Year 9 Planet Earth and Beyond
If we view Earth from space we see a planet which, unlike other planets in our solar system, has liquid water at the surface, clouds in its atmosphere, and large and small solid continents. It looks quite different from the other planets which are all cloud or cratered rock.
We tend to think that Earth looks beautiful compared with the other planets, but of course we’re biased. But at least we know that this combination of liquid water, rock and a gaseous atmosphere supports the life of which we’re a part.
In this course you’ll work through two main sections:
- Astronomy and our solar system – we’ll consider both the historical ideas about how our solar system came into being, as well as the current theories on this, while also thinking about how we can know some of these things when they happened so long ago, or are about places we can never physically get to. You’ll learn about astronomical knowledge Māori hold, as well as Māori narratives (stories) about the creation of Earth and what the various things we see in the sky might mean.
- Getting to know the planet we live on – in this second section of the course we’ll explore Earth in some detail, and you’ll become familiar with the four ‘spheres’: the geosphere (land, i.e. rocks and soil), the hydrosphere (water), the biosphere (living things) and the atmosphere (air). We’ll also take a look at the particular role of the water cycle, and the importance of water to both life on Earth and the way our lands are shaped through processes like weathering and erosion.
In addition, because it’s so important to understand the issue of climate change, we’ve taken the opportunity to highlight some of the relevant science covered by this course – which is hardly surprising, since climate change is the response of Earth’s systems to increasing accumulation of heat energy from the Sun.
This course will give you a good grounding in the basic knowledge and language you need to take forward to the Planet Earth and Beyond section of Year 10 Sciences.
How you’ll learn
People learn in different ways. Here are some of the ways you can learn and interact with the materials in this online course.
Self-paced learning – This online course is set up so you can learn at your own pace. So, although there are ‘suggested’ times for each page, they’re just a guideline. Plan your learning to suit you.
Diagrams, videos and interactions – Some people prefer to learn by reading, some by watching and listening, and some by doing. We’ve used diagrams, videos and interactions alongside the text, so that there’s something for everyone!
Practice activities – Throughout this course there are lots of short activities. These activities are for you to check your own understanding, not for someone to mark them. These activities give you a great chance to practise what you’ve learned and compare your answer with the model feedback without being assessed.
Glossary – We’ll be using some technical words and phrases in this course. To help you grow your vocab around the topics, the course includes an online glossary. When you see a word or phrase underlined in the text, move your cursor over it and a definition will pop up – easy as! You can also choose to print a copy of the full glossary.
Discussions – Sharing with others can also be a great way to learn. Talk with your classmates and teacher at school about the ideas you come across in this online course. Even chat to your whānau (family) at the dinner table about the things you’re learning – if you can explain the ideas to others, you can really be confident in your own understanding.