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.

Learn More


Seventh Grade

Earth Science

Power Standards
  • Develop and use a model of the Earth-sun-moon system to describe the cyclic patterns of lunar phases, eclipses of the sun and moon, and seasons.  (MS-ESS1-1)
  • Develop and use a model to describe the role of gravity in the motions within galaxies and the solar system. (MS-ESS1-2)

Critical Content

Concepts and Skills

* Power Standard Content

Earth Space Sciences 1.A:  The Universe and Its Stars

  • Patterns of the motion of the sun, the moon, and stars in the sky can be observed, described, predicted, and explained with models. (MS-ESS1-1)
  • Earth and its solar system are part of the Milky Way Galaxy, which is one of many galaxies in the universe. (MS-ESS1-2)

Earth Space Sciences 1.B:  Earth and the Solar System

  • The solar system consists of the sun and a collection of objects, including planets, their moons, and asteroids that are held in orbit around the sun by its gravitational pull on them. (MS-ESS1-2),(MS-ESS1-3)
  • This model of the solar system can explain eclipses of the sun and the moon. Earth’s spin axis is fixed in direction over the short-term but tilted relative to its orbit around the sun. The seasons are a result of that tilt and are caused by the differential intensity of sunlight on different areas of Earth across the year. (MS-ESS1-1)
  • The solar system appears to have formed from a disk of dust and gas, drawn together by gravity. (MS-ESS1-2)
  • Analyze and interpret data to determine scale properties of objects in the solar system. (MS-ESS1-3)

Critical Language (Science & Engineering Practices)

Language Usage

  • A student in seventh grade can demonstrate the ability to apply and comprehend critical language by creating and using models to explain scientific processes using specific content vocabulary.


Content-Specific Vocabulary

  • Lunar phases
  • Gravity
  • Axis
  • Rotation
  • Tides
  • Eclipses
  • Galaxies
  • Solar systems
  • Universe
  • Seasons
  • Star
  • Asteroid
  • Meteorite
  • Comet
  • Orbit


Process-Specific Vocabulary

  • Predict
  • Patterns
  • Cycle
  • Scale
  • Model

Concept-Based Connections

Essential Understandings

  • Gravity is the force that holds together the solar system and Milky Way galaxy and controls orbital motions within them.
  • The seasons are a result of Earth’s tilt and are caused by the differential intensity of sunlight on different areas of Earth across the year.
  • Solar system models are scaled representations that help to explain and predict eclipses, lunar phases, and seasons.


Factual Guiding Questions

  • What is the earth’s place in the universe? (part of the Milky Way as one of the galaxies in our universe)
  • What makes up our solar system and how can the motion of Earth explain seasons and eclipses?
  • How does the universe appear to have formed?
  • Compare and contrast solar and lunar eclipses.
  • Describe the structure of our solar system.


Conceptual Guiding Questions

  • What are some of the instruments / technologies that have allowed us to explore our solar system and obtain data that support theories that explain the formation and evolution of the universe?
  • Explain and model the cyclical patterns seen in the motion of the sun, moon and stars.
  • Explain differences in gravity in different parts of our solar system.
  • Create a model (computer or 3D visualization) or analogy of gravity in the motions within galaxies and the solar system.


Authentic Learning Activities & Experimental Design

  • Describe the effects on earth if the positions of the earth-sun-moon system were changed.