Standards Database Logo
Home | Browse | Search | Purpose | History | Process | Acknowledgment| Reference



List of Benchmarks for Science

Standard 2.Understands Earth's composition and structure
  Level Pre-K (Grade Pre-K)
   1. Knows that there are different materials (e.g., rock, water, soil) on Earth
   2. Knows properties of a number of Earth materials (e.g., rocks, soil, water)
  Level I (Grade K-2)
   1. Knows that Earth materials consist of solid rocks, soils, liquid water, and the gases of the atmosphere
   2. Knows that rocks come in many different shapes and sizes (e.g., boulders, pebbles, sand)
  Level II (Grade 3-5)
   1. Knows how features on the Earth’s surface are constantly changed by a combination of slow and rapid processes (e.g., slow processes, such as weathering, erosion, transport, and deposition of sediment caused by waves, wind, water, and ice; rapid processes, such as landslides, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes)  A 
   2. Knows that smaller rocks come from the breakage and weathering of larger rocks and bedrock  A 
   3. Knows that rock is composed of different combinations of minerals  A 
   4. Knows the composition and properties of soils (e.g., components of soil such as weathered rock, living organisms, products of plants and animals; properties of soil such as color, texture, capacity to retain water, ability to support plant growth)  A 
   5. Knows that fossils provide evidence about the plants and animals that lived long ago and the nature of the environment at that time  A 
  Level III (Grade 6-8)
   1. Knows that the Earth is comprised of layers including a core, mantle, lithosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere  A 
   2. Knows how land forms are created through a combination of constructive and destructive forces (e.g., constructive forces such as crustal deformation, volcanic eruptions, and deposition of sediment; destructive forces such as weathering and erosion)  A 
   3. Knows components of soil and other factors that influence soil texture, fertility, and resistance to erosion (e.g., plant roots and debris, bacteria, fungi, worms, rodents)  A 
   4. Knows that the Earth’s crust is divided into plates that move at extremely slow rates in response to movements in the mantle  A 
   5. Knows processes involved in the rock cycle (e.g., old rocks at the surface gradually weather and form sediments that are buried, then compacted, heated, and often recrystallized into new rock; this new rock is eventually brought to the surface by the forces that drive plate motions, and the rock cycle continues)  A 
   6. Knows that sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks contain evidence of the minerals, temperatures, and forces that created them
   7. Knows how successive layers of sedimentary rock and the fossils contained within them can be used to confirm the age, history, and changing life forms of the Earth, and how this evidence is affected by the folding, breaking, and uplifting of layers  A 
   8. Knows that fossils provide important evidence of how environmental conditions have changed on the Earth over time (e.g., changes in atmospheric composition, movement of lithospheric plates, impact of an asteroid or comet)
  Level IV (Grade 9-12)
   1. Understands the concept of plate tectonics (e.g., the outward transfer of the Earth’s internal heat and the action of gravitational forces on regions of different density drive convection circulation in the mantle; these convection currents propel the Earth’s crustal plates, which move very slowly, pressing against one another in some places and pulling apart in other places)  A 
   2. Knows effects of the movement of crustal plates (e.g., earthquakes occur along the boundaries between colliding plates; sea floor spreading occurs where plates are moving apart; mountain building occurs where plates are moving together; volcanic eruptions release pressure created by molten rock beneath the Earth’s surface)  A 
   3. Knows that elements exist in fixed amounts and move through the solid Earth, oceans, atmosphere, and living things as part of geochemical cycles (e.g., carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle)
   4. Knows that throughout the rock cycle (e.g., formation, weathering, sedimentation, reformation), the total amount of material stays the same as its form changes
   5. Knows methods used to estimate geologic time (e.g., observing rock sequences and using fossils to correlate the sequences at various locations; using the known decay rates of radioactive isotopes present in rock to measure the time since the rock was formed)  A 
   6. Knows the conditions of Earth that enable it to support life (e.g., force of gravity that enables the planet to retain an adequate atmosphere, intensity of radiation from the Sun that allows water to cycle between liquid and vapor)

 A  = Assessment items available