Praxis II Earth & Space Science: Content Knowledge Exam (5571)

The Praxis II Earth & Space Science: Content Knowledge Exam (5571) consists of 125 multiple choice questions and you will have two and a half hours to complete it. It will assess your competency for a position teaching Earth and Space sciences in a secondary school. The exam can be broken down into the following sections:

Basic Principles and Processes – 15 questions
Tectonics and Internal Earth Processes – 21 questions
Earth Materials and Surface Processes – 29 questions
History of the Earth and its Life-Forms – 17 questions
Earth’s Atmosphere and Hydrosphere – 24 questions
Astronomy – 19 questions

Basic Scientific Principles of Earth and Space Sciences
This section of the exam will assess your knowledge of patterns and relationships of matter and energy, biological, chemical and physical processes as applied to Earth and Space science, nuclear reactions and processes, atom structure, compounds, the transfer of heat and thermodynamic laws.

Tectonics and Internal Earth Processes
This section of the exam will assess your knowledge of the effect and origin of the earth’s magnetic field, earthquakes, crust formation and, the history of plate tectonics.

Earth Materials and Surface Processes
This section of the exam will assess your knowledge of the process of landscape evolution, soil and rock formation and weathering; and the sedimentary and ingenious processes of rock formation. Your knowledge of the impact of civilization on geology will also be evaluated.

History of Earth and its Life Forms
This section of the exam will assess your knowledge of paleontology, the origin of life, origin of the earth, stratigraphic correlation, uniformitarianism and how time is measured.

Earths Atmosphere and Hydrosphere
This section of the exam will assess your knowledge of the structure of water, the paths it follows in nature, glaciers, ice ages, chemical and physical properties of oceans, the movement of water above and below the earth’s surface, and the relationship of the atmosphere and hydrosphere with civilization.

This section of the exam will assess your knowledge of relationships between various components of the solar system in regard to their motion, size and composition, the consequences and characteristics of the earth’s motion, the characteristics of galaxies, stars; and hypotheses regarding the origin of the development of the universe.

PRAXIS II Earth And Space Sciences: Content Knowledge Practice Questions

1. Safety in a science classroom includes:

A. ventilation
B. a fire extinguisher
C. written instructions
D. All of the above

2. Which of the following is not a basic principle of the earth sciences?

A. Lithosphere
B. Hemisphere
C. Hydrosphere
D. Atmosphere

3. Which of the following is not part of the study of astronomy?

A. Evolution of celestial objects
B. Origins of the universe
C. Variety of species
D. Structure of the planets

4. Which of the following is not one of the Laws of Thermodynamics?

A. Speed of light
B. Zeroth Law
C. First Law of Thermodynamics
D. Third Law of Thermodynamics

5. The stability of the environment is based on:

A. population size
B. number of species
C. productivity of the ecosystem
D. All of the above

Answer Key For Earth And Space Sciences: Content Knowledge

1. Answer: D

In a science classroom, safety must always be a priority. Since it is an interactive area, it needs to be ventilated and have appropriate safety equipment available: i.e., water, fire extinguisher, protective gear, etc. The students need to understand how to operate the instruments in a safe manner, so instructions should be provided in writing, as well as given verbally. Questions should be asked and answered before any activity is started.

Science has a history. Students need to be familiar with the socioeconomic environment in which a theory was introduced in order to truly understand why something did or did not work, why it may have been proven wrong, or why a better way was discovered with later experimentation.

Students come to school with background knowledge and a basic understanding of how things work. They have reached conclusions based on their perception of the physical world and what they learned in previous classes. A wise teacher uses students’ knowledge and natural curiosity when introducing and explaining complicated scientific concepts. He builds on ideas already known and corrects any misconceptions.

2. Answer: B

The earth sciences, or geosciences, study the earth, the only known life-bearing planet. This field is concerned with the lithosphere, the hydrosphere, and the atmosphere. These three working together create the conditions needed to sustain the biosphere, which is composed of all living organisms, i.e., life science or biology.

GEOLOGY is the study of the “origin, history, and structure of the earth,” its lithosphere. This earth science looks at when the earth was formed, how and why it formed as it did, and how and why it changes through the millennia. It studies soil and minerals, the core and mantle, and tectonic and seismic activity.

OCEANOGRAPHY is the “exploration of the ocean and its phenomena,” while HYDROLOGY studies the “properties, distribution and effects of water on the earth’s surface, soil, rocks, and atmosphere.” Both disciplines study water systems and marine life-the earth’s hydrosphere.

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES study the atmosphere-the “gaseous mass surrounding the earth.” This field includes meteorology, climate and weather, and how they affect the earth and its organisms.

(NOTE: Definitions are from The American Heritage College Dictionary.)

3. Answer: C

Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences. Man has been studying the sky for thousands of years When the telescope was invented sometime around 1600, the layman’s observation of the heavens gradually developed into the science of astronomy. It is one science where amateurs have made notable contributions while gazing at the sky through the backyard telescope.

The American Heritage College Dictionary defines astronomy as “the study of matter in outer space, such as the positions, dimensions, energy, and evolution of the stars and planets.” It studies the evolution, physics, chemistry, and motion of celestial objects. Astronomy examines the origins of the universe, the shape and structure of planets, comets, asteroids and meteors, and how planets and their moons interact. It is concerned with the life span and traits of stars and galaxies and the measurement of time.

Astronomy is divided into two areas. Observational astronomy collects and analyzes data. Theoretical astronomy develops analytical models to explain celestial objects and phenomena. The two often work together: Theoretical astronomy explains observations, while observations confirm theoretical results.

4. Answer: A

The definitions are summarized from Webster’s New Explorer Desk Encyclopedia.

LAWS OF THERMODYNAMICS are specific examples of the Laws of Conservation of Mass and Energy.

The Zeroth Law describes the principle of thermal equilibrium between bodies.
First Law of Thermodynamics: relationship between energy, heat, and work within a system
Second Law of Thermodynamics: natural flow of heat in a closed system
Third Law of Thermodynamics: impossible to create a perfectly efficient thermodynamic process
ELECTROSTATIC LAWS are the relationships between electrically charged particles, which create electrostatic forces and fields.

INVARIANCE OF THE SPEED OF LIGHT states that the speed of light in a vacuum is constant and is not measured differently in different frames of reference. This led to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

5. Answer: D

The stability of the environment is predicated on population size, the number and variety of species interacting within the community, and the productivity of the entire ecosystem. The ecosystem can remain fairly stable over long periods of time because of the natural processes at work, for example: the availability of food sources and appropriate shelter for all species, the number of predators and/or parasites in the community, and the occurrence of natural disasters such as fires, floods, and droughts. Ecosystems are complex and subject to cyclical fluctuations such as climate changes and the appearance of new species and disappearance of old ones as a result of mutation, migration, or evolution.

Human activities have an enormous influence on the state and stability of the ecosystem and can alter its equilibrium for better or worse. As the guardians of the earth, it is our responsibility to ensure we respect the other species, protect the various components of the community, and avoid damaging the delicate balance of the ecosystem through misuse of its natural resources.