one of the greatest questions in science. Gravity influences the formation and life cycles of galaxies, including our own Milky Way Galaxy, stars, planetary systems, and residual material left from the creation of the solar system.
4.1 Explain the Big Bang Theory and discuss the evidence that supports it (background radiation, and relativistic Doppler effect ~ “red shift”).
4.2 Use the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram to explain the life cycles of stars.
4.3 Compare and contrast the rotation and revolution of orbiting bodies, such as, day, year, solar/lunar eclipses. Describe the influence of gravity and inertia on these motions.
4.4 Explain how the sun, Earth, and solar system formed from a nebula of dust and gas in a spiral arm of the Milky Way Galaxy about 4.6 billion years ago. Support these explanations about the nature of our solar system using data from spacecraft missions, such as the evidence for water on Mars as revealed by orbiters and rovers.
4.5 Use data from various instruments (such as refracting telescopes, reflecting telescopes, radio telescopes, and spectrophotometers) that are used to study deep space and the solar system.

Biology High School Learning Standards

1. The Chemistry of Life
Broad Concept: Living things are made of atoms bonded together to form organic molecules.
1.1 Explain the significance of carbon in organic molecules.
1.2 Recognize the six most common elements in organic molecules (C, H, N, O, P, S).
1.3 Describe the composition and functions of the four major categories of organic molecules (carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids). *
1.4 Describe how dehydration synthesis and hydrolysis relate to organic molecules.
1.5 Explain the role of enzymes in biochemical reactions.

2. Structure and Function of Cells
Broad Concept: All living things are composed of cells. Life processes in a cell are based on molecular interactions.
2.1 Relate cell parts/organelles to their functions. *
2.2 Differentiate between prokaryotic cells and eukaryotic cells, in terms of their general structures and degrees of complexity. *
2.3 Distinguish between plant and animal cells. *
2.4 Describe how cells function in a narrow range of physical conditions, such as temperature and pH, to perform life functions that help to maintain homeostasis.
2.5 Explain the role of cell membranes as a highly selective barrier (diffusion, osmosis, and active transport). *
2.6 Identify the reactants and products in the general reaction of photosynthesis. Describe the use of isotopes in this identification.
2.7 Provide evidence that the organic compounds produced by plants are the primary source of energy and nutrients for most living things. *
2.8 Identify how cellular respiration is important for the production of ATP.
2.9 Explain the interrelated nature of photosynthesis and cellular respiration. *
2.10 Describe and compare the processes of mitosis and meiosis, and their role in the cell cycle. *

3. Genetics
Broad Concept: Genes are a set of instructions encoded in the DNA sequence of each organism that specify the sequence of amino acids in proteins characteristic of that organism.
3.1 Describe the structure and function of DNA, and distinguish among replication, transcription, and translation. *
3.2 Describe the processes of replication, transcription, and translation and how they relate to each other in molecular biology.
3.3 Describe the general pathway by which ribosomes synthesize proteins by using tRNAs to translate genetic information encoded in mRNAs.
3.4 Explain how mutations in the DNA sequence of a gene may be silent or result in phenotypic change in an organism and in its offspring.
3.5 Differentiate between dominant, recessive, codominant, polygenic, and sex-linked traits.
3.6 State Mendel’s laws of segregation and independent assortment.
3.7 Use a Punnett Square to determine the genotype and phenotype of monohybrid crosses. *
3.8 Explain how zygotes are produced in the fertilization process.
3.9 Recognize that while viruses lack cellular structure, they have the genetic material to invade living cells.

4. Human Anatomy and Physiology
Broad Concept: There is a relationship between structure and function in organ systems of humans.
4.1 Explain how major organ systems in humans (e.g., kidney, muscle, lung) have functional units (e.g., nephron, sarcome, alveoli) with specific anatomy that perform the function of that organ system.
4.2 Describe how the function of individual systems within humans are integrated to maintain a homeostatic balance in the body.

5. Evolution and Biodiversity
Broad Concept: Evolution and biodiversity are the result of genetic changes that occur in constantly changing environments.
5.1 Explain how the fossil record, comparative anatomy, and other evidence support the theory of evolution.
5.2 Illustrate how genetic variation is preserved or eliminated from a population through Darwinian natural selection (evolution) resulting in biodiversity.
5.3 Describe how the taxonomic system classifies living things into domains (eubacteria, archaebacteria, and eukaryotes) and kingdoms (animals, plants, fungi, etc.). * [Note: there is an ongoing scientific debate about the number of kingdoms and which organisms should be included in each. The following websites provide more information: Brave New Biosphere whyfiles.org/022critters/phylogeny.html, and The Tree of Life Project Root Page phylogeny.arizona.edu/tree/life.html.]

