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Earth Science Series 3 of 3: The Hydrosphere and Atmosphere

Earth Science 3
This is Part 3 of 3 in a full year (24 weeks) Earth Science series, lasting 10 weeks.
It is not required, but it is highly recommended that you take these classes in order.
The other sessions in the series include:
Earth Science 1: Mapping, Minerals, and Rocks (begins in September)
Earth Science Session 2: Our Dynamic Earth (begins in October)

In this final installment of our Earth Science Series, students will be learning about our hydrosphere and atmosphere. We will cover the water cycle, storms, climate (including global warming), our freshwater surface and groundwater supplies, and basic oceanography. Then we will finish up with lessons on Earth’s resources, and the human impact.

I have created educational videos to accompany the course. Some of these will be on site at various areas around the world. Each week, there will be a choice of hands on projects for students to complete to reinforce their knowledge of the material.

No live classesview lessons on YOUR schedule. In general, expect 1.5-2.5 hours to work through the lesson plan each week, and an additional 2-5 hours working on assignments (it really depends what assignment your child chooses to do and how they manage their time). For classes with two levels, the material is the same for boththe depth of the assignments differs. Younger students should usually be placed in Level 1. Older students, or younger students who want more of a challenge, should be placed in Level 2.

Each lesson consists of a fully narrated PowerPoint presentation with images and videos to enhance the topics. Students will have access to our learning management system, Canvas, for viewing their lesson, printing worksheets, taking quizzes, viewing/submitting assignments, participating in discussions, and viewing grades/feedback. Read more details about class format.

Week 1
The first part of this session will be covering the hydrosphere- Earth's water. This week we'll cover the water cycle. Then we'll focus on the "precipitation" part of the water cycle- where does all of that water go and how does it get there? We'll discuss surface water vs ground water, the factors that contribute to infiltration, the carrying capacities of different types of streams and the different types of loads they carry, and the deposition of those loads. We'll then turn to lake formation, the different types of lakes, and finish with various types of wetlands.

Week 2
This week we're going into serious detail on groundwater. Why? Because it's our most important source of freshwater! We'll discuss permeability, porosity, and the anatomy of ground water reserves. We'll then look at how caves, geysers, and springs are formed by groundwater. Finally, we'll turn to how artisan wells work and the serious problem of groundwater contamination. 

Week 3
It's time for us to dry off and head into the atmosphere! We'll talk about the gases that make up the atmosphere, the different layers between the surface of the Earth and space and the quite unexpected characteristics of some of those layers! Then we'll discuss how energy is transferred from the sun to the Earth, and how that energy moves once it gets here. Then we'll cover how temperature, pressure, and density in the atmosphere affects the Earth, and finish up discussing all of the different types of clouds.

Week 4
Air masses are important to Earth, and this week we'll be learning all about them! We'll discuss the Coriolis effect and its role in moving air masses. We'll zone out with the different wind zones across the globe, areas of high pressure and low pressure, and jet streams. This has all been leading up to WEATHER! We'll learn about different weather fronts, how they form, the weather they cause, and why they are important in predicting weather. Speaking of weather forecasting, we'll cover many of the tools used in this not always precise science!

Week 5
BOOM! Thunderstorms! We'll get to the bottom of the scary, and not so scary, facts about this storms- including how they form, their life cycle, and the types of weather they create. We'll then learn the shocking details about lightning- the different types, how they form, and safety during lightning storms.

Week 6
We're expanding on our knowledge of thunderstorms last week to focus on tornadoes! We'll cover the formation, stages, and how tornadoes are measured. Then we'll discuss the difference between a watch and a warning, and how to stay safe! We'll continue our "deadly storm" theme and move into hurricanes- when do they happen, what conditions are necessary for them to form and strengthen, what is the anatomy of a hurricane, and how can you stay safe if one is approaching.

Week 7
This week's unit is near and dear to my marine biologist heart- oceanography! How did the ocean become salty? What is salinity and what factors affect it? How do waves form and what is their anatomy? What causes the tides and how do they differ between locations and times of the month? We'll then get moving with currents! What are surface currents and deep currents and how do they contribute to the movement of energy across the globe? 

Week 8
We're spending the rest of the session on an extremely important topic- climate change. This week, we have to start by learning what climate is (and what it isn't!). We'll discuss the many factors that contribute to the climate of an area. 

Week 9
Now that we know what climate is (and isn't!), it's time to start taking a long hard look at climate change. What does the science show historically over the past 100+ years since we've been recording climate data? What is global warming? Is it the same as climate change? What factors are contributing to the current increased rate of climate change and what is the role of carbon dioxide in the equation? We'll discuss how the carbon cycle works and what is "breaking" that cycle. Then we'll look at many of the environmental indicators that show us how climate is rapidly changing. 

Week 10
This is our final week, and we're continuing our study of climate change. We'll look in depth at sea level rise- why it's happening and the impacts it will create in the future. We'll dive into the coral reefs to see what climate change is doing to them. What happens to us if we can not slow down or stop climate change? What events can we expect to see happen (or are happening now) and why? And we finish up with a solid lesson on the science vs climate change deniers. Students will leave this lesson, and the full year of Earth Science, with a strong foundation to make factual, science based arguments rather than emotional ones.











All labs are OPTIONAL!
But if you would like to do them, here is a list of the materials you will need each week.

Week 1 lab materials:
Lab 1:
fine sand or dirt
a tall clear container

Lab 2:
3 small containers about the same size (You’ll be filling the bottom with about 2 inches (5cm) of the following: clay, sand, and gravel)

Week 2 lab materials:
Lab 1:
2 clear containers (beakers would be GREAT!)
about 1 cup each of gravel and sand
a precise tool for measuring liquids, such as a beaker or graduated cylinder
food coloring

Lab 2:
you will reuse your container with the gravel and water in it
a crayon or colored pencil

Lab 3:
a container with water colored dark from your food coloring
paper towel

Week 3 lab materials:
two 2 liter plastic bottles with caps
boiling water

Week 4 lab materials:
a flashlight
a pencil
a piece of paper

For the worksheet:
one red, one blue, and one purple marker
a crayon or colored pencil

Week 5 lab materials:
Lab 1:
a deep, wide, clear container (something like a clear storage bin will work)
a clear jar or juice glass about half as tall as your container
food coloring

Lab 2:
a balloon
a fluorescent bulb (This is the kind I used, and it worked great!)

Week 6 lab materials:
paper towel roll or anything kind of like that (a long cylinder) you have available

Next Level Homeschool is a firm believer that not all learning should happen from behind a screen! That's why we give students the freedom to submit their assignments in the way THEY want to! We don't want regurgitation learning here. By allowing students to use their own talents, skills, and passions to complete assignments, they become even more engaged and retain the information. Why? Because now it's literally in their hands! We receive thousands of projects every year from our students: written reports, videos, models, posters, Scratch, Minecraft, Roblox, songs, poems, skits, drawings, sculptures, craftswe've seen it ALL! And WE LOVE IT!!

Click here to view just a few projects we've received from students who have taken this class and see what YOUR kid could be learning with Next Level Homeschool!

Course Features

  • Schedule Spring 2024
  • Activities Science
  • Lessons 10
  • Suggested Ages 11-17 Two Levels
  • Time This class is currently closed for enrollments. Join our mailing list to be notified when enrollment opens.