Unit 1:

Discovering New Worlds - Full Unit

What makes Earth so ideal for life to exist? Are there other Earth-like planets out in space?

For almost 12,000 years, Earth has been an ideal place for humans and other life to evolve. But a once very livable Earth is becoming less livable due to human-caused stresses to Earth’s systems. After brainstorming possible solutions, students will investigate the possibility of finding another Earth-like home in our galaxy. Students will develop a model to explain what makes Earth an ideal place for us to live based on patterns observed at different scales in data from simulations related to the stability of stars, planet formation, and planetary motion. They will use their models and explanations to consider other solar systems and to argue from evidence about which exoplanet is most Earth-like.

Unit 1 Teacher Guide

This Teacher Guide is intended to supplement the Teacher and Student Materials for Unit 1. While the Teacher Materials support teachers with what to do, this Guide tells them why, so that enactment decisions are informed by an understanding of the pedagogical approach; we believe this supports teachers to make modifications and adaptations that are aligned with the vision of NGSS. This Teacher Guide also provides additional support with the logistics of enactment, such as pacing, organizing materials, and labs. Routines are embedded into the Teacher Materials; however, this Teacher Guide provides more detailed information about when, why, and how to enact each routine.

Unit 1 Teacher Materials 

Teacher Materials provide the learning goals for the unit, guidance on when to use particular strategies, and an explanation of how to teach the unit in a way that is driven by student questions and ideas. Included in the Teacher Materials is an overview document called the Unit Plan, that summarizes the storyline of the unit and provides an outline for each of the learning sequences within the unit, highlighting key information. For each lesson sequence in the unit, the Teacher Materials also include step-by-step guidelines for enactment. Corresponding Student Materials include handouts for labs and investigations, formative assessments, and rubrics.

Unit 1 Student Materials

Anchor Phenomenon Launch and Performance Task

How the Sun Works 5E

Star Life Cycles 5E

Planets and Orbits 5E



0 Components