Middle School: Investigating Life on the Third Rock

Listings > Middle School: Investigating Life on the Third Rock

This unit was developed by the Clark County School District's Curriculum and Professional Development Division Science Department.

Rating: Example of High Quality NGSS Design if Improved

Science Discipline: Earth & Space Sciences, Physical Sciences

Length: Unit

Year Reviewed: 2018

In Investigating Life on the Third Rock, middle school students work to generate and explore the overarching question of “How does the solar system and its objects affect life on Earth?” Students use modeling and argumentation to explore the lesson-level questions: “What properties of the solar system and its objects help explain why Earth can sustain life?” “Does the Moon affect life on Earth?” and “Why do the solar system and its objects move like they do?”

Link to Materials

Investigating Life on the Third Rock

Comment list iconReviews & Questions

Larry Monroe
Is there a teacher's edition to the materials. Just want to make sure I'm giving out the best info for the questions being asked to students.
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Achieve Admin
Hi Larry, In the document titled "Investigating Life on the Third Rock: A Unit Overview, Outline, and Document List," each investigation has a link to a separate google doc with teacher materials (starting on page 4). Let me know if that's what you're looking for!
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Sherry
I am working through the Investigations and when you get to Investigation 2.2 the link for the Seawifs project does not work. I have found it by googling the link but when you try and launch the site it continues to just show WGBH. Since the entire investigation is geared toward this site I would like some more guidance as to how to get it to work. Thanks.
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Lori
Hi Sherry, Thanks for pointing that out. I am one of the authors of the unit and appreciate the feedback! We have found the link does not work on a Chrome browser, as the link is a Shockwave Flash. We were able to get it to work in Firefox.
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Anne
Are there are rubrics with this unit? For example, in the Seasons Investigation, students are drawing a model and there is a list of things to include in the model. Has anything been developed as a tool to assess their models?
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Lori
Hi Anne, I'm one of the developers of the unit. You can find a rubric for each Investigation as a whole, but not specifically the Seasons lesson. In Appendix C of Investigation 2's Overview and Ancillary Documents, you can find a rubric that looks at students model of the Earth-Moon-Sun system over the course of the three lessons within that investigation (moon phases, seasons, and eclipses.) https://docs.google.com/document/d/15PKWg46JuUERpBmVPA00UdqHCWswTAu2VzlCJj6NHWQ/edit#heading=h.zdxdoqul9grb We decided that evaluating their model over time and looking at moon phases, seasons, and eclipses would give teachers a better understanding of student knowledge of the full DCI element called out in that PE. We will add your idea of having a checklist for components of the model that teachers and students can build together to our suggestions document for our later revision of the unit.
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Debby
Hi there- We will be using this unit for the first time this year. I tried the link for Activity 2.2 in Firefox and still get the WGBH page. Do you know if this link has been updated since Flash isn't working? Will there be a replacement activity or will this unit be updated to reflect this change, and, if so, do you have a timeline for the revision? We are looking forward to trying the unit otherwise. Thank you!
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NextGenScience Admin
Here's a response from the developer: "The following video from the California Academy of Sciences shows similar information that was in the Flash interactive: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzQ-e5UL9NY Students could be given this video in lieu of going to the Flash site." Hope that helps!
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Debby
Hi there- Is there anyone who has completed this unit with students that can share a sample model for each of those students will create? Is there a bank of community-created resources for this and other units? I completed the Oceans of Plastics unit last year and the sample models were INVALUABLE for my own learning as well as for guiding students' thinking as they practice modeling. There is no way I would have matched the level of excellence without them, and my students' learning and understanding was amplified as a result. I would greatly appreciate any help in this area. Thank you!
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Lori Henrickson
Hi Debby, While I don't know about other units, we (the developers of this unit) do not currently have a bank of community-created resources for this unit. I was the main author on this unit almost three years ago now and unfortunately we haven't had, nor do we currently have, the capacity to revise the material or create more resources for it. I was able to ask a friend who uses the unit with her 8th graders, Mara Brasser from Mannion Middle School in Henderson, NV, if she had any photos or samples and she did share the following: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1rxaRUoPgKRzWgvMvRPWoZEt9Bya_dq2H?usp=sharing
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Debby
Hi Lori- Thank you for taking the time to reach out to your friend, and thank you, Mara, for sharing your resources. It's great to see your students' work! I'm not sure whether you are teaching in person or remote in Nevada, but I hope your year is going well. It's been interesting to modify curriculum to match remote learning for sure! Again, I am grateful for your effort and would be happy to share back some day if possible. I didn't even think about posting a link here to share a folder or material, but that could start an impromptu community resources bank. Collaboration is such a benefit for everyone!
Grade
7
School Setting
Suburban
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4
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4
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5
Simulation
Is there any work being done to fix the simulations that use FLASH, now tat FLASH does not work?
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