LS.1 The student will demonstrate an understanding of scientific reasoning, logic, and the nature of science by planning and conducting investigations in which a) data are organized into tables showing repeated trials and means; b) a classification system is developed based on multiple attributes; c) triple beam and electronic balances, thermometers, metric rulers, graduated cylinders, and probeware are used to gather data; d) models and simulations are constructed and used to illustrate and explain phenomena; e) sources of experimental error are identified; f) dependent variables, independent variables, and constants are identified; g) variables are controlled to test hypotheses and trials are repeated; h) data are organized, communicated through graphical representation, interpreted, and used to make predictions; i) patterns are identified in data and are interpreted and evaluated; and j) current applications are used to reinforce life science concepts.
The nature of science refers to the foundational concepts that govern the way scientists formulate explanations about the natural world. The nature of science includes the following concepts
a the natural world is understandable;
b science is based on evidence - both observational and experimental;
f scientists try to remain objective and engage in peer review to help avoid bias.
Expected results are reflected in the organization of a data table, which includes areas to record the number of repeated trials, levels of the independent variable, measured results for the dependent variable, and analysis of the results by calculation of mathematical means.
Scientists create and apply classification systems to organize information and discern patterns.
Appropriate tools and techniques are used to gather data during scientific investigations. Measurements are collected using the International System of Units (metric units) of measurement.
Mental and physical models, including computer and other simulations, can be helpful in explaining events or sequences of events that occur. They can be used as part of scientific explanations to support data or represent phenomena, especially those that are not easily seen directly or must be inferred from data.
Potential sources of error in the experimental design must be identified.
To communicate the plan of an experiment accurately, the independent variable, dependent variable, and constants must be explicitly defined.
To establish that the events of an experiment are the result of manipulating the independent variable, the experiment must be controlled by observing the effects without the application of the independent variable. The results can be compared with this standard or control. Not all experiments have a control.
Multiple trials of an experiment must be conducted to verify the results.
Analysis of observed results of systematic investigations includes construction and interpretation of graphs. Such interpretation can be used to make predictions about the behavior of the dependent variable in other situations and to explore potential sources of error in the experiment. This analysis can be used to support conclusions about the results of the investigation.
Investigations can be classified as observational (descriptive) studies (intended to generate hypotheses), or experimental studies (intended to test hypotheses).
Science concepts are applied through observations and connections with everyday life and technology.
make connections between the components of the nature of science and their investigations and the greater body of scientific knowledge and research.
design a data table to organize all components of an investigation in a meaningful way.
develop and use a classification system that uses numerous attributes to organize information and discern patterns.
select and use appropriate tools and techniques for collecting qualitative and quantitative data in classroom and field investigations.
create and use mental and physical models (including simulations) as ways to visualize explanations of ideas and phenomena.
identify potential sources of error in the design of an experiment.
evaluate the design of an experiment and the events that occur during an investigation to determine which factors may affect the results of the experiment. This requires students to examine the experimental procedure and decide where or if they have made mistakes.
identify what is deliberately changed in the experiment and what is to be measured as the dependent variable.
analyze the variables in an experiment and decide which ones must be held constant (not allowed to change) in order for the investigation to represent a fair test. This requires students to comprehend what "variables" are and to apply that idea in new situations related to the Life Science Standards of Learning concepts.
determine the specific component of an experiment to be changed as an independent variable and control the experiment by conducting trials for the experiment in which the independent variable is not applied. This requires the student to set up a standard to which the experimental results can be compared. The student must use the results of the controlled trials to determine whether the hypothesized results were indeed due to the independent variable.
construct appropriate graphs, using data sets from investigations. This requires the student to recognize that a line graph is most appropriate for reporting continuous or real-time data. This also requires a student to comprehend that points along the line that are not actual data points can be used to make predictions. Students should be able to interpret and analyze these graphs.
distinguish between observational and experimental investigations.
develop conclusions based on a data set and verify whether the data set truly supports the conclusion. This requires students to cite references to the data that specifically support their conclusions.
LS.2 The student will investigate and understand that all living things are composed of cells. Key concepts include a) cell structure and organelles; b) similarities and differences between plant and animal cells; c) development of cell theory; and d) cell division.
The structure of a cell organelle is suited to the function carried out by that organelle. Division of labor within a cell is essential to the overall successful function of the cell.
The original cell theory includes the following components: all living things are composed of cells; cells are the smallest unit (structure) of living things that can perform the processes (functions) necessary for life; and living cells come only from other living cells. (Although it is appropriate for students at this level to understand the three points of the original cell theory, an exploration of the revised cell theory should be reserved for high school Biology.)
The development of the original cell theory can be attributed to the major discoveries of many notable scientists. The development of the cell theory has been dependent upon improvements in the microscope and microscopic techniques throughout the last four centuries.
