Level 2

Alaska Science
Key Element

A student who meets the content standard should understand how the Earth changes because of plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, erosion and deposition, and living things (Processes that Shape the Earth).


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Performance Standard Level 2, Ages 8–10

Students observe and describe changes in the local environment caused by weather, waves, wind, water, ice, and living organisms.

Sample Assessment Ideas

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Sample Assessment Ideas

  • Students take a field trip to observe and describe local geologic features (rivers, mountains, valleys, rock outcroppings, erosion, changes to tundra and permafrost, and so on); map the location of rocks they observe on the trip; discuss where these rocks may have originated, and what events might have caused rocks’ movement to this site.

  • Students identify local evidence of erosion and deposition of materials; explain the cause of erosion and deposition including forces of the river or sea.

Expanded Sample Assessment Idea

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Expanded Sample Assessment Idea

  • Students build a stream table to examine erosion.


Students will:

  1. Work with a team of 3–4 students to design and build a stream table that will demonstrate the effect of moving water on the Earth’s surface. (Use local soil, gravel, and rocks in a wooden box or plastic container.)

  2. Draw a diagram that shows the position of the rocks, gravel, and soil in the stream table.

  3. Tilt the table; pour a continuous supply of water onto the stream table.

  4. Draw another diagram that shows the changes created by water.

  5. Change the stream bed; make a new diagram that shows the change in the variable; add water; draw a diagram that shows the changes observed.

Reflection and Revision

What would happen if the quantity of water in the stream was increased? How can a stream table model be used to make predictions that would help the local community?


Levels of Performance

Stage 4
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Student work is complete, shows evidence of logical reasoning, and knowledge of changes in stream beds caused by moving water. Before and after diagrams are clearly labeled and contain multiple details of the stream table demonstration.
Stage 3
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Student work may contain minor errors or omissions but shows evidence of logical reasoning and knowledge of changes in the stream beds caused by moving water. Before and after diagrams are labeled and contain some details related to the stream table demonstration.
Stage 2
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Student work is incomplete, incorrect, lacks detail, may contain errors of science fact and reasoning, and shows limited evidence of knowledge of changes in the stream beds caused by moving water. Diagrams may show skilled artwork but limited information related to the stream table demonstration.
Stage 1
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Student work is mostly incomplete, incorrect, and contains errors of science fact and reasoning, and shows little or no evidence of knowledge of how moving water changes the steam beds. Diagrams may show skilled artwork, but do not describe the stream table demonstration.
Standards Cross-Reference blue rule

Standards Cross-References
( Alaska Department of Education & Early Development Standards

National Science Education Standards

The surface of the Earth changes. Some changes are due to slow processes, such as erosion and weathering, and some changes are due to rapid processes, such as landslides, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes. (Page 134)

Water, which covers the majority of the Earth’s surface, circulates through the crust, oceans, and atmosphere in what is known as the “water cycle.” Water evaporates from the Earth’s surface, rises and cools as it moves to higher elevations, condenses as rain or snow, and falls to the surface where it collects in lakes, oceans, soil, and in rocks underground. (Page 160)

Living organisms have played many roles in the Earth system, including affecting the composition of the atmosphere, producing some types of rocks, and contributing to the weathering of rocks. (Page 160)



Waves, wind, water and ice shape and reshape the Earth’s land surface by eroding rock and soil in some areas and depositing them in other areas, sometimes in seasonal layers. (Page 72)

Rock is composed of different combinations of minerals. Smaller rocks come from the breakage and weathering of bedrock and larger rocks. Soil is made partly from weathered rock, partly from plant remains-and also contains many living organisms. (Page 72)

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