NOTE: Please understand that we have transitioned from the CA State Standards (example: 3a, 3b) to align with the Next Generation Science Standards (example: ESS2-1, ESS1-5) so although many of these topics/standards are similar, they are not exactly the same as what we will cover in class. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are listed after each topic and the previous California State Standards (CA) are listed below the NGSS.

This page has all of the topics covered in Physical Science for the year. Some topics will be linked to other websites for more in-depth information and most will have the chapter with the information.

    This page is also helpful for ideas on what to do your Not Necessarily Current Event (NNCE).
(This page will slowly be updated as I gather more resources to which to link - extra participation credit will be given if you find something and bring it to me so I can link it)
If you are curious and look ahead before we even cover the material, hooray for you!

  Course Schedule for Physical Science:

Standard Title



Standard Title





Introduction to Earth Science


7a, 7b, 7c; ESS2-6;

Carbon/Nitrogen Cycles


3a, 3b; ESS2-1, 3

Plate Tectonics/Plate Boundaries


1a-1f; ESS1-1, 4, 6

Solar System


9a, 9b, 9c;
ESS3-1, 2, 3

CA Resources/Hazards


1a, 1b, 1d



8a-c; ESS2-7;

Atmospheric Structure, Evolution,
And Human Impacts


Critical Thinking/

Investigation/Experimentation, Lab Reports,


5a–d, 6a–d,

ESS2-4, ESS3-5



Class Preparedness

Participation, DR, Notes, Materials, Planner

Each of these standards has a rubric illustrating what is expected to achieve each level (0-4).
(they will be handed out in class: the first copy is free, if you lose it, a new one will cost you ten cents or you can use the link and print one yourself))

Academic Physical Science Text (Ch.)
; Sheltered Physical Science Text [Ch.]

The following is a list of the topics/terms in Chemistry and Physics that we will use throughout the year. These topics will help you better understand the concepts of Geology, Meteorology, Oceanography, and Astronomy.

Themes of Chemistry Themes of Physics
Atomic Structure (molecule, element, compound) (Ch. 4, 5, 6) [Ch. 3, 4]
Periodic Table Of Elements (Ch.6) [Ch. 3]
Molecular Structure/Formulas (Ch.4, 5, 6) [Ch. 4, 5, 7]      
Conservation of Mass/Energy (Ch.8, 16) [Ch. 8, 14]
Chemical Changes (Chemical Reactions) (Ch.3) [Ch. 1, 8]
Physical Changes (Ch.3) [Ch. 1]     
Heat & Temperature (Ch.17) [Ch.16]
Acids/Bases/pH (Ch.9) [Ch. 9]
Pressure (Ch.14) [Ch. 12]
Force (Ch.13, 19, 5) [Ch. 12]  
Speed (Ch.12, 23, 24) [Ch. 13]
Velocity (Ch.12, 13, 16) [Ch. 13]    
Acceleration (Ch.12, 13) [Ch. 13]
Momentum (Ch.12) [Ch. 13]
Galileo's Theory of gravity (Ch.13) [Ch. 12]
Friction (Ch.13, 15, 19) [Ch. 12]
Newton's Laws of Motion (Ch.13) [Ch. 13]
Waves (Ch. 23-26) [Ch. 17-19

Here's a fun site. In fact some of the topics we cover in class are listed here. If you can ignore the constant ads (it is sponsored by Circuit City) it's pretty cool:

Estimated Time
Introduction to Earth Science
Accurately use scientific practices, the metric system, metric conversion and scientific notation to explore the nature of Earth Science.
Accurately measure and calculate length, volume, mass, and density using materials from the Earth’s four major spheres (hydrosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere).
Introduction (Class/Lab Tour, Syllabus, Diurnal Retrospection, Notes, Lab Reports, NNCE)
Lab Safety Info/Test (Ch.1)
Metric System, Density, Measuring Matter (Ch.1) [Ch.1, 2]
Scientific Method (Ch.1) [Ch. 1]
Scientific Notation


CA State Standards:
Investigation and Experimentation

Plate Tectonics/Plate Boundaries
Develop a model based on scientific evidence that explains the different layers of the Earth and describes the cycling of matter by mantle convection.
Analyze scientific evidence and develop a model that explains the process of plate tectonics, the various continental and ocean-floor features that form at the three plate boundaries, and the ages of crustal rock.

