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ICS Yearlong Curriculum Map
Ecology/Biochemical Cycles
6. Stability in an ecosystem is a balance between competing effects. As a basis for understanding
this concept:
a. Students know biodiversity is the sum total of different kinds of organisms and is affected by alterations of
b. Students know how to analyze changes in an ecosystem resulting from changes in climate, human
activity, introduction of nonnative species, or changes in population size.
c. Students know how fluctuations in population size in an ecosystem are determined by the relative rates of
birth, immigration, emigration, and death.
d. Students know how water, carbon, and nitrogen cycle between abiotic resources and organic matter in
the ecosystem and how oxygen cycles through photosynthesis and respiration.
e. Students know a vital part of an ecosystem is the stability of its producers and decomposers.
f. Students know at each link in a food web some energy is stored in newly made structures but much
energy is dissipated into the environment as heat. This dissipation may be represented in an energy
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. As a basis for
understanding this concept:
a. Students know the carbon cycle of photosynthesis and respiration and the nitrogen cycle.
b. Students know 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. Students know the movement of matter among reservoirs is driven by Earth’s internal and external
sources of energy.
9. The geology of California underlies the state’s wealth of natural resources as well as its natural
hazards. As a basis for understanding this concept:
b. Students know the principal natural hazards in different California regions and the geologic basis of those
c. Students know the importance of water to society, the origins of California’s fresh water, and the
relationship between supply and need.
Dynamic Earth Processes
3. Plate tectonics operating over geologic time has changed the patterns of land, sea, and mountains
on Earth’s surface. As the basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know features of the ocean floor (magnetic patterns, age, and sea-floor topography) provide
evidence of plate tectonics.
b. Students know the principal structures that form at the three different kinds of plate boundaries.
c. Students know how to explain the properties of rocks based on the physical and chemical conditions in
which they formed, including plate tectonic processes.
d. Students know why and how earthquakes occur and the scales used to measure their intensity and
e. Students know 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.
Lesson/Activity Order
This unit is designed to help students understand why buildings have codes and
are built in certain geographic areas. One can begin the unit by looking at
housing structures from all around the world and the students predict why the
houses where built that way.
1. Make-up of the ocean floor
 Lava lamp/sparkle lamp demonstration
 Vocabulary building: ocean floor, magma, lithosphere,
asthenosphere, crust, inner core, outer core, density, hot spot
 Coloring worksheet
 Density activity (earth com)
 Density calculations
 Ocean floor magnetism activity (earth com)
Plate Boundaries
 Coloring worksheet
 Pangea- magnetism
 Magnets activity
 Types of plate boundaries- identification/classification
 Vocabulary: sliding, converging, diverging, collision, subduction,
trenches, fault, volcanoes, earthquakes
 Activity at plate boundaries
 Marianas Trench Found poem
 Creating a comprehensive map of plate movement on earth
Rock Cycle
 Graphic organizer- types of rocks
 Classifying types of rocks activity- with lecture on where the rocks
are found and how are they formed
 Graphic organizer: three types of volcanoes
(stratovolcano/composite, shield, scoria cone) compare and
contrast make-up and characteristics
 Volcanologist activity (with earth com map)
 Dante’s Peak activity
 Create your own volcano project
 Topographic map activity (if there is time- not addressed in
 Mt Vesuvius video (national geographic)
 San Francisco literacy activity
 Earthquake activities: building structures that withstand
earthquakes, height that relates to vibration
 Magnitude, the Richter Scale
 Dynamic Earth Processes Book
 10.0 video (2004 made for tv movie)
 Culminating Task: choosing a sight to build a new structure
1. The periodic table displays the elements in increasing atomic number and shows how periodicity
of the physical and chemical properties of the elements relates to atomic structure. As a basis for
understanding this concept:
a. Students know how to relate the position of an element in the periodic table to its atomic number and
atomic mass.
b. Students know how to use the periodic table to identify metals, semimetals, non-metals, and halogens.
c. Students know how to use the periodic table to identify alkali metals, alkaline earth metals and transition
metals, trends in ionization energy, electronegativity, and the relative sizes of ions and atoms.
d. Students know how to use the periodic table to determine the number of electrons available for bonding.
e. Students know the nucleus of the atom is much smaller than the atom yet contains most of its mass.
2. Biological, chemical, and physical properties of matter result from the ability of atoms to
form bonds from electrostatic forces between electrons and protons and between atoms and
molecules. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know atoms combine to form molecules by sharing electrons to form covalent or metallic bonds
or by exchanging electrons to form ionic bonds.
b. Students know chemical bonds between atoms in molecules such as H2, CH4, NH3, H2CCH2, N2, Cl2,
and many large biological molecules are covalent.
c. Students know salt crystals, such as NaCl, are repeating patterns of positive and negative ions held
together by electrostatic attraction.
5. Acids, bases, and salts are three classes of compounds that form ions in water solutions. As a
basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know the observable properties of acids, bases, and salt solutions.
c. Students know strong acids and bases fully dissociate and weak acids and bases partially dissociate.
