CONTENT STANDARD C: As a result of their activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop understanding of:
- Cells store and use information to guide their functions. The genetic information stored in DNA is used to direct the synthesis of the thousands of proteins that each cell requires.
- Most cell functions involve chemical reactions. Food molecules taken into cells react to provide the chemical constituents needed to synthesize other molecules. Both breakdown and synthesis are made possible by a large set of protein catalysts, called enzymes. The breakdown of some of the food molecules enables the cell to store energy in specific chemicals that are used to carry out the many functions of the cell.
- Cell functions are regulated. Regulation occurs both through changes in the activity of the functions performed by proteins and through the selective expression of individual genes. This regulation allows cells to respond to their environment and to control and coordinate cell growth and division.
- Plant cells contain chloroplasts, the site of photosynthesis. Plants and many microorganisms use solar energy to combine molecules of carbon dioxide and water into complex, energy rich organic compounds and release oxygen to the environment. This process of photosynthesis provides a vital connection between the sun and the energy needs of living systems.
Molecular basis of heredity
- In all organisms, the instructions for specifying the characteristics of the organism are carried in DNA, a large polymer formed from subunits of four kinds (A, G, C, and T). The chemical and structural properties of DNA explain how the genetic information that underlies heredity is both encoded in genes (as a string of molecular “letters”) and replicated (by a templating mechanism). Each DNA molecule in a cell forms a single chromosome.
- Most of the cells in a human contain two copies of each of 22 different chromosomes. In addition, there is a pair of chromosomes that determines sex: a female contains two X chromosomes and a male contains one X and one Y chromosome. Transmission of genetic information to offspring occurs through egg and sperm cells that contain only one representative from each chromosome pair. An egg and a sperm unite to form a new individual. The fact that the human body is formed from cells that contain two copies of each chromosome (and therefore two copies of each gene) explains many features of human heredity, such as how variations that are hidden in one generation can be expressed in the next.
- Changes in DNA (mutations) occur spontaneously at low rates. Some of these changes make no difference to the organism, whereas others can change cells and organisms. Only mutations in germ cells can create the variation that changes an organism’s offspring.
- Species evolve over time. Evolution is the consequence of the interactions of (1) the potential for a species to increase its numbers, (2) the genetic variability of offspring due to mutation and recombination of genes, (3) a finite supply of the resources required for life, and (4) the ensuing selection by the environment of those offspring better able to survive and leave offspring.
Interdependence of organisms
- Organisms both cooperate and compete in eco systems. The interrelationships and inter dependencies of these organisms may generate ecosystems that are stable for hundreds or thousands of years.
- Living organisms have the capacity to produce populations of infinite size, but environments and resources are finite. This fundamental tension has profound effects on the interactions between organisms.
- Human beings live within the world’s ecosystems. Increasingly, humans modify ecosystems as a result of population growth, technology, and consumption. Human destruction of habitats through direct harvesting, pollution, atmospheric changes, and other factors is threatening current global stability, and if not addressed, ecosystems will be irreversibly affected.
CONTENT STANDARD E: As a result of activities in grades 9 - 12, all students should develop:
Abilities of technological design (engineering process)
- Identify a problem or design an opportunity.
- Propose designs and choose between alternative solutions.
- Students should demonstrate thoughtful planning for a piece of technology or technique. Students should be introduced to the roles of models and simulations in these processes.
- Implement a proposed solution.
- Evaluate the solution and its consequences.
- Communicate the problem, process, and solution.
Understandings about science and technology
- Creativity, imagination, and a good knowledge base are all required in the work of science and engineering.
- Science and technology are pursued for different purposes. Scientific inquiry is driven by the desire to understand the natural world, and technological design is driven by the need to meet human needs and solve human problems. Technology, by its nature, has a more direct effect on society than science because its purpose is to solve human problems, help humans adapt, and fulfill human aspirations. Technological solutions may create new problems. Science, by its nature, answers questions that may or may not directly influence humans. Sometimes scientific advances challenge people’s beliefs and practical explanations concerning various aspects of the world
1. Creativity and Innovation - Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, & develop innovative products / processes using technology. Students:
c. use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues.
d. identify trends and forecast possibilities.
2. Communication and Collaboration - Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others. Students:
a. interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.
b. communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.
4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making - Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources. Students:
c. collect / analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.
State of Texas Science Content Standards: Biology
112.34.3(E) – Evaluate models according to their limitations in representing biological objects or events; (Skills)
112.34.6(B) – Recognize that components that make up the genetic code are common to all organisms; (Supporting)
112.34.6(E) – Identify and illustrate changes in DNA and evaluate the significance of these changes; (Readiness)
112.34.7(C) – Analyze and evaluate how natural selection produces change in populations, not individuals; (Supporting)
112.34.8 (B) – Categorize organisms using a hierarchical classification system based on similarities and differences shared among groups; and (Readiness)
112.34.8 (C) – Compare characteristics of taxonomic groups, including archaea, bacteria, protists, fungi, plants, and animals. (Supporting)
112.34.11(B) – Investigate and analyze how organisms, populations, and communities respond to external factors; and (Supporting)
112.34.11(C) – Summarize the role of microorganisms in both maintaining and disrupting the health of both organisms and ecosystems; (Supporting)
112.34.12 (A) – Interpret relationships, including predation, parasitism, commensalism, mutualism, and competition among organisms; (Readiness)
112.34.12 (D) – Recognize that long-term survival of species is dependent on changing resource bases that are limited (Supporting)