Unit Outlines Standards

Earth Systems Version: CPS05-06

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Essential Question

How do a thermometer, barometer, & hygrometer work and on what fundamental physical properties are they based? How do the interactions of air, water, solar energy, and land cause a cumulus cloud to form on a sunny summer day and turn into a thunderstorm by early evening? How do the different types of clouds reflect the processes that formed them? How can weather station data for surface barometric pressure and temperature range be used to make weather predictions? How can you predict general wind directions at different locations on Earth? How are hurricanes & tornadoes alike & how are they different? Why do weather patterns change through history?

Topic 1

A Systems Perspective

  • Intro to Systems
  • The "Spheres"
  • The Cycles
  • Interrelationships
  • Components of Weather
  • Topic 1 Vocabulary

    • systems
    • atmosphere
    • hydrosphere
    • geosphere
    • biosphere
    • water cycle
    • rock cycle
    • biogeochemical cycles

    Topic 1 Standards and Elements


    Topic 2


  • Composition
  • Air Pressure
  • Structure of Atmosphere
  • Wind
  • Global Wind Patterns
  • Air Masses
  • Fronts
  • Topic 2 Vocabulary

    • barometer
    • lapse rates
    • pressure gradient force
    • Coriolis effect
    • geostrophic Wind
    • trade winds
    • high and low pressure
    • jet streams
    • cold, warm, stationary, &
    • occluded fronts

    Topic 2 Standards and Elements


    Topic 3

    Atmospheric Water

  • The Molecule
  • Water Properties
  • Phase Changes
  • Moisture
  • Cloud Formation
  • Cloud Types
  • Topic 3 Vocabulary

    • universal solvent
    • condensation
    • precipitation
    • hygrometer
    • relative vs. absolute humidity
    • lifting condensation level
    • orographic lifting
    • rain shadow
    • convergence
    • cumulus, cirrus, stratus, &
    • nimbus clouds

    Topic 3 Standards and Elements


    Topic 4

    Solar Energy & Earth Surface

  • Nature of Solar Radiant Energy
  • Energy Budget
  • Water & Land Energy Absorption
  • Topic 4 Vocabulary

    • temperature
    • heat
    • infrared, visible, &
    • Ultraviolet radiation
    • conduction
    • convection
    • land &
    • sea breezes
    • incident, absorbed, reflected, and re-emitted solar energy
    • albedo
    • specific heat
    • greenhouse effect

    Topic 4 Standards and Elements


    Topic 5

    Weather & Climate

  • United States Weather Patterns
  • Severe Weather
  • Weather Forecasts
  • Recurring Weather
  • Causes of Climate
  • Climate Classification
  • Climate Change
  • Topic 5 Vocabulary

    • weather station model
    • barometric pressure map
    • isotherm map
    • weather radar
    • weather satellites
    • thunderstorms
    • lightning
    • tornadoes
    • hurricanes
    • Ice Ages
    • seasons
    • El Nino and La Nina

    Topic 5 Standards and Elements


    Unit Vocabulary


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