Taken from: http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/scgrade6.asp
Last modified: Thursday, July 20, 2006
Grade SixScience Content Standards.
Focus on Earth Science
Plate Tectonics and Earth's Structure
- Plate tectonics accounts for important features of Earth's
surface and major geologic events. As a basis for understanding
- Students know evidence of plate tectonics is derived
from the fit of the continents; the location of earthquakes,
volcanoes, and midocean ridges; and the distribution of
fossils, rock types, and ancient climatic zones.
- Students know Earth is composed of several layers:
a cold, brittle lithosphere; a hot, convecting mantle; and
a dense, metallic core.
- Students know lithospheric plates the size of continents
and oceans move at rates of centimeters per year in response
to movements in the mantle.
- Students know that earthquakes are sudden motions
along breaks in the crust called faults and that volcanoes
and fissures are locations where magma reaches the surface.
- Students know major geologic events, such as earthquakes,
volcanic eruptions, and mountain building, result from plate
- Students know how to explain major features of
California geology (including mountains, faults, volcanoes)
in terms of plate tectonics.
- Students know how to determine the epicenter of
an earthquake and know that the effects of an earthquake
on any region vary, depending on the size of the earthquake,
the distance of the region from the epicenter, the local
geology, and the type of construction in the region.
Shaping Earth's Surface
- Topography is reshaped by the weathering of rock and soil
and by the transportation and deposition of sediment. As a basis
for understanding this concept:
- Students know water running downhill is the dominant
process in shaping the landscape, including California's
- Students know rivers and streams are dynamic systems
that erode, transport sediment, change course, and flood
their banks in natural and recurring patterns.
- Students know beaches are dynamic systems in which
the sand is supplied by rivers and moved along the coast
by the action of waves.
- Students know earthquakes, volcanic eruptions,
landslides, and floods change human and wildlife habitats.
Heat (Thermal Energy) (Physical Sciences)
- Heat moves in a predictable flow from warmer objects to cooler
objects until all the objects are at the same temperature. As
a basis for understanding this concept:
- Students know energy can be carried from one place
to another by heat flow or by waves, including water, light
and sound waves, or by moving objects.
- Students know that when fuel is consumed, most
of the energy released becomes heat energy.
- Students know heat flows in solids by conduction
(which involves no flow of matter) and in fluids by conduction
and by convection (which involves flow of matter).
- Students know heat energy is also transferred between
objects by radiation (radiation can travel through space).
Energy in the Earth System
- Many phenomena on Earth's surface are affected by the transfer
of energy through radiation and convection currents. As a basis
for understanding this concept:
- Students know the sun is the major source of energy
for phenomena on Earth's surface; it powers winds, ocean
currents, and the water cycle.
- Students know solar energy reaches Earth through
radiation, mostly in the form of visible light.
- Students know heat from Earth's interior reaches
the surface primarily through convection.
- Students know convection currents distribute heat
in the atmosphere and oceans.
- Students know differences in pressure, heat, air
movement, and humidity result in changes of weather.
Ecology (Life Sciences)
- Organisms in ecosystems exchange energy and nutrients among
themselves and with the environment. As a basis for understanding
- Students know energy entering ecosystems as sunlight
is transferred by producers into chemical energy through
photosynthesis and then from organism to organism through
- Students know matter is transferred over time from
one organism to others in the food web and between organisms
and the physical environment.
- Students know populations of organisms can be categorized
by the functions they serve in an ecosystem.
- Students know different kinds of organisms may
play similar ecological roles in similar biomes.
- Students know the number and types of organisms
an ecosystem can support depends on the resources available
and on abiotic factors, such as quantities of light and
water, a range of temperatures, and soil composition.
- Sources of energy and materials differ in amounts, distribution,
usefulness, and the time required for their formation. As a
basis for understanding this concept:
- Students know the utility of energy sources is
determined by factors that are involved in converting these
sources to useful forms and the consequences of the conversion
- Students know different natural energy and material
resources, including air, soil, rocks, minerals, petroleum,
fresh water, wildlife, and forests, and know how to classify
them as renewable or nonrenewable.
- Students know the natural origin of the materials
used to make common objects.
Investigation and Experimentation
- Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions
and conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding
this concept and addressing the content in the other three strands,
students should develop their own questions and perform investigations.
- Develop a hypothesis.
- Select and use appropriate tools and technology (including
calculators, computers, balances, spring scales, microscopes,
and binoculars) to perform tests, collect data, and display
- Construct appropriate graphs from data and develop qualitative
statements about the relationships between variables.
- Communicate the steps and results from an investigation
in written reports and oral presentations.
- Recognize whether evidence is consistent with a proposed
- Read a topographic map and a geologic map for evidence
provided on the maps and construct and interpret a simple
- Interpret events by sequence and time from natural phenomena
(e.g., the relative ages of rocks and intrusions).
- Identify changes in natural phenomena over time without
manipulating the phenomena (e.g., a tree limb, a grove of
trees, a stream, a hillslope).