Continuing advances in microscopes and instrumentation have increased the understanding of cell organelles and their functions. Many of these organelles can now be observed with a microscope (light, electron).
Cells go through a life cycle known as the cell cycle. The phases of the cell cycle are interphase, mitosis, and cytokinesis. (Although it is appropriate for students at this level to learn to recognize the stages of the cell cycle and mitosis, an exploration of the individual stages of meiosis may be reserved for high school Biology.)
The purpose of mitosis is to produce new cells for growth and repair that are identical to the parent cell. The purpose of meiosis is to produce reproductive (sex) cells that carry half the genetic material of the parent.
distinguish among the following: cell membrane, cytoplasm, nucleus, cell wall, vacuole, mitochondrion, endoplasmic reticulum, and chloroplast.
sequence the steps in the cell cycle, including the phases of mitosis.
differentiate between the purpose of mitosis and meiosis.
design an investigation from a testable question related to animal and plant cells. The investigation may be a complete experimental design or may focus on systematic observation, description, measurement, and/or data collection and analysis. An example of such a question is: "Do onion cells vary in shape or structure depending on where they are found in the plant?"
LS.3 The student will investigate and understand that living things show patterns of cellular organization. Key concepts include a) cells, tissues, organs, and systems; and b) patterns of cellular organization and their relationship to life processes in living things.
Cells that have the same function group together to form tissues. Tissues that have the same function group together to form organs. Organs with similar functions group to work together in an organ system.
Multicellular organisms exhibit a hierarchy of cellular organization. They are complex in that there is a division of labor among the levels of this hierarchy for carrying out necessary life processes.
Osmosis is the passive transport of water molecules across a cell membrane. Diffusion is the passive transport of substances other than water across a cell membrane. Cell membranes are selectively permeable to various substances. (A discussion of facilitated diffusion, tonicity, and active transport should be reserved for high school Biology.)
explain that there is a specific range or continuum of conditions that will meet the needs of organisms.
model how materials move into and out of cells in the processes of osmosis, diffusion, and selective permeability. This includes creating and interpreting three-dimensional models and/or illustrations demonstrating the processes involved. Students should be able to analyze the components of these models and diagrams and communicate their observations and conclusions.
LS.4 The student will investigate and understand how organisms can be classified. Key concepts include a) the distinguishing characteristics of domains of organisms; b) the distinguishing characteristics of kingdoms of organisms; c) the distinguishing characteristics of major animal phyla and plant divisions; and d) the characteristics that define a species.
Information about physical features and activities is arranged in a hierarchy of increasing specificity. The levels in the accepted hierarchy include domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus and species.
Current classification systems now generally recognize the categorization of organisms into three domains, Archaea, Bacteria and Eukarya.
As living things are constantly being investigated, new attributes (physical and chemical) are revealed that affect how organisms are placed in a standard classification system. This system is the basis for scientific binomial nomenclature.
Any grouping of organisms into domains or kingdoms is based on several factors, including the presence or absence of cellular structures, such as the nucleus, mitochondria, or a cell wall; whether the organisms exist as single cells or are multicellular; and how the organisms get their food. For example, simple, single-celled organisms that are able to survive in extreme environments are believed to be fundamentally different from other organisms and may be classified in their own domain (Archaea). Four different kingdoms of the Eukarya domain of organisms are generally recognized by scientists today (Protista, Fungi, Plants, and Animals).
Some important animal groups (phyla) are the cnidarians, mollusks, annelids, arthropods, echinoderms, and chordates.
Four important plant groups (divisions) are the mosses, ferns, conifers, and flowering plants.
A group of similar-looking organisms that can interbreed under natural conditions and produce offspring that are capable of reproduction defines a species.
classify organisms based on a comparison of key physical features and activities.
arrange organisms in a hierarchy according to similarities and differences in features.
categorize examples of organisms as representative of the three domains (Archaea, Bacteria and Eukarya) and recognize that the number of domains is subject to change as new data are collected.
categorize examples of organisms as representative of the kingdoms and recognize that the number of kingdoms is subject to change as new data are collected.
recognize examples of major animal phyla.
recognize examples of major plant divisions.
recognize scientific names as part of a binomial nomenclature.
LS.5 The student will investigate and understand the basic physical and chemical processes of photosynthesis and its importance to plant and animal life. Key concepts include a) energy transfer between sunlight and chlorophyll; b) transformation of water and carbon dioxide into sugar and oxygen; and c) photosynthesis as the foundation of virtually all food webs.
Chlorophyll is a chemical in chloroplasts that can absorb or trap light energy.
