999 West Dundee Road
Wheeling, Illinois 60090

Phone: 847-537-8270

Superintendent: Dr. Michael Connolly

School Board & Administration



CCSD21 is a school district comprised of 13 schools across 6 different communities in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.



School District 21 prides itself on its Professional Learning Community and its rich tradition of professional collaboration, high levels of professional development, and family-like atmosphere. If you see the opportunity to work with colleagues in making a difference in the lives of students and families in a truly diverse setting, School District 21 seeks your application.

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Sixth Grade

Earth Science

Power Standards
  • Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity. (MS-ESS2-4)
  • Collect data to provide evidence for how the motions and complex interactions of air masses results in changes in weather conditions. (MS-ESS2-5)
  • 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.(MS-ESS2-6)
  • Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales.(MS-ESS2-2)

Critical Content (Disciplinary Core Ideas-NGSS)

Concepts and Skills

* Power Standard Content

Earth Space Sciences 2.D:  Weather and Climate

  • 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. (MS-ESS2-6)
  • Because these patterns are so complex, weather can only be predicted probabilistically. (MS-ESS2-5)
  • The ocean exerts a major influence on weather and climate by absorbing energy from the sun, releasing it over time, and globally redistributing it through ocean currents. (MS-ESS2-6)

Earth Space Sciences 3.D:  Global Climate Change

  • Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming). Reducing the level of climate change and reducing human vulnerability to whatever climate changes do occur depend on the understanding of climate science, engineering capabilities, and other kinds of knowledge, such as understanding of human behavior and on applying that knowledge wisely in decisions and activities. (MS-ESS3-5)

Earth Space Sciences 2.C:  The Roles of Water in Earth’s Surface Processes

  • Water continually cycles among land, ocean, and atmosphere via transpiration, evaporation, condensation and crystallization, and precipitation, as well as downhill flows on land. (MS-ESS2-4)
  • 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. (MS-ESS2-5)
  • Global movements of water and its changes in form are propelled by sunlight and gravity. (MS-ESS2-4)
  • Variations in density due to variations in temperature and salinity drive a global pattern of interconnected ocean currents. (MS-ESS2-6
  • Water’s movements—both on the land and underground—cause weathering and erosion, which change the land’s surface features and create underground formations. (MS-ESS2-2)

Critical Language (Science & Engineering Practices)

Language Usage

  • A student in sixth grade can demonstrate the ability to apply and comprehend critical language by explaining how cause and effect may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems and communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on the land, water, air, and/or other living things in the local environment.


Content-Specific Vocabulary

  • Air pressure
  • Coriolis effect
  • Ocean currents
  • Precipitation
  • Evaporation
  • Transpiration
  • Condensation
  • Runoff
  • Ground water
  • Moisture
  • Severe weather
  • Moisture
  • Climate
  • Crystallization
  • Atmosphere
  • Air masses
  • Climate change
  • Orographic lift
  • Rain shadow
  • Weathering
  • Erosion
  • Glaciers
  • Landslides
  • Soil and groundwater resources


Process-Specific Vocabulary

  • Cause and effect
  • Systems
  • System models


Concept-Based Connections

Essential Understandings

  • Water cycles among land, ocean and atmosphere and is propelled by sunlight and gravity and its movement causes weathering and erosion, changing landscape features.
  • Complex interactions (including the role of the ocean) determine local weather patterns, occurrences of severe weather, and influence climate.
  • All human activities draws on natural resources and has both short- and long-term consequences, positive as well as negative, and technologies can be engineered to reduce people’s impacts on the earth.  


Factual Guiding Questions

  • What causes weather?
  • What are the steps of the water cycle?
  • How do gravity and the energy of the sun impact the cycling of water?
  • How are air masses formed, and what are their characteristics?
  • What happens when two air masses interact?
  • How could weather be predicted?
  • How do patterns of weather vary from one location to another?
  • What is the difference between weather and climate?
  • How has water, both aboveground and belowground, changed the earth’s surface features? (weathering and erosions)


Conceptual Guiding Questions

  • Can weather change overtime in a fixed location?
  • How can natural hazards be predicted?
  • How do human activities affect Earth systems?  
  • How do ocean currents impact atmospheric conditions and climate?
  • How is the climate of an area formed? (ocean currents, altitude, latitude, landforms, sunlight)
  • What are the long term effects on the land by weather?


Authentic Learning Activities & Experimental Design

  • Is there enough evidence to demonstrate the role of human activity in the rise of global temperatures?
  • How has the Earth changed over time?
  • How can fracking impact water resources? (groundwater, aquifers)