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  • High School

    Earth's Place in the Universe

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Use mathematical or computational representations to predict the motion of orbiting objects in the solar system. HS-ESS1-4

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

A Peformance Expectation (PE) is what a student should be able to do to show mastery of a concept. Some PEs include a Clarification Statement and/or an Assessment Boundary. These can be found by clicking the PE for "More Info." By hovering over a PE, its corresponding pieces from the Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts will be highlighted.

By clicking on a specific Science and Engineering Practice, Disciplinary Core Idea, or Crosscutting Concept, you can find out more information on it. By hovering over one you can find its corresponding elements in the PEs.

Planning Curriculum

Common Core State Standards Connections


  • HSA-CED.A.2 - Create equations in two or more variables to represent relationships between quantities; graph equations on coordinate axes with labels and scales. (HS-ESS1-4)
  • HSA-CED.A.4 - Rearrange formulas to highlight a quantity of interest, using the same reasoning as in solving equations. (HS-ESS1-4)
  • HSA-SSE.A.1 - Interpret expressions that represent a quantity in terms of its context. (HS-ESS1-4)
  • HSN-Q.A.1 - Use units as a way to understand problems and to guide the solution of multi-step problems; choose and interpret units consistently in formulas; choose and interpret the scale and the origin in graphs and data displays. (HS-ESS1-4)
  • HSN-Q.A.2 - Define appropriate quantities for the purpose of descriptive modeling. (HS-ESS1-4)
  • HSN-Q.A.3 - Choose a level of accuracy appropriate to limitations on measurement when reporting quantities. (HS-ESS1-4)
  • MP.2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (HS-ESS1-4)
  • MP.4 - Model with mathematics. (HS-ESS1-4)

Model Course Mapping

First Time Visitors

Resources & Lesson Plans

  • More resources added each week!
    A team of teacher curators is working to find, review, and vet online resources that support the standards. Check back often, as NSTA continues to add more targeted resources.
  • Do you have a great resource to share with the community? Click here.
  • This activity engages learners to investigate the impact of Earth's tilt and the angle of solar insolation as the reason for seasons by doing a series of hands-on activities that include scale models. Students plot the path of the Sun's apparent move...

  • This teaching activity is an introduction to how ice cores from the cryosphere are used as indicators and record-keepers of climate change as well as how climate change will affect the cryosphere.

  • An applet about the Milankovitch cycle that relates temperature over the last 400,000 years to changes in the eccentricity, precession, and orbital tilt of Earth's orbit.

  • This animated visualization of precession, eccentricity, and obliquity is simple and straightforward and provides text explanations. It is a good starting place to show Milankovitch cycles.

  • An interactive that illustrates the relationships between the axial tilt of the Earth, latitude, and temperature. Several data sets (including temperature, Sun-Earth distance, daylight hours) can be generated.

  • This Motions of the Sun Lab is an interactive applet from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Astronomy Applet project.

  • This interactive activity, in applet form, guides students through the motion of the sun and how they relate to seasons.

Planning Curriculum gives connections to other areas of study for easier curriculum creation.