Each unit is designed to take 8 to 9 weeks. Depending on the amount of material, and complexity of the topic, individual lessons may take 2 – 4 class periods. The units frequently require student computer use to access software such as Google Earth, datasets used for specific assignments, and videos related to unit content. While each unit focuses on a specific ecosystem in the United States, Amazonia or the Arctic, it also includes hands on or web-based investigations that students conduct locally.


In addition to disciplinary content, the curriculum strongly emphasizes science practices (for example, constructing evidence-based arguments), and several cross-cutting concepts (for example, systems and system models, stability and change). These three components – disciplinary content, science practices, and cross-cutting concepts – are all core components of the Framework for the Next Generation Science Standards.

Visit Next Generation Science Standards for more information about K-12 science standards.