6. Ecology
Broad Concept: Ecology is the interaction between living organisms and their environment.
6.1 Explain how biotic and abiotic factors cycle in an ecosystem (water, carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen). *
6.2 Use a food web to identify and distinguish producers, consumers, and decomposers, and explain the transfer of energy through trophic levels. *
6.3 Identify the factors in an ecosystem that influence fluctuations in population size.
6.4 Analyze changes in an ecosystem resulting from natural causes, changes in climate, human activity, or introduction of non-native species.
6.5 Explain how symbiotic behavior produces interactions within ecosystems.

Boldface type indicates core standards for full-year courses. An asterisk (*) indicates core standards for integrated courses.

ASTRONOMY course frameworks

(adapted from the Massachusetts Department of Education)

Earth and Space Science High School Learning Standards

The Origin and Evolution of the Universe

Broad Concept: The origin of the universe, between 10 and 20 billion years ago, remains one of the greatest questions in science.
4.1 Explain the Big Bang Theory and discuss the evidence that supports it (background radiation, and Relativistic Doppler effect/red shift).
4.2 Define the unit of distance called a light year.
Broad Concept: Gravity influences the formation and life cycles of galaxies, including our own Milky Way Galaxy, stars, planetary systems, and residual material left from the creation of the solar system. These objects move in regular patterns under the influence of gravity.
4.3 Use the Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram to explain the life histories of stars.
4.4 Compare and contrast the final three outcomes of stellar evolution based on mass (black hole, neutron star, white dwarf).
Broad Concept: Our solar system is composed of a star, planets, moons, asteroids, comets, and residual material left from the evolution of the solar system over time.
4.5 Compare and contrast the motions of rotation and revolution of orbiting bodies, e.g., day, year, solar/lunar eclipses. Describe the influence of gravity and inertia on these motions.
4.6 Explain Kepler's Laws of Motion.
4.7 Compare and contrast the various instrumentation used to study deep space and the solar system, e.g., refracting telescope, reflecting telescope, radio telescope, spectrophotometer.
4.8 Explain how the sun, earth, and solar system formed from a nebula of dust and gas in a spiral arm of the Milky Way Galaxy about 4.6 billion years ago.*

Physics High School Learning Standards

Electromagnetic Radiation

Broad Concept: Oscillating electric or magnetic fields can generate electromagnetic waves over a wide spectrum of energies.
6.1 Describe the electromagnetic spectrum in terms of wavelength and energy, and be able to identify specific regions such as visible light.*
6.2 Explain how the various wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum have many useful applications such as radio, television, microwave appliances, and cellular telephones.
6.3 Calculate the frequency and energy of an electromagnetic wave from the wavelength.
6.4 Recognize and explain the ways in which the direction of visible light can be changed.


Broad Concept: Waves carry energy from place to place without the transfer of matter.
4.2 Recognize the measurable properties of waves (e.g., velocity, frequency, wavelength) and explain the relationships among them. *
4.3 Distinguish between transverse and longitudinal waves.
4.4 Distinguish between mechanical and electromagnetic waves. *
4.5 Interpret and be able to apply the laws of reflection and refraction (qualitatively) to all waves.
4.6 Recognize the effects of polarization, wave interaction, and the Doppler effect.

Motion and Forces

Broad Concept: Newton's laws of motion and gravitation describe and predict the motion of most objects.
1.3 Distinguish between, and solve problems involving, velocity, speed, and constant acceleration.
1.4 Create and interpret graphs of motion (position vs. time, speed vs. time, velocity vs. time, constant acceleration vs. time).
1.5 Explain the relationship between mass and inertia.*
1.6 Interpret and apply Newton's first law of motion.*
1.7 Interpret and apply Newton's second law of motion to show how an object's motion will change only when a net force is applied.*
1.10 Interpret and apply Newton's third law of motion.
1.11 Understand conceptually Newton's law of universal gravitation. *
1.12 Identify appropriate standard international units of measurement for force, mass, distance, speed, acceleration, and time, and explain how they are measured.
Boldface type indicates core standards for full-year courses. An asterisk (*) indicates core standards for integrated courses.

