Students embark on a journey of discovery about the structure and processes of planetary geology and explore the impact of human action, behaviour and perspectives. They investigate how we know about the structure of the planet; the formation of natural resources and the extraction of them from the earth and how the use of these natural resources has an impact on the environment. The unit incorporates the ethical issues surrounding the use of these resources. Students will research human impact on the planet including pollution, exhaustion of natural resources and global warming.
View how assessment is used in this unit plan. These assessments help students and teachers set understandable goals, monitor student progress, provide feedback, assess thinking, performance and products and reflect on learning throughout the activities.
Students’ Prior Knowledge
Teachers’ Professional Learning
Professional Learning Team
Whole class discussions involving joint constructions – creating class charts, writing and reviewing texts, and creating multimedia products.
Providing scaffolding through small group work utilising: teacher assistance, peer mentoring, planning scaffolds, guidance sheets (steps students need to take), class charts visible around the room. Whole class sessions to share information and research sources with the class.
Students work individually in pairs or small groups to research and complete independent tasks. Students utilise their planning strategies to complete their independent tasks and then conference with the teacher.
Teacher support materials include a Curriculum Framing Question Flow Chart (DOC 36.5KB)
See also the Unit Implementation Plan (DOC 43.5KB)
In small groups students complete a brainstorming activity and create a mind map or chart of their knowledge of the structure of the Earth. After researching appropriate information sites students create a multimedia presentation (PPT 241KB) to demonstrate to the class their understanding of Continental Drift, plate tectonics, mid-ocean ridges and magnetic floor striping.
Students research the biotic and abiotic features of the earth. They demonstrate their understanding of these features by creating a poster of either the carbon or nitrogen cycle.
To further their understanding of the impact of human resource use on the biosphere, students individually map the location of coal, peat, oil deposits in Australia. Using graphic organiser software, they then construct a flow chart showing the process of fractional distillation of crude oil.
Building on their knowledge from the previous activities students working in small groups, research renewable and non-renewable energy sources and then create a blog (DOC 163KB) as an interactive resource for students.
Using the knowledge they have gained students debate the topic Fossil fuels are good for society or Renewable energy is the only way to go! Students conduct independent research to validate their position. This debate can be an intra-class or cross class activity.
Each student designs a wiki (DOC 655KB) (or one wiki as a collaborative effort) to be published to students, staff and parents of the school explaining how they can help planet Earth survive by reducing pollution using alternative energy sources. This reinforces the idea “think globally, act locally” and could also be distributed to local schools, libraries and community groups.
Extensions: Teachers may choose to have groups of students undertake any or all of the following activities.
Students with special needs
English as a second language (ESL) students
Brett Loughman participated in the Intel® Teach Essentials Course, which resulted in this idea for a classroom project. A team of teachers expanded the plan into the example you see here.
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