Earth Science

STUDY
PLAY
science
A way of learning about the natural world through observations and logical reasoning; leads to a body of knowledge.
Using empirical evidence to generate explanations of how the natural world works is an important part of science.
observing
The process of using one or more of the senses to gather information.
The biologist used both sight and sound when observing the behavior of birds.
inferring
The process of making an inference; an interpretation based on observations and prior knowledge.
It is important to use information gathered through observation when inferring something about a system.
predicting
The process of forecasting what will happen based on past experience or evidence.
The scientist used the results of her previous work when predicting what would happen in a new experiment.
scientific inquiry
The ongoing process of discovery in science; the diverse ways in which scientists study the natural world and propose explanations based on evidence they gather.
The geologist used scientific inquiry to guide his study of volcanoes.
hypothesis
A possible explanation for a set of observations or answer to a scientific question; must be testable.
After observing that smokers have a higher rate of lung cancer than nonsmokers, the scientist developed the hypothesis that chemicals in cigarette smoke cause cancer.
controlled experiment
An experiment in which only one variable is manipulated at a time.
In a controlled experiment to determine the effect of open car windows on gas mileage, the researchers drove 100 miles on a track in the same car with the windows open and with the windows closed.
manipulated/independent variable
The one factor that a scientist changes during an experiment.
In an experiment designed to test the effectiveness of three types of fertilizer on plant growth, the type of fertilizer is the manipulated or independent variable.
responding/dependent variable
The factor that changes as a result of changes to the manipulated, or independent, variable in an experiment.
In a study on the effects of different amounts of exercise on heart rate, heart rate is the responding or dependent variable.
scientific theory
A well-tested concept that explains a wide range of observations.
Darwin developed his scientific theory of evolution after observing over and over again the unique ways that organisms had adapted to their environments.
earth science
The science that focuses on planet Earth and its place in the universe.
The study of volcanic eruptions is one field in earth science.
system
A portion of the universe and all of its components, processes, and interactions.
Our solar system contains eight planets and one dwarf planet which orbit a single sun.
energy
The ability to do work or cause change.
The falling boulder had a lot of energy.
constructive force
A force that builds up mountains and landmasses on Earth's surface.
Constructive force created the Himalayas.
destructive force
A force that slowly wears away mountains and other features on the surface of Earth.
Destructive forces are wearing away the Appalachian mountains.
geologist
A scientist who studies the forces that make and shape planet Earth.
A geologist might study volcanoes or soil deposition.
oceanographer
A scientist who studies Earth's oceans.
An oceanographer might study sea floor spreading.
meteorologist
A scientist who studies the causes of weather and tries to predict it.
A meteorologist could tell you how to predict different weather patterns.
atronomer
A scientist who studies the universe beyond Earth.
It was the dream of the astronomer to someday visit Mars.
environmental scientist
A scientist who studies the effects of human activities on Earth's land, air, water, and living things and also tries to solve problems relating to the use of resources.
The environmental scientist was investigating the effects that a new factory had on a nearby lake.
Is this a controlled experiment?
he experiment is a controlled experiment because it is being tested under conditions established by the scientist.
Explain why scientists might use models to represent Earth's processes.
We use models in order to represent Earth's processes on a smaller scale so that it is easier to study them.
Earth is comprised of four systems, or spheres. Describe how these four spheres work together as a system.
Earth is made up of four spheres: the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. Changes in any part of the Earth's system affects all other spheres. For example, storms form in the atmosphere which bring rain. The rain affects the hydrosphere by increasing the amount of water in a river, which affect the flow of the river. Flowing rivers change the surface of the lithosphere. Plants and animals in the biosphere depend on water to survive.
Earth is comprised of four systems, or spheres. Which of these spheres do each of the five branches of Earth Science study?
Geologists study the lithosphere. Oceanographers study the hydrosphere. Meteorologists study the atmosphere. Astronomers focus beyond the Earth System and study the systems of other planets and heavenly bodies. And environmental scientists might study the atmosphere, biosphere, or hydrosphere.
What are the main concepts that make up the study of Earth Science?
The big ideas in Earth Science include the structure and history of Earth including the constructive and destructive forces that have formed it. Another main idea in Earth Science is the investigation of the Earth in the context of the solar system and universe.
Describe the type of attitude that would help to make a good scientist.
Scientists know that very little is an established fact. Good scientists have an inquisitive attitude that leads them to want to question and test everything.
Compare and contrast scientific hypotheses, scientific theories, and scientific laws.
