This course provides an overview of the processes of living things, from a cellular level to the biosphere. It is a valuable course for any student, especially those requiring a general knowledge of biology for postsecondary study or careers in the fields of health or environmental sciences. Laboratory activities integrating scientific investigation and process skills make up an important component of this course.
Credits: 1.0 (0.5 per semester)
Estimated Completion Time: 2 semesters/18-32 weeks
* Scores are based on 15 student ratings out of 5.
Student Survey Response
LS1.C.3 Construct and revise an explanation based on evidence that organic macromolecules are primarily composed of six elements, where carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms may combine with nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorus to form large carbon-based molecules. [Clarification Statement: Large carbon-based molecules included are proteins, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, and lipids.]
LS1.A.5 Explain how water is important to cells (buffer for body temperature, provides soluble environment for chemical reactions, serves as a reactant in chem reactions, provides hydration that maintains cell turgidity, maintains protein shape)
LS1.A.4 Predict the movement of molecules across a selectively permeable membrane (i.e, diffusion, osmosis, active transport) needed for a cell to maintain homeostasis given concentration gradient and different sizes of molecules.
LS1.A.1 Construct a model of how the structure of DNA determines the structure of proteins which carry out the essential functions of life through systems of specialized cells. [Clarification Statement: Genes are the regions in DNA that code for proteins. Basic transcription and translation explain the roles of DNA and RNA in coding the instructions for making polypeptides.]
9-12.LS1.A.3 Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence that feedback mechanisms maintain homeostasis. [Clarification Statement: Examples of investigations could include heart rate response to exercise, stomata response to moisture and temperature, and root development in response to water levels.]
9-12.LS1.A.2 Develop and use a model to illustrate the hierarchical organization of interacting systems that provide specific functions within multicellular organisms. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on functions at the organism system level such as nutrient uptake, water delivery, and organism movement in response to stimuli.]
9-12.ESS3.A.1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity. [Clarification Statement: Examples of key natural resources include access to freshwater, regions of fertile soils such as river deltas, and high concentrations of minerals and fossil fuels. Examples of natural hazards can be from interior processes (such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes), surface processes (such as tsunamis, mass wasting and soil erosion), and severe weather. Examples of the results of changes in climate that can affect populations or drive mass migrations include changes to sea level, regional patterns of temperature and precipitation, and the types of crops and livestock that can be raised.]
9-12.ESS3.D.2 Predict how human activity affects the relationships between Earth systems in both positive and negative ways. [Clarification Statement: Examples of Earth systems to be considered are the hydrosphere, atmosphere, cryosphere, geosphere, and/or biosphere.]
LS3.A Develop and use models to clarify relationships about how DNA in the form of chromosomes is passed from parents to offspring through the processes of meiosis and fertilization in sexual Reproduction
LS3.B.1 Compare and contrast asexual and sexual reproduction with regard to genetic information and variation in offspring
LS3.B.2 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. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on conceptual understanding that changes in genetic material may result in making different proteins.]
LS3.B.3 Make and defend a claim that inheritable genetic variations may result from: (1) new genetic combinations through meiosis, (2) mutations occurring during replication, and/or (3) mutations caused by environmental factors. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on using data to support arguments for the way variation occurs.]
LS3.B.4 Apply concepts of statistics and probability to explain the variation and distribution of expressed traits in a population. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the use of mathematics (Punnett Squares) to describe the probability of traits as it relates to genetic and environmental factors in the expression of traits.]
LS1.C.1 Use a model to demonstrate how photosynthesis transforms light energy into stored chemical energy. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on illustrating inputs and outputs of matter and the transfer and transformation of energy in photosynthesis by plants and other photosynthesizing organisms. Examples of models could include diagrams, chemical equations, and conceptual models.]
LS1.C.2 Use a model to demonstrate that cellular respiration is a chemical process whereby the bonds of molecules are broken and the bonds in new compounds are formed resulting in a net transfer of energy. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the conceptual understanding of the inputs and outputs of the process of cellular respiration.]
LS2.B.1 Construct and revise an explanation based on evidence that the processes of photosynthesis, chemosynthesis, and aerobic and anaerobic respiration are responsible for the cycling of matter and flow of energy through ecosystems and that environmental conditions restrict which reactions can occur. [Clarification Statement: Examples of environmental conditions can include the availability of sunlight or oxygen.]
LS2.B.2 Communicate the pattern of the cycling of matter and the flow of energy among trophic levels in an ecosystem. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on using a model of stored energy in biomass to describe the transfer of energy from one trophic level to another. Emphasis is on atoms and molecules as they move through an ecosystem.]
LS2.B.3 Use a model that illustrates the roles of photosynthesis, cellular respiration, decomposition, and combustion to explain the cycling of carbon in its various forms among the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere. [Clarification Statement: The primary forms of carbon include carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, waste, and biomass. Examples of models could include simulations and mathematical and conceptual models.]
