Major Funding The Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation

Glaciers: Standards

Idaho Common Core State Standards

Here are correlations to the National Common Core Language and Math standards and to the Idaho State Science Standards. If you'd like, you may go directly to the Idaho science standards for this topic. For more information about the overall standards, see the complete Idaho Content Standards for Science, the Next Generation Science Standards, the Common Core Language standards, or the Common Core Math standards.


Fourth Grade

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.2 [CCSS page]

Write informative/explanatory texts to convey ideas and information clearly.

Suggested Lesson:

After doing the experiment Glacial Pressure, write a paragraph explaining how this activity illustrates the process by which glaciers are formed.

Fifth Grade

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.8 [CCSS page]

Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text, identifying which reasons and evidence support which point.

Suggested Lesson:

After reading the literary selection Ice Sculptures, identify how the author used evidence to support the idea that glaciers leave behind clues telling us they were once there.

Sixth Grade


Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content. Develop the topic with relevant facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.

Suggested Lesson:

Students research at least three sources and write a report to answer one of these five questions: How do glaciers form? How do glaciers move? How do glaciers affect the landscape? Why are glaciers important to our planet? Why are glaciers shrinking, and what could be the possible effects?


Second Grade

CCSS.Math.Content.2.NBT.B.5 [CCSS page]

Fluently add and subtract within 100 using strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction.

Suggested Lesson:

Use addition and subtraction to solve glacier word problems, such as those from this worksheet. Example: If a glacier moves 17 miles in 10 years, and then 14 miles in the next 10 years, how many miles has the glacier moved in 20 years?

Fourth Grade

CCSS.Math.Content.4.OA.A.3 [CCSS page]

CCSS.Math.Content.4.NBT.B.6 [CCSS page]

Solve word problems posed with whole numbers and having whole-number answers using the four operations.
Find whole-number quotients and remainders with up to four-digit dividends and one-digit divisors.

Suggested Lesson:

Solve real-life problems involving glaciers, as in: One side of a mountain is 5,280 feet long. If a glacier were to start at the very top of the mountain and travel 3 feet per year, how long would it take the glacier to reach the bottom of the mountain?

Sixth Grade

CCSS.Math.Content.6.SP.B.5 [CCSS page]

Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context, such as by reporting the number of observations, describing the attribute under investigation, and giving quantitative measures of center.

CCSS Math.Content.6.RP.A.3B & 3D [CCSS page]

Solve unit rate problems. Use ratio reasoning to convert measurement units; manipulate and transform units appropriately when multiplying or dividing quantities.

Suggested Lesson:

Based on this Glacier Retreat lesson, use NASA data from 1973, 1991, and 2000 to calculate the average rate of glacial retreat per year.



Physical Sciences: PS2-K-1 [ICS page]

Make observations to determine the effect of sunlight on Earth's surface.

Supporting Content:

Sunlight warms Earth's surface. Examples of Earth's surface could include sand, soil, rocks, water, etc. Assessment of temperature is limited to relative measures such as warmer/cooler.

Earth and Space Sciences: ESS2-K-3 [ICS page]

Communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on land, water, or air.

Supporting Content:

Things that people do to live comfortably can affect the world around them. But they can make choices that reduce their impacts on the land, water, air, and other living things. Designs can be conveyed through sketches, drawings, or physical models. These representations are useful in communicating ideas for a problem's solutions to other people.

Second Grade

Earth and Space Sciences: ESS1-2-1 [ICS page]

Use information from several sources to provide evidence that Earth events can occur quickly or slowly.

Supporting Content:

Some events happen very quickly; others occur very slowly, over a time period much longer than one can observe. An examples is the erosion of rocks, which occurs slowly.

Earth and Space Sciences: ESS2-2-3 [ICS page]

Obtain information to identify where water is found on Earth and that it can be solid, liquid or gas.

Supporting Content:

Water is found in the ocean, rivers, lakes, and ponds. Water exists as solid ice and in liquid form. Wind and water can change the shape of the land.

Physical Sciences: PS1-2-1 [ICS page]

Plan and conduct an investigation to describe and classify different kinds of materials by their observable properties.

Supporting Content:

Different kinds of matter exist and many of them can be solid, liquid, or gas depending on temperature. Matter can be described and classified by its observable properties. Observations could include color, texture, hardness, and flexibility. Different properties are suited to different purposes.

Physical Sciences: PS1-2-4 [ICS page]

Construct an argument with evidence that some changes caused by heating or cooling can be reversed and some cannot.

Supporting Content:

Heating or cooling a substance may cause changes that can be observed. Sometimes these changes are reversible, and sometimes they are not.

Third Grade

Earth and Space Sciences: ESS1-3-1 [ICS page]

Represent data in tables and graphical displays to describe typical weather conditions expected during a particular season.

Supporting Content:

Scientists record patterns of the weather across different times and areas so that they can make predictions about what kind of weather might happen next. Examples of data could include average temperature and precipitation.

Earth and Space Sciences: ESS1-3-2 [ICS page]

Obtain and combine information to describe climates in different regions of the world.

Supporting Content:

Climate describes a range of an area's typical weather conditions and the extent to which those conditions vary over years.

Physical Sciences: PS1-3-1 [ICS page]

Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.

Supporting Content:

Each force acts on one particular object and has both strength and a direction. An object at rest typically has multiple forces acting on it, but they add to give zero net force on the object. Forces that do not sum to zero can cause changes in the object's speed or direction of motion. Gravity is addressed as a force that pulls objects down.

Fourth Grade

Earth and Space Sciences ESS1-4-1 [ICS page]

Identify evidence from patterns in rock formations and fossils in rock layers for changes in a landscape over time to support an explanation for changes in a landscape over time.