7. Energy is exchanged or transformed in all chemical reactions and physical changes of matter. As
a basis for understanding this concept:
b. Students know chemical processes can either release (exothermic) or absorb (endothermic) thermal
c. Students know energy is released when a material condenses or freezes and is absorbed when a material
evaporates or melts.
Lesson/Activity Order
Chemistry Unit is based around the recent mission(s) to Mars. Unit should begin
with two literacy activities centered on history of Mars/space missions.
1. Matter- What is matter?
 Vocabulary building with graphic organizer & examples:
homogeneous, heterogeneous, mixture, substance, solution,
compound, element, atom, molecule
 Classifying different substances/solutions using vocabulary
 Microscope literacy activity
 Phase changes concept building: melting, freezing, sumblimination
2. Energy- What is energy?
 Relate energy to phase changes kinesthetic demonstration
3. Atomic Structure
 Vocabulary building with graphic organizer: atom, proton, electron,
neutron, positive charge, negative, electron shell, atomic/subatomic
 Kinesthetic activity “building an atom” with beans for atomic
 Introduce how to read the periodic table. Vocabulary: atomic
number, atomic mass, atomic symbol.
 Calculating #protons, #electrons, #neutrons given certain
information worksheets.
 Introduce trends in the periodic table: discuss the concept of
“families” of elements.
 Vocabulary building: metals, non-metals, noble gases, halogens,
alkali, alkaline-earth, transition metals.
 Adopt an element on the periodic table activity
 Kinesthetic activity: calculating # of valence electrons with beans
 Calculating valence electrons worksheets
 Review trends in the periodic table: groups figuring out how many
trends there are (size, electronegativity, ionization energy, bonding
 Vocabulary building: electronegativity, ionization energy
 Bill Nye’s atomic structure video
4. Atomic Bonding
 Kinesthetic activity: calculating ionic charge with beans
 Lewis dot diagrams- of atoms and atoms bonding
 Atom smashing literacy activity
 Chemical bonding (ionic versus covalent)
 Chemical bonding worksheets- figuring out atomic structure/identity
of elements based on their bonding
 Second literacy activity on Mars and “terraforming”
 Culminating Task: “Fremontium”
5. Chemical versus Physical Changes
 Vocabulary building (graphic organizer) reactants, products
 “4 Station” Activity that investigates chemical vs physical changes:
this activity focuses on observation techniques in chemistry
1. glow stick/phenolphthalein station
2. alkaceltzer in water/exothermic/endothermic reaction station
3. saturated/super saturated solutions station
4. burning candle and/or steel wool station
For fun: making “gak” if there is time and discuss the chemistry of gak.
6. Acids/Bases
 Reading on common household acids and bases.
 Graphic organizer: acids, salt solutions and bases (compare and
 Vocabulary building: ion, dissociate, weak vs. strong, hydronium
ion, hydroxide ion, salt
 Demonstration that introduces testing for acids/bases/salt solutions
 Make temporary “if/then” statements
 Test “if/then” statements on known acids and bases to create flow
 Test flow chart on unknown household substances.
 What happens when you add an acid and a base together (water
and salt worksheet)
 Chemistry Book: Atomic Structure and Acids/Bases
 Culminating task: Dr Spongebob Squarepants
4. Waves have characteristic properties that do not depend on the type of wave. As a basis for
understanding this concept:
a. Students know waves carry energy from one place to another.
b. Students know how to identify transverse and longitudinal waves in mechanical media, such as springs
and ropes, and on the earth (seismic waves).
d. Students know sound is a longitudinal wave whose speed depends on the properties of the medium in
which it propagates.
e. Students know radio waves, light, and X-rays are different wavelength bands in the spectrum of
electromagnetic waves whose speed in a vacuum is approximately 3 x 108 m/s (186,000 miles/second).
f. Students know how to identify the characteristic properties of waves: interference (beats), diffraction,
refraction, Doppler Effect, polarization.
5. Electric and magnetic phenomena are related and have many practical applications. As a basis for
understanding this concept:
d. Students know the properties of transistors and the role of transistors in electric circuits.
e. Students know charged particles are sources of electric fields and are subject to the forces of the electric
fields from other charges.
h. Students know changing magnetic fields produce electric fields, thereby inducing currents in nearby
i. Students know plasmas, the fourth state of matter, contain ions or free electrons or both and conduct
Lesson/Activity Order
This physics unit is designed around practical application of physics in modern
day society (in the natural world and technology).
1. Waves
 Identifying waves in everyday situations
 Experiments with “slinkies”
 Vocabulary: transverse, longitudinal (compression), sound,
electromagnetic (light, x-rays), mechanical, parallel, perpendicular
 Properties of a wave vocabulary: frequency, wavelength, amplitude,
speed = wavelength * frequency, period
 Wave properties lab
 Literacy Doppler Effect
 Vocabulary: compression and rarefraction
 Literacy Noise Pollution
 Sound cups activity; vocabulary: interference
 Literacy How do cell phones work
 Waves in science: literacy Ultrasounds and sonar
 Electromagnetic Waves vocabulary: diffraction, refraction,
polarization, reflection
 Physics video: wave properties with handout
 Wave Book
 Culminating Task
2. Electricity
3. Magnetism