Level 3

Alaska Science
Key Element

A student who meets the content standard should understand observable natural events such as tides, weather, seasons, and moon phases in terms of the structure and motion of the Earth (Earth).


green rule

Performance Standard Level 3, Ages 11–14

Students conduct research and make predictions about tides, weather, seasons, and phases of the moon and correlate these natural events to the motion of the Earth within our solar system.

Sample Assessment Ideas

green rule

Sample Assessment Ideas

  • Students use the Internet to collect weather data (temperature, sunlight, and so on) from two sites on Earth; determine seasonal patterns of each site; explain the patterns in terms of the Earth’s motion.

  • Students discuss tide levels; explore differences in tide levels for coastal Alaska; estimate tide levels for various latitudes and longitudes.

Expanded Sample Assessment Idea

green rule

Expanded Sample Assessment Idea

  • Students write a weather forecast using daily weather observations from multiple sources.


Students will:

  1. Interview Elders to identify traditional weather-prediction systems.

  2. Collect weather data (including temperature, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction, humidity, and precipitation) from direct observation or from secondary sources.

  3. Observe cloud formations and corresponding satellite weather pictures.

  4. Examine how the data correlates to weather patterns for the season and the year.

  5. Conduct Internet or library research to identify last year’s weather patterns for the same week.

  6. Write a forecast for the next week’s weather and justify the prediction.

  7. Share this information with the class.

Reflection and Revision

What science and scientific concepts form the basis for an explanation of traditional weather predictions? What information or evidence was the most useful to predict the weather for the next week? What additional information could increase the accuracy of your weather prediction for the next week?


Levels of Performance

Stage 4
stage fish stage fish
stage fish stage fish

Student work is complete, and shows evidence of logical reasoning. Student weather forecast uses multiple information sources to predict the weather, and describes the value of information sources. Student work shows detailed relevant evidence of weather-related knowledge.
Stage 3
stage fish
stage fish
stage fish
Student work is generally complete, and shows some evidence of logical reasoning. Student weather forecast uses several information sources to predict the weather and describes the value of some information sources. Student work shows evidence of relevant weather-related knowledge.
Stage 2
stage fish
stage fish
Student weather forecast may contain evidence from several sources, but may be incomplete, incorrect, or lack detail. Student work shows limited evidence of weather-related knowledge, and may contain errors of science fact and reasoning.
Stage 1
stage fish
Student weather forecast and explanations are largely incomplete or incorrect, and demonstrate little or no evidence of weather-related knowledge. Forecast may contain errors of science fact and reasoning.
Standards Cross-Reference green rule

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

National Science Education Standards

Global patterns of atmospheric movement influence local weather. Oceans have a major effect on climate because water in the oceans hold a large amount of heat. (Page 160)

Most objects in the solar system are in regular and predictable motion. Those motions explain such phenomena as the day, the year, phases of the moon, and eclipses. (Page 160)

Gravity is the force that keeps planets in orbit around the sun and governs the rest of the motion in the solar system. Gravity alone holds us to the Earth’s surface and explains the phenomena of the tides. (Page 161)

The sun is the major source of energy for phenomena on the Earth’s surface, such as growth of plants, winds, ocean currents, and the water cycle. Seasons result from variations in the amount of the sun’s energy hitting the surface, due to the tilt of the Earth’s rotation on its axis and the length of the day. (Page 161)



The Earth is mostly rock. Three-fourths of its surface is covered by a relatively thin layer of water (some of it frozen), and the entire planet is surrounded by a relatively thin blanket of air. It is the only body in the solar system that appears able to support life. The other planets have compositions and conditions very different from the Earth’s. (Page 68)

Everything on or anywhere near the Earth is pulled toward the Earth’s center by gravitational force. (Page 69)

Because the Earth turns daily on an axis that is tilted relative to the plane of the Earth’s yearly orbit around the sun, sunlight falls more intensely on different parts of the Earth during the year. The difference in heating of the Earth’s surface produces the planet’s seasons and weather patterns. (Page 69)

The moon’s orbit around the Earth once in about 28 days changes what part of the moon is lighted by the sun and how much of that part can be seen from the Earth–the phases of the moon. (Page 69)

Climates have sometimes changed abruptly in the past as a result of changes in the Earth’s crust, such as volcanic eruptions or impacts of huge rocks from space. Even relatively small changes in atmospheric or ocean content can have widespread effects on climate if the change lasts long enough. (Page 69)

The cycling of water in and out of the atmosphere plays an important role in determining climatic patterns. Water evaporates from the surface of the Earth, rises and cools, condenses into rain or snow, and falls again to the surface. The water falling on land collects in rivers and lakes, soil, and porous layers of rock, and much of it flows back into the ocean. (Page 69)

Heat energy created by ocean currents has a strong influence on climate around the world. (Page 69)

Table of Contents  |  Return to Alaska Native Knowledge Network