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    From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the structure of DNA determines the structure of proteins which carry out the essential functions of life through systems of specialized cells. HS-LS1-1

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  2. Develop and use a model to illustrate the hierarchical organization of interacting systems that provide specific functions within multicellular organisms. HS-LS1-2

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  3. Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence that feedback mechanisms maintain homeostasis. HS-LS1-3

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  4. Use a model to illustrate the role of cellular division (mitosis) and differentiation in producing and maintaining complex organisms. HS-LS1-4

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  5. Use a model to illustrate how photosynthesis transforms light energy into stored chemical energy. HS-LS1-5

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  6. Construct and revise an explanation based on evidence for how carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen from sugar molecules may combine with other elements to form amino acids and/or other large carbon-based molecules. HS-LS1-6

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  7. Use a model to illustrate that cellular respiration is a chemical process whereby the bonds of food molecules and oxygen molecules are broken and the bonds in new compounds are formed resulting in a net transfer of energy. HS-LS1-7

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

A Peformance Expectation (PE) is what a student should be able to do to show mastery of a concept. Some PEs include a Clarification Statement and/or an Assessment Boundary. These can be found by clicking the PE for "More Info." By hovering over a PE, its corresponding pieces from the Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts will be highlighted.

Science and Engineering Practices

Developing and Using Models

Modeling in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to using, synthesizing, and developing models to predict and show relationships among variables between systems and their components in the natural and designed world(s).

Disciplinary Core Ideas

By clicking on a specific Science and Engineering Practice, Disciplinary Core Idea, or Crosscutting Concept, you can find out more information on it. By hovering over one you can find its corresponding elements in the PEs.

Planning Curriculum

Common Core State Standards Connections

ELA/Literacy

  • RST.11-12.1 - Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account. (HS-LS1-1), (HS-LS1-6)
  • SL.11-12.5 - Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest. (HS-LS1-2), (HS-LS1-4), (HS-LS1-5), (HS-LS1-7)
  • WHST.11-12.7 - Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation. (HS-LS1-3)
  • WHST.11-12.8 - Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the specific task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation. (HS-LS1-3)
  • WHST.11-12.9 - Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. (HS-LS1-1)
  • WHST.9-12.2 - Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes. (HS-LS1-1), (HS-LS1-6)
  • WHST.9-12.5 - Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience. (HS-LS1-6)

Mathematics

  • HSF-BF.A.1 - Write a function that describes a relationship between two quantities (HS-LS1-4)
  • HSF-IF.C.7 - Graph functions expressed symbolically and show key features of the graph, by hand in simple cases and using technology for more complicated cases. (HS-LS1-4)
  • MP.4 - Model with mathematics. (HS-LS1-4)

Model Course Mapping

First Time Visitors

Resources & Lesson Plans

  • More resources added each week!
    A team of teacher curators is working to find, review, and vet online resources that support the standards. Check back often, as NSTA continues to add more targeted resources.
  • This online interactive module of 10 pages or frames integrates textual information, 3D molecular models, interactive molecular simulations, and embedded assessment items to guide students in understanding the copying of DNA base sequences from trans…

  • This is one of 30 lessons from the NSTA Press book Scientific Argumentation in Biology. The lesson engages students in an argumentation cycle in which they determine if an individual could be the abducted son who disappeared 20 years prior. The le…

  • This interactive simulation of human homeostasis provides students the opportunity to explore how our body maintains a stable internal environment in spite of of the outside conditions, within certain limits. This simulation allows students to inves…

  • This interactive module integrates textual information, 3D molecular models, interactive molecular simulations, and embedded assessment items to guide students toward understanding the molecular rearrangements and energy transfers that occur durin…

  • This is one of 25 assessment probes from the book, “Uncovering Student Ideas in Life Science, Volume 1: 25 New Formative Assessment Probes,” by Page Keeley and co-authors. All assessment probes in this collection are aligned to a particular science c…

  • This model unit from Michigan State University includes 11 lessons that guide students through the process of collecting evidence and developing explanations of where the dry matter of plants comes from and of the roles of photosynthesis and respi…

  • This Java-based NetLogo model allows students to investigate the chemical and energy inputs and outputs of photosynthesis through an interactive simulation. The simulation is a visual, conceptual model of photosynthesis and does not generate quantita…

  • This interactive simulation of the human digestive system provides student the opportunity to understand the coordination of the parts of the digestive system to perform the overall function of this body system. In the simulation students manipulate …

  • This lesson is a sequence of learning activities that support student understanding of the role of enzymes in the digestive system and how the digestive system is supported by the circulatory system to provide nutrients to all cells. The lesson pl…

  • This article is in the October 2014 edition of The Science Teacher. The author engages students by posing the question of whether the leaves at the top of a tree are different from the leaves at the bottom of the tree. The students discus…

  • This series of videos, flow charts and discussion probes provides a sequence of learning activities to help students understand that proteins and DNA are not just abstract concepts in biology textbooks. Emphasis is on the concept that DNA and prot…

  • This resource is an article from the January 2016 issue of The Science Teacher.  The unit focuses on an essential question: &nb…

  • This unit challenges high school students to uncover answers for the cause of death of a teenage football player while building an understanding of the role of the urinary system in maintaining homeosta…

  • This is one of 25 assessment probes from the book, “Uncovering Student Ideas in Science, Volume 2: 25 More Formative Assessment Probes”, by Page Keeley, Francis Eberle, and Joy Tugel. All assessment probes in this collection are aligne…

  • “Lab 6. Cellular Respiration: How Does the Type of Food Source Affect the Rate of Cellular Respiration in Yeast?” is one of 27 lab investigations for the high school student from the book, Argument-Driven Inquiry in Biology: Lab Invest…

  • “Lab 5:  Photosynthesis: Why Do Temperature and Light Intensity Affect the Rate of Photosynthesis in Plants?” is one of 27 lab investigations for the high school student from the book, Argument-Driven Inquiry in Biology: Lab Inves…

  • This is one of 30 lessons from the NSTA Press book Scientific Argumentation in Biology.  The lesson engages students in an argumentation cycle in which they evaluate three alternative claims regarding where most of the matter that makes up th…

  • Animals is one of six units in the Carbon: Transformations in Matter and Energy (Carbon TIME) curriculum, which was developed through an NSF-funded research collaboration focused on learning progressions to support environmental literacy.  Th…

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    Plants is one of six units in the Carbon: Transformations in Matter and Energy (Carbon TIME) curriculum, which was developed through an NSF-funded research collaboration focused on learning progressions to support environmental li…

  • Decomposers is one of six units in the Carbon: Transformations in Matter and Energy (Carbon TIME) curriculum, which was developed through an NSF-funded research collaboration focused on learning progressions to support environmental literacy. &nbs…

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Planning Curriculum gives connections to other areas of study for easier curriculum creation.