• Back
  • Middle School

    From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  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. MS-LS1-1

    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.

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


  • 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)


  • 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)

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.
  • Do you have a great resource to share with the community? Click here.
  • In this series of games, your students will learn about cells and the vital functions they serve. The Cells and Life learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved student engagement and academic performance in your classr...

  • Middle school is full of relationship drama. So is science! This session introduced new, free modules that help students understand relationships between humans and germs in terms of relative size, inter-dependency in ecosystems, and the eternal stru...

  • From TeachEngineering - Students are introduced to the concept of engineering biological organisms and studying their growth to be able to identify periods of fast and slow growth. They learn that bacteria are found everywhere, including on the surfa...

  • Students engage in learning about cells first through a cell sort.

  • This storyline introduces microscopic unicellular organisms, encourages problem-solving and critical thinking, reinforces good experimental design, and makes real world connections to disease control and civil engineering. People in the student dist...

  • Knowledge of amoebic dysentery causes anxiety for Ethan Scott, who has many misconceptions about single-celled organisms. With Nurse Marysol's guidance, players learn more about cells to ease Ethan Scott's fears that no cell can be trusted. This s...

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