• Semester 1

    Unit 1 - LS1: Molecules to Organisms: Structure and Processes

    Students who demonstrate understanding can:

    MS-LS1-1.       Conduct an investigation to provide evidence that living things are made of cells; either one cell or many different numbers and types of cells.

    • Further Explanation: Emphasis is on developing evidence that living things are made of cells, distinguishing between living and non-living cells, and understanding that living things may be made of one cell or many and varied cells.

    MS-LS1-2.       Develop and use a model to describe the function of a cell as a whole and ways parts of cells contribute to the function.

    • Further Explanation: Emphasis is on the cell functioning as a whole system and the primary role of identified parts of the cell, specifically the nucleus, chloroplasts, mitochondria, cell membrane, and cell wall. These are visible with a light microscope.
    • Content Limit: Assessment of organelle structure/function relationships is limited to the cell wall and cell membrane. Assessment of the function of the other organelles is limited to their relationship to the whole cell. Assessment does not include the biochemical function of cells or cell parts.

    MS-LS1-3.       Use argument supported by evidence for how a living organism is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells.

    • Further Explanation: Emphasis is on the conceptual understanding that cells form tissues and tissues form organs specialized for particular body functions. Examples could include the interaction of subsystems within a system and the normal functioning of those systems.
    • Content Limit: Assessment does not include the mechanism of one body system independent of others. Assessment is not focused on human body systems.

    MS-LS1-4.       Construct a scientific argument based on evidence to defend a claim of life for a specific object or organism.

    • Further Explanation: Examples should include both biotic and abiotic items, and should be defended using accepted characteristics of life.
    • Content Limit: Assessment does not include viruses, or other disputed examples.

    MS-LS1-5.       Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for the role of photosynthesis in the cycling of matter and flow of energy into and out of organisms.

    • Further Explanation: Emphasis is on tracing movement of matter and flow of energy.
    • Content Limit: Assessment does not include the biochemical mechanisms of photosynthesis.

    MS-LS1-6.       Develop a model to describe how food is rearranged through chemical reactions forming new molecules that support growth and/or release energy as this matter moves through an organism.

    • Further Explanation: Emphasis is on describing that molecules are broken apart and put back together and that in this process, energy is released. Also understanding that the elements in the products are the same as the elements in the reactants .
    • Content Limit: Assessment does not include details of the chemical reactions for photosynthesis or respiration.

    Unit 2 - LS3: Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits

    Students who demonstrate understanding can:

    LS3-MS-1.       Develop and use a model to describe why mutations may result in harmful, beneficial, or neutral effects to the structure and function of the organism.

    • Further Explanation: Emphasis is on conceptual understanding that changes in genetic material may result in making different proteins.
    • Content Limit: Assessment does not include specific changes at the molecular level, mechanisms for protein synthesis, or specific types of mutations.

    LS3-MS-2.       Develop and use a model to describe why asexual reproduction results in offspring with identical genetic information and sexual reproduction results in offspring with genetic variation.

    • Further Explanation: Emphasis is on using models such as Punnett squares, diagrams, and simulations to describe the cause and effect relationship of gene transmission from parent(s) to offspring and resulting genetic variation.

     

    Semester 2

    Unit 1 - LS4: Biological Adaptation: Unity and Diversity

    Students who demonstrate understanding can:

    LS4-MS-1.       Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past.

    • Further Explanation: Emphasis is on finding patterns of changes in the level of complexity of anatomical structures in organisms and the chronological order of fossil appearance in the rock layers.
    • Content Limit: Assessment does not include the names of individual species or geological eras in the fossil record.

    LS4-MS-2.       Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for the anatomical similarities and differences among modern organisms and between modern and fossil organisms to infer relationships.

    • Further Explanation: Emphasis is on explanations of the relationships among organisms in terms of similarity or differences of the gross appearance of anatomical structures.

    LS4-MS-3.       Analyze displays of pictorial data to compare patterns of similarities in the anatomical structures across multiple species of similar classification levels to identify relationships.

    • Further Explanation: Emphasis is on inferring general patterns of relatedness among structures of different organisms by comparing the appearance of diagrams or pictures.
    • Content Limit: Assessment of comparisons is limited to gross appearance of anatomical structures within genus and species levels. No memorization of classification levels is required.

    LS4-MS-4.       Construct an explanation based on evidence that describes how genetic variations of traits in a population increase some individuals’ probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment.

    • Further Explanation: Emphasis is on using concepts of natural selection like overproduction of offspring, passage of time, variation in a population, selection of favorable traits, and heritability of traits.

    LS4-MS-5.       Gather and synthesize information about the technologies that have changed the way humans influence the inheritance of desired traits in organisms.

    • Further Explanation: Emphasis is on synthesizing information from reliable sources about the influence of humans on genetic outcomes in artificial selection (such as genetic modification, animal husbandry, gene therapy); and, on the impacts these technologies have on society as well as the technologies leading to these scientific discoveries.

    LS4-MS-6.       Use mathematical representations to support explanations of how natural selection may lead to increases and decreases of specific traits in populations over time.

    • Further Explanation: Emphasis is on using mathematical models, probability statements, and proportional reasoning to support explanations of trends in changes to populations over time. Examples could include Peppered moth population changes before and after the industrial revolution.
    • Content Limit: Assessment does not include Hardy Weinberg calculations.

    Unit 2 - LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

    Students who demonstrate understanding can:

    LS2-MS-1.       Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.

    • Further Explanation: Emphasis is on cause and effect relationships between resources and growth of individual organisms and the numbers of organisms in ecosystems during periods of abundant and scarce resources.

    LS2-MS-2.       Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.

    • Further Explanation: Emphasis is on predicting consistent patterns of interactions in different ecosystems in terms of the relationships among and between organisms and abiotic components of ecosystems. Examples of types of interactions could include competitive, predatory, and mutually beneficial.

    LS2-MS-3.       Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.

    • Further Explanation: Emphasis is on describing the conservation of matter and flow of energy into and out of various ecosystems, and on defining the boundaries of the system.
    • Content Limit: Assessment does not include the use of chemical reactions to describe the processes.

    LS2-MS-4.       Develop a model to describe the flow of energy through the trophic levels of an ecosystem.

    • Further Explanation: Emphasis is on describing the transfer of mass and energy beginning with producers, moving to primary and secondary consumers, and ending with decomposers.
    • Content Limit: Assessment does not include the use of chemical reactions to describe the processes.

    LS2-MS-5.       Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.

    • Further Explanation: Emphasis is on recognizing patterns in data and making warranted inferences about changes in populations, and on evaluating empirical evidence supporting arguments about changes to ecosystems.

    LS2-MS-6.       Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.

    • Further Explanation: Examples of ecosystem services could include water purification, nutrient recycling, and prevention of soil erosion. Examples of design solution constraints could include scientific, economic, and social considerations.