The Standards

Middle School

Growth, Development, and Reproduction of Organisms

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

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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.

 

Develop and use a model to describe why structural changes to genes (mutations) located on chromosomes may affect proteins and may result in harmful, beneficial, or neutral effects to the structure and function of the organism. MS-LS3-1

Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on conceptual understanding that changes in genetic material may result in making different proteins.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include specific changes at the molecular level, mechanisms for protein synthesis, or specific types of mutations.

 

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. MS-LS3-2

Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

Clarification Statement: 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.

Assessment Boundary: none

 

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

Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

Clarification Statement: 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.

Assessment Boundary: none

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 and use a model to describe phenomena. (MS-LS3-1), (MS-LS3-2)

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)

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 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-LS4-5)

Disciplinary Core Ideas

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)

Organisms reproduce, either sexually or asexually, and transfer their genetic information to their offspring. (secondary to MS-LS3-2)

LS3.AInheritance of Traits

Genes are located in the chromosomes of cells, with each chromosome pair containing two variants of each of many distinct genes. Each distinct gene chiefly controls the production of specific proteins, which in turn affects the traits of the individual. Changes (mutations) to genes can result in changes to proteins, which can affect the structures and functions of the organism and thereby change traits. (MS-LS3-1)

Variations of inherited traits between parent and offspring arise from genetic differences that result from the subset of chromosomes (and therefore genes) inherited. (MS-LS3-2)

LS3.BVariation of Traits

In sexually reproducing organisms, each parent contributes half of the genes acquired (at random) by the offspring. Individuals have two of each chromosome and hence two alleles of each gene, one acquired from each parent. These versions may be identical or may differ from each other. (MS-LS3-2)

In addition to variations that arise from sexual reproduction, genetic information can be altered because of mutations. Though rare, mutations may result in changes to the structure and function of proteins. Some changes are beneficial, others harmful, and some neutral to the organism. (MS-LS3-1)

LS4.BNatural Selection

In artificial selection, humans have the capacity to influence certain characteristics of organisms by selective breeding. One can choose desired parental traits determined by genes, which are then passed on to offspring. (MS-LS4-5)

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-LS1-4)
  • RST.6-8.1 - Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts. (MS-LS1-4), (MS-LS1-5), (MS-LS3-1), (MS-LS3-2), (MS-LS4-5)
  • 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)
  • RST.6-8.4 - Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6–8 texts and topics. (MS-LS3-1), (MS-LS3-2)
  • RST.6-8.7 - Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table). (MS-LS3-1), (MS-LS3-2)
  • SL.8.5 - Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest. (MS-LS3-1), (MS-LS3-2)
  • WHST.6-8.1 - Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts. (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)
  • 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-LS4-5)
  • WHST.6-8.9 - Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis reflection, and research. (MS-LS1-5)
Mathematics
  • 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)
  • 6.SP.B.5 - Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context. (MS-LS3-2)
  • MP.4 - Model with mathematics. (MS-LS3-2)

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