Module Summary – Earth and Sun
Earth is the third planet from the Sun. It travels around the Sun in a nearly circular orbit at a distance of about 150 million kilometers. Earth is water rich, with 71% of the planet’s surface covered with water. It is surrounded by a shallow atmosphere of nitrogen (78%) and oxygen (21%), and small amounts of a lot of other gases. The atmosphere extends about 500 kilometers (km) above Earth’s surface, but most of the mass of the atmosphere is concentrated in the closest 9–20 km, the troposphere.
The constant renewal of water on Earth’s land surfaces by the activities in the atmosphere is one of the defining characteristics of Earth, the water planet. The Earth and Sun Module provides students with experiences to explore the properties of the atmosphere, energy transfer from the Sun to Earth, and the dynamics of weather and water cycling in Earth’s atmosphere. Other experiences help students to develop and use models to understand Earth’s place in the solar system, and the interactions of Earth, the Sun, and the Moon to reveal predictable patterns—daily length and direction of shadows, day and night, and the seasonal appearance of stars in the night sky. Students gain experiences that will contribute to the understanding of crosscutting concepts of patterns; cause and effect; scale, proportion, and quantity; systems and system models; and energy and matter.
For a description of each investigation in EARTH AND SUN and the correlations to the National Science Education Standards, download the EARTH AND SUN Module Overview PDF.
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