Supporting Content:

Local, regional, and global patterns of rock formations reveal changes over time due to earth forces.

Earth and Space Sciences ESS2-4-1 [ICS page]

Make observations and/or measurements to provide evidence of the effects of weathering or the rate of erosion by water, ice, wind, or vegetation.

Supporting Content:

Examples of variables to test could include angle of slope in the downhill movement of water, speed of wind, relative rate of deposition, cycles of freezing and thawing of water, cycles of heating and cooling, and volume of water flow. Water, ice, wind, living organisms, and gravity help to shape the land, and break rocks, soils, and sediments into smaller particles and move them around.

Earth and Space Sciences ESS2-4-2 [ICS page]

Analyze and interpret data from maps to describe patterns of Earth's features.

Supporting Content:

The locations of Earth's features occur in patterns. Maps can include topographic maps of Earth's land and ocean floor, as well as maps of the locations of mountains and continental boundaries. Maps can help locate the different land and water features areas of Earth.

Fifth Grade

Earth and Space Sciences ESS2-5-1 [ICS page]

Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact.

Supporting Content:

Earth's major systems are the geosphere (solid and molten rock, soil, and sediments), the hydrosphere (water and ice), the atmosphere (air), and the biosphere (living things, including humans). These systems interact in multiple ways to affect Earth's surface materials and processes.

Earth and Space Sciences ESS2-5-2 [ICS page]

Describe and graph the amounts and percentages of water and fresh water in various reservoirs to provide evidence about the distribution of water on Earth.

Supporting Content:

Earth's water is contained in oceans, lakes, rivers, glaciers, ground water, and polar ice caps. Nearly all of Earth’s available water is in the ocean. Most fresh water is in glaciers or underground; only a tiny fraction is in streams, lakes, wetlands, and the atmosphere.

Earth and Space Sciences ESS3-5-1 [ICS page]

Support, obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth's resources and environment.

Supporting Content:

Human activities in agriculture, industry, and everyday life have effects on the land, vegetation, streams, ocean, and air. Individuals and communities are doing things to help protect Earth's resources and environments.

Physical Sciences PS2-5-1 [ICS page]

Support an argument that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed down.

Supporting Content:

“Down” is a local description of the direction that points toward the center of the spherical Earth.

Sixth Grade/Middle School

Life Sciences LS2-MS-5 [ICS page]

Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.

Supporting Content:

Ecosystems are dynamic and vary over time. Disruptions to any component of an ecosystem can lead to shifts in all other components. Emphasis is on recognizing patterns in data and making warranted inferences about changes, and on evaluating empirical evidence supporting arguments about changes to ecosystems.

Earth and Space Sciences ESS1-MS-4 [ICS page]

Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence from rock strata for how the geologic time scale is used to organize Earth's history.

Supporting Content:

The geologic time scale interpreted from rock strata provides a way to organize Earth's history. Emphasis is on how analyses of rock formations are used to establish relative ages of major events in Earth's history. Examples of Earth's major events could range from being very recent, such as the last Ice Age, to the very old, such as the formation of Earth.

Earth and Space Sciences ESS2-MS-1 [ICS page]

Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth's materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.

Supporting Content:

Emphasis is on the processes of melting, crystallization, weathering, deformation, and sedimentation.

Earth and Space Sciences ESS2-MS-2 [ICS page]

Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth's surface at varying time and spatial scales.

Supporting Content:

The planet's systems interact over scales that range from microscopic to global in size, and they operate over fractions of a second to billions of years. These interactions have shaped Earth's history and will determine its future. Examples of geoscience processes include surface weathering and deposition by the movements of water, ice, and wind. Water's movements cause weathering and erosion, which change the land's surface features.

Earth and Space Sciences ESS2-MS-4 [ICS page]

Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth's systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.

Supporting Content:

Emphasis is on the ways water changes its state as it moves through the multiple pathways of the hydrologic cycle. Water continually cycles among land, ocean, and atmosphere via transpiration, evaporation, condensation and crystallization, and precipitation, as well as downhill flows on land. The complex patterns of the changes and the movement of water in the atmosphere, determined by winds, landforms, and ocean temperatures and currents, are major determinants of local weather patterns. Global movements of water and its changes in form are propelled by sunlight, temperature and gravity.

Earth and Space Sciences ESS2-MS-6 [ICS page]

Develop and use a model to describe how unequal heating and rotation of the Earth cause patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation that determine regional climates.

Supporting Content:

Weather and climate are influenced by interactions involving sunlight, the ocean, the atmosphere, ice, landforms, and living things. These interactions vary with latitude, altitude, and local and regional geography, all of which can affect oceanic and atmospheric flow patterns.

Earth and Space Sciences ESS3-MS-3 [ICS page]

Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.

Supporting Content:

Examples of the design process include examining human environmental impacts, assessing the kinds of solutions that are feasible, and designing and evaluating solutions that could reduce that impact. Technology and engineering can potentially mitigate impacts on Earth's systems as both human populations and per-capita consumption of natural resources increase.

Earth and Space Sciences ESS3-MS-5 [ICS page]

Ask questions to interpret evidence of the factors that cause climate variability over time.

Supporting Content:

Examples of factors include human activities and natural processes. Examples of evidence can include tables, graphs, and maps of global and regional temperatures, atmospheric levels of gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, and natural resource use. Mitigating current changes in climate depends on understanding climate science. Current scientific models indicate that human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from fossil fuel combustion, are the primary factors in the present-day measured rise in Earth's mean surface temperature. Natural activities also contribute to changing global temperature.

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