PS3.A.1 Create a computational model to calculate the change in the energy of one component in a system when the changes in energy are known. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on explaining the meaning of mathematical expressions used in the model.]
9-12 LS2.A Explain how various biotic and abiotic factors affect the carrying capacity and biodiversity of an ecosystem using mathematical and/or computational representations. [Clarification Statement: Examples of biotic factors could include relationships among individuals (e.g., feeding relationships, symbioses, competition) and disease. Examples of abiotic factors could include climate and weather conditions, natural disasters, and availability of resources. Genetic diversity includes within a population and species within an ecosystem. Examples of mathematical comparisons could include graphs, charts, histograms, and population changes gathered from simulations or historical data sets.]
9-12 LS4.C.2 Evaluate the evidence supporting claims that changes in environmental conditions may result in: (1) increases in the number of individuals of some species, (2) the emergence of new species over time, and (3) the extinction of other species. [Clarification statement: Emphasis is on determining cause and effect relationships for how changes to the environment such as deforestation, fishing, and application of fertilizers, droughts, flood, and the rate of change of the environment affect distribution or disappearance of traits in species.]
9-12 LS2.C.1 Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent populations of species while conditions remain stable, but changing conditions may result in new ecosystem dynamics. [Clarification Statement: Examples of changes in ecosystem conditions could include modest biological or physical changes, such as moderate hunting or a seasonal flood; and extreme changes, such as volcanic eruption or sea level rise.]
9-12 ETS1.A.1 Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
9-12 ESS2.C Plan and conduct an investigation of the properties of water and its effects on Earth materials and surface processes. Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on mechanical and chemical investigations with water and a variety of solid materials to provide the evidence for connections between the hydrologic cycle and system interactions commonly known as the rock cycle. Examples of mechanical investigations include stream transportation and deposition using a stream table, erosion using variations in soil moisture content, or ice wedging by the expansion of water as it freezes. Examples of chemical investigations include chemical weathering and recrystallization (by testing the solubility of different materials) or melt generation (by examining how water lowers the melting temperature of most solids).]
9-12 LS4.C.3 Create or revise a model to test a solution to mitigate adverse impacts of human activity on biodiversity. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on designing solutions for a proposed problem related to threatened or endangered species, or to genetic variation of organisms for multiple species.]
9-12 ESS3.C.1 Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity. [Clarification Statement: Examples of factors that affect the management of natural resources include costs of resource extraction and waste management, per-capita consumption, and the development of new technologies. Examples of factors that affect human sustainability include agricultural efficiency, levels of conservation, and urban planning.
9-12 ESS3.C.2 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems in order to restore stability and or biodiversity of the ecosystem as well as prevent their recurrences. [Clarification Statement: Examples of human activities could include forest fires, acid rain, flooding, urban development, pollution, deforestation, and introduction of an invasive species.]
9-12 LS2.C.2 Design, evaluate, and/or refine solutions that positively impact the environment and biodiversity. [Clarification Statement: Examples of solutions may include captive breeding programs, habitat restoration, pollution mitigation, energy conservation, agriculture and mining programs, and ecotourism.]
LS4.A.1 Communicate scientific information that common ancestry and biological evolution are supported by multiple lines of empirical evidence. (Clarification statement: Emphasis is on a conceptual understanding of the role each line of evidence has relating to common ancestry and biological evolution. Examples of evidence could include similarities in DNA sequences, anatomical structures, and order of appearance of structures in embryological development. Communicate could mean written report, oral discussion, etc.)
LS4.A.2 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. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on inferring general patterns of relatedness among embryos of different organisms by comparing the macroscopic appearance of diagrams or pictures.]
LS4.B.1 Construct an explanation based on evidence that the process of evolution primarily results from four factors: (1) the potential for a species to increase in number, (2) the heritable genetic variation of individuals in a species due to mutation and sexual reproduction, (3) competition for limited resources, and (4) the proliferation of those organisms that are better able to survive and reproduce in the environment. (Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on using evidence to explain the influence each of the four factors has on number of organisms, behaviors, morphology, or physiology in terms of ability to compete for limited resources and subsequent survival of individuals and adaptation of species. Examples of evidence could include mathematical models such as simple distribution graphs and proportional reasoning.)
LS4.B.2 Apply concepts of statistics and probability to support explanations that organisms with an advantageous heritable trait tend to increase in proportion to organisms lacking this trait. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on analyzing shifts in numerical distribution of traits and using these shifts as evidence to support explanations.]
LS4.C.1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how natural selection leads to adaptation of populations. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on using data to provide evidence for how specific biotic and abiotic differences in ecosystems (such as ranges of seasonal temperature, long-term climate change, acidity, light, geographic barriers, or evolution of other organisms) contribute to a change in gene frequency over time, leading to adaptation of populations.]