NGSS: ESS2-1, 3; ESS1-5

CA State Standards: 3a, b
Dynamic Earth Processes                                                                                     

3. Plate tectonics operating over geologic time has changed the patterns of land, sea, and mountains on Earth’s surface.
a. Features of the ocean floor (magnetic patterns, age, and sea-floor topography) provide evidence of plate tectonics. (Ch.19, 20) [Ch. 21]
b. The principal structures that form at the three different kinds of plate boundaries (convergent, divergent, transform)                                                        
c. Explain the properties of rocks based on the physical and chemical conditions in which they formed, including plate tectonic processes. (Ch.3) [Ch. 3]                      
d. Why and how earthquakes occur and the scales used to measure their intensity and magnitude. 
e. There are two kinds of volcanoes: one kind with violent eruptions producing steep slopes and the other kind with voluminous lava flows producing gentle slopes.                                                                                       

CA Resources/Hazards
Evaluate the geologic basis of natural resources and hazards in California, competing designs for the use of these natural resources based on cost-benefit ratios, and how natural resources and hazards have influenced human activity over time.

Explain the relationships between natural resource management, the sustainability of human populations and biodiversity

NGSS: ESS3-1, 2, 3

CA State Standards: 9a, b, c
California Geology                                                                                            

9. The geology of California underlies the state’s wealth of natural resources as well as its natural hazards.                                                              
a. Resources of major economic importance in California and their relation to California’s geology (water, minerals, oil, gas, energy-geothermal, wind, all types of production of electricity (Ch.19) [Ch. 20])             
b. The principal natural hazards in different California regions and the geologic basis of those hazards (earthquakes, volcanoes, flooding, fire hazard, landslides, tsunami)                                                                                  
c. Importance of water to society, the origins of California’s fresh water, and the relationship between supply and need. (water cycle)                                    
(Here's a cool pic of the Earth's lights from space. We don't necessarily cover this in class, but it shows population distribution throughout the world)

Atmospheric Structure, Evolution, And Human Impacts
Explain how the Earth’s atmosphere, surface and organisms have coevolved together over time.
Analyze and evaluate global climate models and data to show human impacts on global warming and forecast how global warming may change our Earth’s systems in the future.

NGSS: ESS2-7; ESS3-5

CA State Standards: 8a, b, c & 4
Structure and Composition of the Atmosphere                                                    
8. Life has changed Earth’s atmosphere, and changes in the atmosphere affect conditions for life.
a. Thermal structure and chemical composition of the atmosphere. (Ch. 17-21) [Ch. 11]                       
b. How the composition of Earth’s atmosphere has evolved over geologic time and know the effect of outgassing, the variations of carbon dioxide concentration, and the origin of atmospheric oxygen.                                              
c. The location of the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere, its role in absorbing ultraviolet radiation, and the way in which this layer varies both naturally and in response to human activities.  (Ch. 17) [Ch. 13]
Energy in the Earth System                                                                                 
4. Energy enters the Earth system primarily as solar radiation and eventually escapes as heat.                                                                                 
a. The relative amount of incoming solar energy compared with Earth’s internal energy and the energy used by society.
b. The fate of incoming solar radiation in terms of reflection, absorption, and photosynthesis.
c. The different atmospheric gases that absorb the Earth’s thermal radiation and the mechanism and significance of the greenhouse effect. (Ch. 17) [Ch. 13]           

(article on High/Low Pressure - clouds, weather, storms, etc.) -
Describe how variations of energy flow into and out of Earth’s geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere affect and change climate. Differentiate the causes and effects of sudden climatic changes (over 1-10 years), intermediate climatic changes (over 10 – 100,000’s of years), and long-term climatic changes (over millions of years or longer) over time.

NGSS: ESS2-4; ESS3-5

CA State Standards: 5a, b, c. d; 6a, b, c, d
5. Heating of Earth’s surface and atmosphere by the sun drives convection within the atmosphere and oceans, producing winds and ocean currents.
a. Differential heating of Earth results in circulation patterns in the atmosphere and oceans that globally distribute the heat. (Ch. 14-16) [Ch. 10]
b. The relationship between the rotation of Earth and the circular motions of ocean currents and air in pressure centers.
c. The origin and effects of temperature inversions. (Ch. 17) [Ch.  ]                                           
d. Properties of ocean water, such as temperature and salinity, can be used to explain the layered structure of the oceans, the generation of horizontal and vertical ocean currents, and the geographic distribution of marine organisms.
e. Rain forests and deserts on Earth are distributed in bands at specific latitudes.                                                    
6. Climate is the long-term average of a region’s weather and depends on many factors.                                                                                               
a. Weather (in the short run) and climate (in the long run) involve the transfer of energy into and out of the atmosphere. (Ch. 21) [Ch. 12-13]
b. The effects on climate of latitude, elevation, topography, and proximity to large bodies of water and cold or warm ocean currents.  (Ch. 21) [Ch. 12-13]                                  
c. How Earth’s climate has changed over time, corresponding to changes in Earth’s geography, atmospheric composition, and other factors, such as solar radiation and plate movement.                                                                      

Carbon/Nitrogen Cycles
Develop a model that demonstrates how carbon and nitrogen cycle between the hydrosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere.
nalyze data and make a claim that any change in the carbon or nitrogen cycle can create feedbacks that cause changes to other areas in the cycle.