Technology/Engineering High School Learning Standards

(adapted from the Massachusetts Department of Education)

Engineering Design

Broad Concept: Engineering design involves practical problem solving, research, development, and invention and requires designing, drawing, building, testing, and redesigning.
1.1 Identify and explain the steps of the engineering design process, i.e., identify the problem, research the problem, develop possible solutions, select the best possible solution(s), construct a prototype, test and evaluate, communicate the solution(s), and redesign.
1.2 Demonstrate knowledge of pictorial and multi-view drawings (e.g., orthographic projection, isometric, oblique, perspective) using proper techniques.
1.3 Demonstrate the use of drafting techniques with paper and pencil or computer-aided design (CAD) systems when available.
1.4 Apply scale and proportion to drawings, e.g., 1/4" = 1'0".
1.5 Interpret plans, diagrams, and working drawings in the construction of a prototype.
Suggested Learning Activities
*Create an engineering design presentation using multimedia, oral, and written communication. (1.1)
*Choose the optimal solution to a problem, clearly documenting ideas against design criteria and constraints, and explain how human values, economics, ergonomics, and environmental considerations have influenced the solution. (1.1)
*Visit a local industry in any area of technology and describe the research and development processes of the company. (1.1, 1.5)
*Have students utilize library resources/internet to research the patent process (1.1, 1.2, 1.5)
*Create pictorial and multi-view drawings that include scaling and dimensioning. (1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5)
*Create plans, diagrams, and working drawings in the construction of a prototype. (1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5)
*Create drawings that include scale and dimension. (1.2, 1.3)

Energy and Power Technologies-Thermal Systems

Broad Concept: Thermal systems involve transfer of energy through conduction, convection, and radiation, and are used to control the environment.
4.1 Differentiate among conduction, convection, and radiation in a thermal system, e.g., heating and cooling a house, cooking.
4.2 Give examples of how conduction, convection, and radiation are used in the selection of materials, e.g., home and vehicle thermostat designs, circuit breakers.
4.4 Explain how environmental conditions influence heating and cooling of buildings and automobiles.
Suggested Learning Activities
*Create a model to test the concept of conduction and compute heat losses, e.g., through the multi-layer wall of a building. (4.1, 4.2, 4.4)
*Design and build a hot water solar energy system consisting of a collector, hoses, pump (optional), and storage tank. After it has been heated, calculate the heat gains achieved through solar heating. (4.1, 4.5)
*Design and build a model to test heat losses through various materials and plot the results. (4.2, 4.5)
*Design and build a solar cooker for various food substances. Each student should design their solar cooker for her or his specific food. (4.1, 4.2)
*Design an awning for a business based upon the seasonal changes in the angle of the sun. (4.2)

Energy and Power Technologies-Electrical Systems

Broad Concept: Electrical systems generate, transfer, and distribute electricity.
5.1 Describe the different instruments that can be used to measure voltage, e.g., voltmeter, multimeter.
5.3 Explain the relationship between resistance, voltage, and current (Ohm's Law).
5.5 Explain how to measure voltage, resistance, and current in electrical systems.
Suggested Learning Activities
*Design and create an electrical system with either motors or lights. All of the motors in the system will operate at different speeds, or the lamps will operate at different intensities. (5.2, 5.3)

Boldface type indicates core standards for full-year courses.



Technology Foundation Standards for Students

The technology foundation standards for students are divided into six broad categories. Standards within each category are to be introduced, reinforced, and mastered by students. These categories provide a framework for linking performance indicators within the Profiles for Technology Literate Students to the standards. Teachers can use these standards and profiles as guidelines for planning technology-based activities in which students achieve success in learning, communication, and life skills.

1. Basic operations and concepts
  • Students demonstrate a sound understanding of the nature and operation of technology systems.
  • Students are proficient in the use of technology.
2. Social, ethical, and human issues
  • Students understand the ethical, cultural, and societal issues related to technology.
  • Students practice responsible use of technology systems, information, and software.
  • Students develop positive attitudes toward technology uses that support lifelong learning, collaboration, personal pursuits, and productivity.
3. Technology productivity tools
  • Students use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity.
  • Students use productivity tools to collaborate in constructing technology-enhanced models, prepare publications, and produce other creative works.
4. Technology communications tools
  • Students use telecommunications to collaborate, publish, and interact with peers, experts, and other audiences.
  • Students use a variety of media and formats to communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences.
5. Technology research tools
  • Students use technology to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a variety of sources.
  • Students use technology tools to process data and report results.
  • Students evaluate and select new information resources and technological innovations based on the appropriateness for specific tasks.
6. Technology problem-solving and decision-making tools
  • Students use technology resources for solving problems and making informed decisions.
  • Students employ technology in the development of strategies for solving problems in the real world.



