Middle School: Investigating Life on the Third Rock

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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

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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