The Standards

Middle School

From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

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

Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

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

Assessment Boundary: none

 

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

Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

Clarification Statement: 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.

Assessment Boundary: 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.

 

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

Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

Clarification Statement: 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.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include the mechanism of one body system independent of others. Assessment is limited to the circulatory, excretory, digestive, respiratory, muscular, and nervous systems.

 

Use argument based on empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support an explanation for how characteristic animal behaviors and specialized plant structures affect the probability of successful reproduction of animals and plants respectively. MS-LS1-4

Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

Clarification Statement: Examples of behaviors that affect the probability of animal reproduction could include nest building to protect young from cold, herding of animals to protect young from predators, and vocalization of animals and colorful plumage to attract mates for breeding. Examples of animal behaviors that affect the probability of plant reproduction could include transferring pollen or seeds, and creating conditions for seed germination and growth. Examples of plant structures could include bright flowers attracting butterflies that transfer pollen, flower nectar and odors that attract insects that transfer pollen, and hard shells on nuts that squirrels bury.

Assessment Boundary: none

 

Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms. MS-LS1-5

Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

Clarification Statement: Examples of local environmental conditions could include availability of food, light, space, and water. Examples of genetic factors could include large breed cattle and species of grass affecting growth of organisms. Examples of evidence could include drought decreasing plant growth, fertilizer increasing plant growth, different varieties of plant seeds growing at different rates in different conditions, and fish growing larger in large ponds than they do in small ponds.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include genetic mechanisms, gene regulation, or biochemical processes.

 

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. MS-LS1-6

Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on tracing movement of matter and flow of energy.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include the biochemical mechanisms of photosynthesis.

 

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. MS-LS1-7

Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on describing that molecules are broken apart and put back together and that in this process, energy is released.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include details of the chemical reactions for photosynthesis or respiration.

 

Gather and synthesize information that sensory receptors respond to stimuli by sending messages to the brain for immediate behavior or storage as memories. MS-LS1-8

Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include mechanisms for the transmission of this information.

Science and Engineering Practices

Developing and Using Models

Modeling in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to developing, using, and revising models to describe, test, and predict more abstract phenomena and design systems.

Develop a model to describe phenomena. (MS-LS1-2)

Develop a model to describe unobservable mechanisms. (MS-LS1-7)

Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

Planning and carrying out investigations to answer questions or test solutions to problems in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to include investigations that use multiple variables and provide evidence to support explanations or design solutions.

Conduct an investigation to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence that meet the goals of an investigation. (MS-LS1-1)

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to include constructing explanations and designing solutions supported by multiple sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories.

Construct a scientific explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from sources (including the students’ own experiments) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future. (MS-LS1-5), (MS-LS1-6)

Engaging in Argument from Evidence

Engaging in argument from evidence in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to constructing a convincing argument that supports or refutes claims for either explanations or solutions about the natural and designed world(s).

Use an oral and written argument supported by evidence to support or refute an explanation or a model for a phenomenon. (MS-LS1-3)

Use an oral and written argument supported by empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support or refute an explanation or a model for a phenomenon or a solution to a problem. (MS-LS1-4)

Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to evaluating the merit and validity of ideas and methods.

Gather, read, and synthesize information from multiple appropriate sources and assess the credibility, accuracy, and possible bias of each publication and methods used, and describe how they are supported or not supported by evidence. (MS-LS1-8)

Connections to Nature of Science

Science Knowledge Is Based on Empirical Evidence

Science knowledge is based upon logical connections between evidence and explanations. (MS-LS1-6)

Disciplinary Core Ideas

PS3.DEnergy in Chemical Processes and Everyday Life

The chemical reaction by which plants produce complex food molecules (sugars) requires an energy input (i.e., from sunlight) to occur. In this reaction, carbon dioxide and water combine to form carbon-based organic molecules and release oxygen. (secondary to MS-LS1-6)

Cellular respiration in plants and animals involve chemical reactions with oxygen that release stored energy. In these processes, complex molecules containing carbon react with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and other materials. (secondary to MS-LS1-7)