A scientific hypothesis is a possible explanation for a set of observations or answer to a scientific question. A hypothesis is not a fact, but one possible way to explain a group of observations. It is important for a scientific hypothesis to be testable. A scientific theory is a well-tested explanation for a wide range of related observations or experimental results. Like a hypothesis, which is not accepted until it is tested repeatedly, a theory is accepted by scientists only when there is a large body of evidence that supports it. As with a hypothesis, scientists will modify or discard an accepted theory if future testing proves it to be incorrect. However, unlike a scientific hypothesis or scientific law, a scientific theory explains many different but related observations. A scientific law describes a pattern observed in nature. Unlike a scientific hypothesis or a scientific theory, a scientific law does not attempt to explain the pattern. Like a hypothesis or a theory, a law is based on evidence from observation or experimentation. Scientific laws can be thought of as rules of nature.
How might a geologist study the history of Earth?
Geologist might study the layers of rock that make up the lithosphere to investigate ancient conditions on Earth. They may also look for evidence of the ways that constructive and destructive forces have changed the lithosphere during Earth's history.
Why do you think that astronomers are considered to be Earth Scientists?
One of the main ideas of Earth Science is the study of Earth and the solar system. Additionally, astronomers might study other planets and objects in the solar system to learn more about the history and structure of Earth.
density
The ratio of the mass of a substance to the volume of the substance.
mass
the amount of matter in an object
area
measure of the size of a surface or a region.
temperature
A measure of how hot (or cold) something is; specifically, a measure of the average kinetic energy of the particles in an object
volume
the total amount of space an object occupies.
meter
The basic unit of length in the SI (symbol, m).
model
Any representation of an object or event that is used as a tool for understanding the natural world; can communicate observations and ideas, test predictions, and save time, money and lives.
table
Presents information in rows and columns.
bar graph
A type of graph that uses bars of varying sizes to show the relationship among variables.
graph
A pictorial device used to illustrate quantitative relationships.
circle graph
A type of graph that shows the parts of a whole; sometimes called a pie graph, each piece of which represents a percentage of the total.
line graph
A diagram of lines made by connected data points which represent changes in the value of a variable quantity or quantities.
critical thinking
Involves using knowledge and thinking skills to evaluate evidence and explanations.
data
Information gathered during an investigation recorded in the form of description, tables, graphs or drawings.
map
A representation of the features of a physical body such as Earth.
true north
The direction to the geographic North Pole.
magnetic declination
The difference between the magnetic north and the true north.
latitude
The distance north or south from the equator; expressed in degrees.
equator
The imaginary circle halfway between the poles that divides the Earth into the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
longitude
The distance east and west from the prime meridian; expressed in degrees.
prime meridian
The meridian, or line of longitude, that is designated as 0° longitude.
topographic map
A map that shows the surface features of Earth.
elevation
The height of an object above sea level.
contour line
A line that connects points of equal elevation.
contour interval
The difference in elevation between one contour line and the next.
relief
The variations in elevation of a land surface.
index contour
On a map, a darker, heavier contour line that is usually every fifth line and that indicates a change in elevation.
surveying
The process of gathering data for a map by using instruments and the principles of geometry to determine distance and elevations.
digitizing
Converting information to numbers for use by a computer.
satellite image
Pictures of the land surface based on computer data collected from satellites.
pixel
The tiny dots in a satellite image.
Global Positioning System
A method of finding latitude and longitude using a network of satellites.
mineral
A natural, usually inorganic solid that has a characteristic chemical composition, an orderly internal structure, and a characteristic set of physical properties.
igneous rock
Rock that forms when magma cools and solidifies.
weathering
The natural process by which atmospheric and environmental agents, such as wind, rain, and temperature, change, disintegrate, and decompose rocks.
sedimentary rock
A rock formed from compressed or cemented layers of sediment.
metamorphic rock
A rock that forms from other rocks as a result of intense heat, pressure, or chemical processes.
mineral
A naturally occurring inorganic solid that has a crystal structure and a definite chemical composition.
inorganic
A substance not having the structure or organization characteristic of living bodies.
crystal
A solid in which the atoms are arranged in a pattern that repeats again and again.
streak
The color of a mineral's powder.
luster
The way a mineral reflects light from its surface.
Mohs hardness scale
A scale ranking ten minerals from softest to hardest; used in testing the hardness of minerals.
cleavage
A mineral's ability to split easily along flat surfaces.
fracture
The way a mineral looks when it breaks apart in an irregular way.
geode
A hollow rock inside which mineral crystals have formed.
crystallization
The process by which atoms are arranged to form a material with a crystal structure.
magma
The molten mixture of rock-forming substances, gases, and water from the mantle.
lava
Liquid magma that reaches the surface; also, the rock formed when liquid lava hardens.
solution
A mixture in which one substance is dissolved in another.
vein
A narrow deposit of a mineral that is sharply different from the surrounding rock.
gem
Beautiful, rare, highly prized mineral that can be worn in jewelry.
ore
Deposit in which a mineral exists in large enough amounts to be mined at a profit.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE...