About the unit
In this unit pupils:
• learn that rocks, soils and building materials have a variety of chemical characteristics
• learn that chemical weathering alters rocks and building materials over time
• consider how the atmosphere and water resources are affected by natural processes and the activity of humans
• consider how environmental conditions are monitored and controlled
• distinguish between different environmental issues
In scientific enquiry pupils:
• consider how scientists work to monitor the environment
• decide on the suitability of secondary sources for providing information on a particular question
• consider how evidence for climate and environmental change needs careful interpretation
• evaluate the evidence obtained
• investigate environmental change using evidence from secondary sources
This unit is expected to take approximately 4 to 5 hours.
Where the unit fits in
This unit builds on unit 7E ‘Acids and alkalis’, unit 7F ‘Simple chemical reactions’, unit 8G ‘Rocks and weathering’ and unit 8H ‘The rock cycle’, and on work on the reactions of acids in unit 9E ‘Reactions of metals and metal compounds’. It relates to work on growing plants in unit 9D ‘Plants for food’ and work on using energy resources in unit 9I ‘Energy and electricity’.
The unit builds on the use of sensors in unit 7 ‘Measuring physical data’ in the ICT scheme of work. There are opportunities for citizenship education in this unit in the activities concerning the environment and sustainable development. It also relates to unit 14 ‘Can the earth cope? Ecosystems, population and resources’ and unit 23 ‘Local action, global effects’ in the geography scheme of work.
This unit provides opportunities to revisit and revise topics met in other units in years 7 and 8. With some pupils, teachers may wish to concentrate on some of the new topics, extending activities, and with others to spend more time on revision of previous work.
The unit provides the foundation for work in key stage 4 on changes to the atmosphere and Earth.
At the end of this unit in terms of scientific enquiry most pupils will: make effective use of secondary sources of information about the relationship of soil type to plant growth and record their findings using ICT; identify and describe possible sources of information about the environment and select from these evidence about environmental change over time, identifying some strengths and weaknesses in the evidence some pupils will not have made so much progress and will: select information from secondary sources relating plants to soil type and record findings using ICT; describe how some sources provide evidence about environmental change some pupils will have progressed further and will: identify and explain the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence about environmental change obtained from secondary sources in terms of materials and their properties most pupils will: describe in terms of chemical reactions how acid rain arises and how it affects rocks, building materials and living things; describe how air and water pollution are monitored and how they might be controlled; distinguish between different environmental problems some pupils will not have made so much progress and will: describe some of the consequences of acid rain and of other forms of pollution; identify why it is important to monitor and control pollution some pupils will have progressed further and will: describe a variety of environmental issues and explain the implications of these
It is helpful if pupils:
• know that there are differences between soils which relate to the rocks they were formed from
• have experience of finding the pH of a variety of solutions and can relate the pH scale to the acidity of a solution
Health and safety
Risk assessments are required for any hazardous activity. In this unit pupils:
• investigate soils
• use a solution of