LS1.AStructure and Function

All living things are made up of cells, which is the smallest unit that can be said to be alive. An organism may consist of one single cell (unicellular) or many different numbers and types of cells (multicellular). (MS-LS1-1)

Within cells, special structures are responsible for particular functions, and the cell membrane forms the boundary that controls what enters and leaves the cell. (MS-LS1-2)

In multicellular organisms, the body is a system of multiple interacting subsystems. These subsystems are groups of cells that work together to form tissues and organs that are specialized for particular body functions. (MS-LS1-3)

LS1.BGrowth and Development of Organisms

Animals engage in characteristic behaviors that increase the odds of reproduction. (MS-LS1-4)

Plants reproduce in a variety of ways, sometimes depending on animal behavior and specialized features for reproduction. (MS-LS1-4)

Genetic factors as well as local conditions affect the growth of the adult plant. (MS-LS1-5)

LS1.COrganization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms

Plants, algae (including phytoplankton), and many microorganisms use the energy from light to make sugars (food) from carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and water through the process of photosynthesis, which also releases oxygen. These sugars can be used immediately or stored for growth or later use. (MS-LS1-6)

Within individual organisms, food moves through a series of chemical reactions in which it is broken down and rearranged to form new molecules, to support growth, or to release energy. (MS-LS1-7)

LS1.DInformation Processing

Each sense receptor responds to different inputs (electromagnetic, mechanical, chemical), transmitting them as signals that travel along nerve cells to the brain. The signals are then processed in the brain, resulting in immediate behaviors or memories. (MS-LS1-8)

Crosscutting Concepts

Cause and Effect

Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural systems. (MS-LS1-8)

Phenomena may have more than one cause, and some cause and effect relationships in systems can only be described using probability. (MS-LS1-4), (MS-LS1-5)

Scale, Proportion, and Quantity

Phenomena that can be observed at one scale may not be observable at another scale. (MS-LS1-1)

Systems and System Models

Systems may interact with other systems; they may have sub-systems and be a part of larger complex systems. (MS-LS1-3)

Energy and Matter

Matter is conserved because atoms are conserved in physical and chemical processes. (MS-LS1-7)

Within a natural system, the transfer of energy drives the motion and/or cycling of matter. (MS-LS1-6)

Structure and Function

Complex and microscopic structures and systems can be visualized, modeled, and used to describe how their function depends on the relationships among its parts, therefore complex natural structures/systems can be analyzed to determine how they function. (MS-LS1-2)

Common Core State Standards Connections

ELA/Literacy
  • RI.6.8 - Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not. (MS-LS1-3), (MS-LS1-4)
  • RST.6-8.1 - Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts. (MS-LS1-3), (MS-LS1-4), (MS-LS1-5), (MS-LS1-6)
  • RST.6-8.2 - Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions. (MS-LS1-5), (MS-LS1-6)
  • SL.8.5 - Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest. (MS-LS1-2), (MS-LS1-7)
  • WHST.6-8.1 - Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts. (MS-LS1-3), (MS-LS1-4)
  • WHST.6-8.2 - Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes. (MS-LS1-5), (MS-LS1-6)
  • WHST.6-8.7 - Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration. (MS-LS1-1)
  • WHST.6-8.8 - Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation. (MS-LS1-8)
  • WHST.6-8.9 - Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis reflection, and research. (MS-LS1-5), (MS-LS1-6)
Mathematics
  • 6.EE.C.9 - Use variables to represent two quantities in a real-world problem that change in relationship to one another; write an equation to express one quantity, thought of as the dependent variable, in terms of the other quantity, thought of as the independent variable. Analyze the relationship between the dependent and independent variables using graphs and tables, and relate these to the equation. (MS-LS1-1), (MS-LS1-2), (MS-LS1-3), (MS-LS1-6)
  • 6.SP.A.2 - Understand that a set of data collected to answer a statistical question has a distribution which can be described by its center, spread, and overall shape. (MS-LS1-4), (MS-LS1-5)
  • 6.SP.B.4 - Display numerical data in plots on a number line, including dot plots, histograms, and box plots. (MS-LS1-4), (MS-LS1-5)

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