Utah Sixth Grade Science Core Curriculum


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UT.6.I. Students will understand that the appearance of the moon changes in a predictable cycle as it orbits Earth and as Earth rotates on its axis.

  • UT.6.I.1. Explain patterns of changes in the appearance of the moon as it orbits Earth.


  • UT.6.I.2. Demonstrate how the relative positions of Earth, the moon, and the sun create the appearance of the moon’s phases.


    • UT.6.I.2.a Identify the difference between the motion of an object rotating on its axis and an object revolving in orbit.
      Review Space-11 practice

    • UT.6.I.2.b Compare how objects in the sky (the moon, planets, stars) change in relative position over the course of the day or night.

    • UT.6.I.2.c Model the movement and relative positions of Earth, the moon, and the sun.

UT.6.II. Students will understand how Earth’s tilt on its axis changes the length of daylight and creates the seasons.

  • UT.6.II.1. Describe the relationship between the tilt of Earth's axis and its yearly orbit around the sun.


    • UT.6.II.1.a Describe the yearly revolution (orbit) of Earth around the sun.

    • UT.6.II.1.b Explain that Earth's axis is tilted relative to its yearly orbit around the sun.

    • UT.6.II.1.c Investigate the relationship between the amount of heat absorbed and the angle to the light source.

  • UT.6.II.2. Explain how the relationship between the tilt of Earth's axis and its yearly orbit around the sun produces the seasons.


    • UT.6.II.2.a Compare Earth’s position in relationship to the sun during each season.
      Global Science video, free, ClosedCaptions

    • UT.6.II.2.b Compare the hours of daylight and illustrate the angle that the sun's rays strikes the surface of Earth during summer, fall, winter, and spring in the Northern Hemisphere.
      Global Science video, free, ClosedCaptions

    • UT.6.II.2.c Use collected data to compare patterns relating to seasonal daylight changes.
      Global Science video, free, ClosedCaptions

    • UT.6.II.2.d Use a drawing and/or model to explain that changes in the angle at which light from the sun strikes Earth, and the length of daylight, determine seasonal differences in the amount of energy received.
      Global Science video, free, ClosedCaptions
      Finding Your Way video

    • UT.6.II.2.e Use a model to explain why the seasons are reversed in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
      Global Science video, free, ClosedCaptions
      Review Space-5 practice
      Review Space-8 practice
      Review Space-12 practice

UT.6.III. Students will understand the relationship and attributes of objects in the solar system.

  • UT.6.III.1. Describe and compare the components of the solar system.


  • UT.6.III.2. Describe the use of technology to observe objects in the solar system and relate this to science’s understanding of the solar system.


    • UT.6.III.2.a Describe the use of instruments to observe and explore the moon and planets.

    • UT.6.III.2.b Describe the role of computers in understanding the solar system (e.g., collecting and interpreting data from observations, predicting motion of objects, operating space probes).

    • UT.6.III.2.c Relate science’s understanding of the solar system to the technology used to investigate it.

    • UT.6.III.2.d Find and report on ways technology has been and is being used to investigate the solar system.

  • UT.6.III.3. Describe the forces that keep objects in orbit in the solar system.


    • UT.6.III.3.a Describe the forces holding Earth in orbit around the sun, and the moon in orbit around Earth.

    • UT.6.III.3.b Relate a celestial object’s mass to its gravitational force on other objects.
      Planets and Pennies video, free, ClosedCaptions
      Is Gravity a Theory or a Law? text page, free

    • UT.6.III.3.c Identify the role gravity plays in the structure of the solar system.
      Planets and Pennies video, free, ClosedCaptions

UT.6.IV. Students will understand the scale of size, distance between objects, movement, and apparent motion (due to Earth’s rotation) of objects in the universe and how cultures have understood, related to and used these objects in the night sky.

  • UT.6.IV.1. Compare the size and distance of objects within systems in the universe.


    • UT.6.IV.1.a Use the speed of light as a measuring standard to describe the relative distances to objects in the universe (e.g., 4.4 light years to star Alpha Centauri; 0.00002 light years to the sun).

    • UT.6.IV.1.b Compare distances between objects in the solar system.

    • UT.6.IV.1.c Compare the size of the Solar System to the size of the Milky Way galaxy.
      Review Space-2 practice
      Review Space-10 practice

    • UT.6.IV.1.d Compare the size of the Milky Way galaxy to the size of the known universe.
      Review Space-1 practice

  • UT.6.IV.2. Describe the appearance and apparent motion of groups of stars in the night sky relative to Earth and how various cultures have understood and used them.


    • UT.6.IV.2.a Locate and identify stars that are grouped in patterns in the night sky.

    • UT.6.IV.2.b Identify ways people have historically grouped stars in the night sky.

    • UT.6.IV.2.c Recognize that stars in a constellation are not all the same distance from Earth.

    • UT.6.IV.2.d Relate the seasonal change in the appearance of the night sky to Earth’s position.
      Global Science video, free, ClosedCaptions

    • UT.6.IV.2.e Describe ways that familiar groups of stars may be used for navigation and calendars.

UT.6.V. Students will understand that microorganisms range from simple to complex, are found almost everywhere, and are both helpful and harmful.

  • UT.6.V.1. Observe and summarize information about microorganisms.


  • UT.6.V.2. Demonstrate the skills needed to plan and conduct an experiment to determine a microorganism’s requirements in a specific environment.


    • UT.6.V.2.a Formulate a question about microorganisms that can be answered with a student experiment.

    • UT.6.V.2.b Develop a hypothesis for a question about microorganisms based on observations and prior knowledge.

    • UT.6.V.2.c Plan and carry out an investigation on microorganisms. {Note: Teacher must examine plans and procedures to assure the safety of students; for additional information, you may wish to read microbe safety information on Utah Science Home Page.}

    • UT.6.V.2.d Display results in an appropriate format (e.g., graphs, tables, diagrams).

    • UT.6.V.2.e Prepare a written summary or conclusion to describe the results in terms of the hypothesis for the investigation on microorganisms.

  • UT.6.V.3. Identify positive and negative effects of microorganisms and how science has developed positive uses for some microorganisms and overcome the negative effects of others.


    • UT.6.V.3.a Describe in writing how microorganisms serve as decomposers in the environment.

    • UT.6.V.3.b Identify how microorganisms are used as food or in the production of food (e.g., yeast helps bread rise, fungi flavor cheese, algae are used in ice cream, bacteria are used to make cheese and yogurt).

    • UT.6.V.3.c Identify helpful uses of microorganisms (e.g., clean up oil spills, purify water, digest food in digestive tract, antibiotics) and the role of science in the development of understanding that led to positive uses (i.e., Pasteur established the existence, growth, and control of bacteria; Fleming isolated and developed penicillin).
      Bacteria and Antibiotics video, ClosedCaptions

    • UT.6.V.3.d Relate several diseases caused by microorganisms to the organism causing the disease (e.g., athlete’s foot -fungi, streptococcus throat -bacteria, giardia -protozoa).

    • UT.6.V.3.e Observe and report on microorganisms’ harmful effects on food (e.g., causes fruits and vegetables to rot, destroys food bearing plants, makes milk sour).
      Bacteria and Antibiotics video, ClosedCaptions

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