The 'Big Ideas' behind our current themes

Our elementary school Paleontology theme addresses such big ideas as:

  • Paleontology studies all ancient life, prehistoric plants, mammals, fish, insects, fungi, microbes; not just dinosaurs.
  • Fossils tell stories about Earth’s history.
  • Fossils are rare and the fossil record very incomplete.

By the end of the theme, we hope the students will know these basic facts:

  • The oldest known dinosaur lived about 228 million years ago.
  • Earth, 228 million years ago, was one large landmass called Pangea.
  • Humans did not live during the Age of Dinosaurs.
  • Cockroaches lived on Earth long before the first dinosaurs.
  • Dinosaurs laid eggs.
  • Modern birds are dinosaurs.
  • Sedimentary rocks are the best place to search for fossils.

Standards addressed by the theme mostly relate to the Diversity and Evolution of Living Organisms, such as:

  • SC.2.L.17.2 Recognize and explain that living things are found all over Earth, but each is only able to live in habitats that meet its basic needs.
  • SC.3.L.15.1 Classify animals into major groups (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, arthropods, vertebrates and invertebrates, those having live births and those which lay eggs) according to their physical characteristics and behaviors.
  • SC.5.L.15.1 Describe how, when the environment changes, differences between individuals allow some plants and animals to survive and reproduce while others die or move to new locations.

Check out these paleontology activities you can explore at home.

Our middle school Springs theme addresses science concepts

The big ideas include:

  • Water is a solvent.
  • Earth materials are solid rocks, soils, water and the atmosphere.
  • Objects have observable properties.
  • Organisms can only survive in environments where their needs are met.
  • Organisms change the environment in which they live.
  • Humans can change natural environments.

These ideas and our theme activities are related to standards in different categories:

NGSSS Understand how to use maps and other geographic representations, tools and technology to report information:

  • SS.5.G.1.2 Use latitude and longitude to locate places.

NGSSS Properties of Matter:

  • SC.8.P.8.8 Identify basic examples of and compare and classify the properties of compounds, including acids, bases, and salts.
  • SC.912.L.18.12 Discuss the special properties of water that contribute to Earth's suitability as an environment for life: cohesive behavior, ability to moderate temperature, expansion upon freezing, and versatility as a solvent.