Reading (Rd)
1. for content ( both literal and inferential )
2. to apply pre-reading, during reading and post-reading strategies to all reading assignments, including determining purpose and pre-learning vocabulary
3. to research a topic
4. to gather information
5. to comprehend an argument
6. to determine the main idea of a passage
7. to understand a concept and construct meaning
8. to expand one's experiences

Writing (Wr)
1. to take notes
2. to explain one's thinking
3. to argue a thesis and support one's thinking
4. to compare and contrast
5. to write an open response
6. to describe an experiment, report one's findings, and report one's conclusion
7. to generate a response to what one has read, viewed, or heard
8. to convey one's thinking in complete sentences
9. to develop an expository essay with a formal structure

Speaking (Sp)
1. to convey one's thinking in complete sentences
2. to interpret a passage orally
3. to debate an issue
4. to participate in class discussion or a public forum
5. to make an oral presentation to one's class, one's peers, one's community
6. to present one's portfolio
7. to respond to what one has read, viewed, or heard
8. to communicate in a manner that allows one to be both heard and understood

Reasoning (Rs)
1. to create, interpret and explain a table, chart or graph
2. to compute, interpret and explain numbers
3. to read, break down, and solve a word problem
4. to interpret and present statistics that support an argument or hypothesis
5. to identify a pattern, explain a pattern, and/or make a prediction based on a pattern
6. to detect the fallacy in an argument or a proof
7. to explain the logic of an argument or solution
8. to use analogies and/or evidence to support one's thinking
9. to explain and/or interpret relationships of space and time


MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES (developed by Howard Gardner)

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Linguistic intelligence ("word smart"):
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Logical-mathematical intelligence ("number/reasoning smart")
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Spatial intelligence ("picture smart")
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Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence ("body smart")
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Musical intelligence ("music smart")
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Interpersonal intelligence ("people smart")
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Intrapersonal intelligence ("self smart")
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Naturalist intelligence ("nature smart")



Knowledge - Exhibit memory of previously-learned materials by recalling facts, terms, basic concepts and answers. Key words - defines, describes, finds, identifies, knows, labels, lists, locates, matches, names, outlines, recalls, recognizes, relates, reproduces, selects, states, tells, writes
Comprehension - Demonstrative understanding of facts and ideas by organizing, comparing, translating, interpreting, giving descriptions, and stating main ideas. Key words - compares, comprehends, converts, defends, demonstrate, describes, discusses, distinguishes, estimates, explains, extends, generalizes, gives examples, illustrates, infers, interprets, outlines, paraphrases, predicts, restates, rewrites, summarizes, translates
Application - Using new knowledge. Solve problems to new situations by applying acquired knowledge, facts, techniques and rules in a different way. Key words - applies, builds, changes, chooses, classifies, completes, computes, constructs, demonstrates, develops, discovers, examines, experiments, illustrates, makes use of, manipulates, models, modifies, operates, organizes, plans, predicts, prepares, produces, relates, selects, shows, solves, uses, utilizes
Analysis - Examine and break information into parts by identifying motives or causes. Make inferences and find evidence to support generalizations. Key words - advertises, analyzes, breaks down, categorizes, classifies, compares, concludes, contrasts, diagrams, deconstructs, differentiates, discovers, discriminates, dissects, distinguishes, divides, examines, explains, identifies, illustrates, infers, inspects, investigates, outlines, relates, selects, separates, simplifies, surveys, takes part in, tests for, motive, theme
Synthesis - Compile information together in a different way by combining elements in a new pattern or proposing alternative solutions. Key words - builds, categorizes, changes, chooses, combines, compiles, composes, constructs, creates, develops, devises, designs, devises, elaborates, estimates, explains, formulates, generates, hypothesizes, imagines, improves, invents, makes up, maximizes, minimizes, modifies, organizes, originates, plans, predicts, proposes, rearranges, reconstructs, relates, reorganizes, revises, rewrites, solves, summarizes, tells, theorizes, transforms, writes
Evaluation - Present and defend opinions by making judgments about information, validity of ideas or quality of work based on a set of criteria. Key words - agrees, appraises, argues, asseses, awards, chooses, compares, concludes, contrasts, criticizes, critiques, decides, debates, deduces, defends, describes, determines, discriminates, disproves, disputes, estimates, evaluates, explains, influences, interprets, judges, justifies, measures, perceives, prioritizes, proves, rates, recommends, relates, rules on, selects, summarizes, supports, values, verifies, criteria, importance, opinion