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  • Middle School

    Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  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. MS-LS4-1

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  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 evolutionary relationships. MS-LS4-2

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  3. Analyze displays of pictorial data to compare patterns of similarities in the embryological development across multiple species to identify relationships not evident in the fully formed anatomy. MS-LS4-3

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  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. MS-LS4-4

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  5. 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
  6. Use mathematical representations to support explanations of how natural selection may lead to increases and decreases of specific traits in populations over time. MS-LS4-6

    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

Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Analyzing data in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to extending quantitative analysis to investigations, distinguishing between correlation and causation, and basic statistical techniques of data and error analysis.

Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking

Mathematical and computational thinking at the 6–8 level builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to identifying patterns in large data sets and using mathematical concepts to support explanations and arguments.

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.

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


  • RST.6-8.1 - Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts. (MS-LS4-1), (MS-LS4-2), (MS-LS4-3), (MS-LS4-5)
  • 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-LS4-1), (MS-LS4-3)
  • RST.6-8.9 - Compare and contrast the information gained from experiments, simulations, video, or multimedia sources with that gained from reading a text on the same topic. (MS-LS4-3), (MS-LS4-4)
  • SL.8.1 - Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly. (MS-LS4-2), (MS-LS4-4)
  • SL.8.4 - Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation. (MS-LS4-2), (MS-LS4-4)
  • WHST.6-8.2 - Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes. (MS-LS4-2), (MS-LS4-4)
  • 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-LS4-2), (MS-LS4-4)


  • 6.EE.B.6 - Use variables to represent numbers and write expressions when solving a real-world or mathematical problem; understand that a variable can represent an unknown number, or, depending on the purpose at hand, any number in a specified set. (MS-LS4-1), (MS-LS4-2)
  • 6.RP.A.1 - Understand the concept of a ratio and use ratio language to describe a ratio relationship between two quantities. (MS-LS4-4), (MS-LS4-6)
  • 6.SP.B.5 - Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context. (MS-LS4-4), (MS-LS4-6)
  • 7.RP.A.2 - Recognize and represent proportional relationships between quantities. (MS-LS4-4), (MS-LS4-6)
  • MP.4 - Model with mathematics. (MS-LS4-6)

Model Course Mapping

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Resources & Lesson Plans

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