Photosynthesis is the necessary life process that transforms light energy into chemical energy. It involves a series of chemical reactions in which the light energy is used to change raw materials (carbon dioxide and water) into products (sugar and oxygen). The energy is stored in the chemical bonds of the glucose (sugar) molecules.
relate the importance of photosynthesis to the role of producers as the foundation of food webs.
design an investigation from a testable question related to photosynthesis. The investigation may be a complete experimental design or may focus on systematic observation, description, measurement, and/or data collection and analysis.
LS.6 The student will investigate and understand that organisms within an ecosystem are dependent on one another and on nonliving components of the environment. Key concepts include a) the carbon, water, and nitrogen cycles; b) interactions resulting in a flow of energy and matter throughout the system; c) complex relationships within terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems; and d) energy flow in food webs and energy pyramids.
Many important elements and compounds cycle through the living and nonliving components of the environment as a chain of events that continuously repeats.
Materials are recycled and made available through the action of decomposers.
In order to understand how an ecosystem functions, one must understand the concept of a system and be able to envision models of systems.
To analyze the interactions resulting in a flow of energy and matter throughout the ecosystem, one must identify the elements of the system and interpret how energy and matter are used by each organism.
Energy enters an ecosystem through the process of photosynthesis and is passed through the system as one organism eats and is, in turn, eaten. This energy flow can be modeled through relationships expressed in food webs.
The amount of energy available to each successive trophic level (producer, first-order consumer, second-order consumer, third-order consumer) decreases. This can be modeled through an energy pyramid, in which the producers provide the broad base that supports the other interactions in the system.
differentiate among key processes in the water, carbon, and nitrogen cycles and relate how organisms, from bacteria and fungi to third-order consumers, function in these cycles.
design an investigation from a testable question related to food webs. The investigation may be a complete experimental design or may focus on systematic observation, description, measurement, and/or data collection and analysis.
analyze and critique the experimental design of basic investigations related to food webs.
LS.7 The student will investigate and understand that interactions exist among members of a population. Key concepts include a) competition, cooperation, social hierarchy, territorial imperative; and b) influence of behavior on a population.
Individual members of a population interact with each other. These interactions include competing with each other for basic resources, mates, territory, and cooperating with each other to meet basic needs.
Animals exhibit needs for food, water, gases, shelter and space for which they compete. These needs may often be met in a range of conditions. Too much may be as harmful as too little (e.g., too much food or too little water).
differentiate between the needs of the individual and the needs of a population.
interpret, analyze, and evaluate data from systematic studies and experiments concerning the interactions among members of a population.
determine the relationship between a population's position in a food web and the types of interactions seen among the individuals of the population.
observe and identify populations in ecosystems and collect, record, chart, and interpret data concerning the interactions of these organisms (from observations and print and electronic resources).
categorize behaviors as examples of competition, cooperation, social hierarchy, or territorial imperative.
LS.8 The student will investigate and understand interactions among populations in a biological community. Key concepts include a) the relationships among producers, consumers, and decomposers in food webs; b) the relationship between predators and prey; c) competition and cooperation; d) symbiotic relationships; and e) niches.
Organisms or populations that rely on each other for basic needs form interdependent communities.
Energy resources of a community are shared through the interactions of producers, consumers, and decomposers.
The interaction between a consumer that hunts for another consumer for food is the predator-prey relationship.
In a community, populations interact with other populations by exhibiting a variety of behaviors that aid in the survival of the population.
Organisms may exist as members of a population; populations interact with other populations in a community.
Symbiotic relationships include mutualism (in which both organisms benefit), commensalism (in which one organism benefits and the other is unaffected), and parasitism (in which one organism benefits and the other is harmed).
infer the niche of organisms from their physical characteristics.
design an investigation from a testable question related to interactions among populations. The investigation may be a complete experimental design or may focus on systematic observation, description, measurement, and/or data collection and analysis.
LS.9 The student will investigate and understand how organisms adapt to biotic and abiotic factors in an ecosystem. Key concepts include a) differences between ecosystems and biomes; b) characteristics of land, marine, and freshwater ecosystems; and c) adaptations that enable organisms to survive within a specific ecosystem.
The living organisms within a specific area and their physical environment define an ecosystem.
The major terrestrial ecosystems are classified into units called biomes — large regions characterized by certain conditions, including a range of climate and ecological communities adapted to those conditions.
Organisms have specific structures, functions, and behaviors that enable them to survive the biotic and abiotic conditions of the particular ecosystem in which they live.
design an investigation from a testable question related to how specific adaptations of organisms allow them to survive in the presence of the biotic and abiotic factors in an ecosystem. The investigation may be a complete experimental design or may focus on systematic observation, description, measurement, and/or data collection and analysis.