ESS2-6; ESS2-2

CA State Standards: 5a, b, c. d; 6a, b, c, d
Biogeochemical Cycles                                                                                         

7. Each element on Earth moves among reservoirs, which exist in the solid earth, in oceans, in the atmosphere, and within and among organisms as part of biogeochemical cycles.
a. The carbon cycle of photosynthesis and respiration and the nitrogen cycle.
b. The global carbon cycle: the different physical and chemical forms of carbon in the atmosphere, oceans, biomass, fossil fuels, and the movement of carbon among these reservoirs.                                                                         
c. The movement of matter among reservoirs is driven by Earth’s internal and external sources of energy.

Solar System
Compare and contrast the location, composition and formation of the Sun, terrestrial planets, and gaseous (Jovian) planets in our solar system over time by evaluating evidence from Earth rocks, meteorite impacts and other planetary and lunar surface.
redict the motion of orbiting objects in the solar system using Newton’s gravitational laws of attraction and Kepler’s laws of planetary motion.

NGSS: ESS1-1; ESS1-4; ESS1-6

CA State Standards: 1a-1f
Earth’s Place in the Universe                                                                             
1.  Astronomy and planetary exploration reveal the solar system’s structure, scale, and change over time.                                                 
a. The differences and similarities among the sun, the terrestrial planets, and the gas planets may have been established during the formation of the solar system.
b. Evidence from Earth and moon rocks indicates that the solar system was formed from a nebular cloud of dust and gas approximately 4.6 billion years ago.
c. Evidence from geological studies of Earth and other planets suggest that the early Earth was very different from Earth today.
d. Evidence indicating that the planets are much closer to Earth than the stars are.
e. The Sun is a typical star and is powered by nuclear reactions, primarily the fusion of hydrogen to form helium. (Ch. 11-16) [Ch. 11] 
f. Evidence for the dramatic effects that asteroid impacts have had in shaping the surface of planets and their moons and in mass extinctions of life on Earth. (Ch. 23) [Ch. 17]       

Diagram and explain all the stages in the life cycle of a star and how stars produce all the elements and matter in our univers.
Construct an explanation of the Big Bang Theory by analyzing current evidence (light spectra, galaxy motion, and matter composition in the universe.

NGSS: ESS1-1; ESS1-2; ESS1-3

CA State Standards: 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d                                                                                         
2. Earth-based and space-based astronomy reveal the structure, scale, and changes in stars, galaxies, and the universe over time. As a basis for understanding this concept:                                                                           
a. The solar system is located in an outer edge of the disc-shaped Milky Way galaxy, which spans 100,000 light years.
b. Galaxies are made of billions of stars and comprise most of the visible mass of the universe.
c. Evidence indicating that all elements with an atomic number greater than that of lithium have been formed by nuclear fusion in stars.
d. Stars differ in their life cycles and that visual, radio, and X-ray telescopes may be used to collect data that reveal those differences.          

Even though is a shopping site, it has
some great pics of nebulae, galaxies, HST photos

All Year:
A. Investigation and Experimentation                                                                      
1. Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations.                                                                      
a. Select and use appropriate tools and technology (such as computer-linked probes, spreadsheets, and graphing calculators) to perform tests, collect data, analyze relationships, and display data.
b. Identify and communicate sources of unavoidable experimental error.
c. Identify possible reasons for inconsistent results, such as sources of error or uncontrolled conditions.
d. Formulate explanations by using logic and evidence.
e. Solve scientific problems by using quadratic equations and simple trigonometric, exponential, and logarithmic functions.
f. Distinguish between hypothesis and theory as scientific terms.
g. Recognize the usefulness and limitations of models and theories as scientific representations of reality.
h. Read and interpret topographic and geologic maps.
i. Analyze the locations, sequences, or time intervals that are characteristic of natural phenomena (e.g., relative ages of rocks, locations of planets over time, and succession of species in an ecosystem).
j. Recognize the issues of statistical variability and the need for controlled tests.
k. Recognize the cumulative nature of scientific evidence.
l. Analyze situations and solve problems that require combining and applying concepts from more than one area of science.
m. Investigate a science-based societal issue by researching the literature, analyzing data, and communicating the findings. Examples of issues include irradiation of food, cloning of animals by somatic cell nuclear transfer, choice of energy sources, and land and water use decisions in California.
n. Know that when an observation does not agree with an accepted scientific theory, the observation is sometimes mistaken or fraudulent (e.g., the Piltdown Man fossil or unidentified flying objects) and that the theory is sometimes wrong (e.g., the Ptolemaic model of the movement of the Sun, Moon, and planets).

Lots of different stuff from Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE)





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