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  • High School

    Structure and Function

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

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).

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to explanations and designs that are supported by multiple and independent student-generated sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories.

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.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)
  • 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)
  • 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)

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 computer simulation allows students to investigate the relationship between DNA sequences and protein structures.  Additionally, this interactive activity allows students to make sense of the relationship between DNA structure and types of ...

  • This lesson is designed as a supporting resource for the HHMI resource, The Biology of Skin Color.  The interactive animation describes how and where melanin is produced and includes five stop points where students can learn more information. &n ...

  • 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 homeostasis. The unit first engages students by watching ...

  • This resource is an article from the January 2016 issue of The Science Teacher.  The unit focuses on an essential question:  How do Siamese cats develop their coloration?  Students develop explanations by making connections among ...

  • 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 protein ...

  • 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 discuss what envir ...

  • 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 plan ...

  • 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 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 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 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 lesso ...

  • 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 ...

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