LS.10 The student will investigate and understand that ecosystems, communities, populations, and organisms are dynamic, change over time, and respond to daily, seasonal, and long-term changes in their environment. Key concepts include a) phototropism, hibernation, and dormancy; b) factors that increase or decrease population size; and c) eutrophication, climate changes, and catastrophic disturbances.
Organisms may exist as members of a population; populations interact with other populations in a community; and communities together with the physical environment form ecosystems.
Changes that affect organisms over time may be daily, seasonal, or long term.
Plants may respond to light by growing toward it or away from it, a behavior known as phototropism.
Animals may respond to cold conditions with a period of lowered metabolism, a behavior known as hibernation.
Organisms may respond to adverse conditions with a period of lowered or suspended metabolism, a behavior known as dormancy.
A variety of environmental factors may cause the size of a population to increase or decrease. (This requires students to brainstorm examples of factors and predict the possible effects.)
Long-term changes may affect entire communities and ecosystems. Such large-scale changes include the addition of excess nutrients to the system (eutrophication), which alters environmental balance; dramatic changes in climate; and catastrophic events, such as fire, drought, flood, and earthquakes.
relate the responses of organisms to daily, seasonal, or long-term events.
differentiate between ecosystems, communities, populations, and organisms.
classify the various types of changes that occur over time in ecosystems, communities, populations, and organisms, as long term, short term, or seasonal.
design an investigation from a testable question related to change over time in ecosystems, communities, populations, or organisms. The investigation may be a complete experimental design or may focus on systematic observation, description, measurement, and/or data collection and analysis.
analyze and critique the experimental design of basic investigations related to change over time in ecosystems, communities, populations, and organisms.
LS.11 The student will investigate and understand the relationships between ecosystem dynamics and human activity. Key concepts include a) food production and harvest; b) change in habitat size, quality, or structure; c) change in species competition; d) population disturbances and factors that threaten or enhance species survival; and e) environmental issues.
Ecosystems are dynamic systems. Humans are a natural part of the ecosystem. Humans use the ecosystem to meet their basic needs, such as to obtain food.
Human interaction can directly alter habitat size, the quality of available resources in a habitat, and the structure of habitat components. Such interactions can be positive and/or negative.
Human input can disturb the balance of populations that occur in a stable ecosystem. These disturbances may lead to a decrease or increase in a population. Since populations in an ecosystem are interdependent, these disturbances have a ripple effect throughout the ecosystem.
observe the effect of human interaction in local ecosystems and collect, record, chart, and interpret data concerning the effect of interaction (from observations and print and electronic resources).
design an investigation from a testable question related to the relationships between ecosystem dynamics and human activity. The investigation may be a complete experimental design or may focus on systematic observation, description, measurement, and/or data collection and analysis.
analyze and critique the experimental design of basic investigations related to the relationships between ecosystem dynamics and human activity.
LS.12 The student will investigate and understand that organisms reproduce and transmit genetic information to new generations. Key concepts include a) the structure and role of DNA; b) the function of genes and chromosomes; c) genotypes and phenotypes; d) characteristics that can and cannot be inherited; e) genetic engineering and its applications; and f) historical contributions and significance of discoveries related to genetics.
DNA is a double helix molecule.
DNA is a molecule that includes different components — sugars, nitrogenous bases, and phosphates. The arrangement of the nitrogenous bases within the double helix forms a chemical code.
The basic laws of Mendelian genetics explain the transmission of most traits that can be inherited from generation to generation.
A Punnett square is a model used to predict the possible combinations of inherited factors resulting from single trait crosses. (An investigation of dihybrid crosses, multiple alleles, and incomplete dominance should be reserved for high school Biology.)
identify aspects of genetic engineering and supply examples of applications. Evaluate the examples for possible controversial aspects.
describe the contributions of Mendel, Franklin, Watson, and Crick to our basic understanding of genetics.
LS.13 The student will investigate and understand that populations of organisms change over time. Key concepts include a) the relationships of mutation, adaptation, natural selection, and extinction; b) evidence of evolution of different species in the fossil record; and c) how environmental influences, as well as genetic variation, can lead to diversity of organisms.
The mechanisms through which evolution takes place are a related set of processes that include mutation, adaptation, natural selection, and extinction. This results in changes in populations of organisms over time.
A mutation may result in a favorable change or adaptation in genetic information that improves a species' ability to exist in its environment, or a mutation may result in an unfavorable change that does not improve or impedes a species' ability to exist in its environment.
The evidence for evolution is drawn from a variety of sources of data, including the fossil record, radiometric dating, genetic information, the distribution of organisms, and anatomical and developmental similarities across species.
Individuals of a population each exhibit a range of variations in a trait as a result of the variations in their genetic codes. These variations may or may not help them survive and reproduce in their environment.