Earth and Space Science (ESS)

Listed below are the Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI) for Earth and Space Science and bullet points for their specific grade band progression.

ESS1: Earth’s Place in the Universe

ESS1.B: Earth and the Solar System

Primary School (K-2)

  • Seasonal patterns of sunrise and sunset can be observed, described, and predicted.

Elementary School (3-5)

  • The orbits of Earth around the sun and of the moon around Earth, together with the rotation of Earth about an axis between its North and South poles, cause observable patterns. These include day and night; daily changes in the length and direction of shadows; and different positions of the sun, moon, and stars at different times of the day, month, and year.

Middle School (6-8)

  • The solar system consists of the sun and a collection of objects, including planets, their moons, and asteroids that are held in orbit around the sun by its gravitational pull on them.
  • This model of the solar system can explain eclipses of the sun and the moon. Earth’s spin axis is fixed in direction over the short-term but tilted relative to its orbit around the sun. The seasons are a result of that tilt and are caused by the differential intensity of sunlight on different areas of Earth across the year.

High School (9-12)

  • Kepler’s laws describe common features of the motions of orbiting objects, including their elliptical paths around the sun. Orbits may change due to the gravitational effects from, or collisions with, other objects in the solar system.
  • Cyclical changes in the shape of Earth’s orbit around the sun, together with changes in the tilt of the planet’s axis of rotation, both occurring over hundreds of thousands of years, have altered the intensity and distribution of sunlight falling on the earth. These phenomena cause a cycle of ice ages and other gradual climate changes.
  • The solar system appears to have formed from a disk of dust and gas, drawn together by gravity.

This is a table of the Disciplinary Core Ideas of Earth and Space Science. If coming from a Standard the specific bullet point used is highlighted and additional performance Expectations that make use of the Disciplinary Core Idea can be found below the table. To see all Disciplinary Core Ideas, click on the title "Disciplinary Core Ideas."

Other Standards That Use This Disciplinary Core Idea:

Middle School