This chapter serves as an introduction to life science for the middle school student. This chapter covers the nature of science, including the scientific method and the tools used in science, as well as safety in scientific research.
The metric system is the most widely used system of measurement in the world. It is a more universal measurement standard as compared to the customary system used in the United States.
Metric to metric conversions
Introduction to Living Organisms
This chapter is a general introduction to living things: what they are, what they are made of, and how they are classified. Carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids are introduced in this chapter.
Cells and Their Structures
This chapter discusses cells, what they are and what they are made of. Eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells are discussed, as are the major organelles of eukaryotic cells.
Cell functions, including active transport, passive transport, photosynthesis, and cellular respiration are discussed in this chapter.
Cell Division, Reproduction, and DNA
Cell division and reproduction – including mitosis and meiosis – are discussed in this chapter, as is the relationship between DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis.
Genetics – from Gregor Mendel and his pea plants to modern advances, including the Human Genome Project and gene therapy – are presented in this chapter. The Stem Cell research position statement by the United States Con¬ference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is included.
The findings of Charles Darwin leading to the theory of evolution by natural selection, the history of life on Earth, and the evidence of evolution are discussed in this chapter.
Metric to English and English to Metric Conversions
To make sense of our data, we must be certain that we are using the correct system of measurement, or make the necessary conversions.
Prokaryotes and Viruses
Covers microorganisms, prokaryotic organisms, and viruses.
Protists and Fungi
The properties and characteristics of protists and fungi, from how they obtain food to how they reproduce, are discussed in this chapter.
This chapter introduces plants, from nonvascular plants to vascular plants to gymnosperms and angiosperms. Plant responses, including hormones and tropisms, are also presented.
Introduction to Invertebrates
This chapter gives an overview of animals and further discusses sponges, cnidarians, and worms, including flatworms, roundworms, and segmented worms.
This chapter discusses additional animals without backbones: the mollusks, echinoderms, arthropods, and insects.
Fishes, Amphibians, and Reptiles
This chapter introduces vertebrates, animals with backbones - fishes, amphibians, and reptiles – from jawless fish to amphibians that must live near water to reptiles that can live anywhere.
Birds and Mammals
Characteristics and properties of birds and mammals are discussed in this chapter. The tremendous diversity of birds and the significance of mammals are highlighted.
Behavior of Animals
Types of animal behaviors, including communication, cooperation, mating and raising young, and daily and yearly cycles are presented in this chapter.
Skin, Bones, and Muscles
This chapter introduces the human body and its organization. The skeletal, muscular, and integumentary (skin) systems are presented.
This chapter introduces the heart, blood, and blood vessels, as well as discusses cardiovascular disease and health.
Presented in this chapter are how we breathe (the respiratory system)
Controlling the Body
In this chapter, the nervous system and the health of this system are discussed. The senses – vision, hearing, touch, smell, and taste are also presented.
Food and the Digestive System
In this chapter, food (and nutrients) and how to choose healthy food are discussed, as is the digestive system. The MyPyramid diagram is presented.
Diseases and the Body's Defenses
How the body protects itself is discussed in this chapter. Infectious and noninfectious diseases, the first two lines of nonspecific defenses, and the specific immune response are presented.
The male and female reproductive systems and maintaining the health of these systems – is presented in this chapter. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' statement on human reproduction is presented.
From Populations to the Biosphere
This chapter introduces ecology and discusses the ecosystem beginning with the population. Communities, ecosystems, biotic and abiotic factors, and biomes are also presented.
How energy flows through an ecosystem, how matter recycles through ecosystems, and how ecosystems change over time make up this chapter.
Biomes and the Biosphere
Air pollution, water pollution, renewable and nonrenewable resources, habitat destruction and extinction, and the importance of biodiversity are discussed in this chapter.
The Chesapeake Bay Watershed
One type of ecosystem found in Virginia is a watershed ecosystem. A watershed is an area of land that drains into a stream, river, lake, or other body of water. A watershed is also called a drainage basin. The Chesapeake Bay Watershed drains into the Chesapeake Bay and then into the Atlantic Ocean.
Streams and Rivers
A river system is made up of a river and all its tributaries. Recall that a river a river is large, flowing stream of water that is fed by smaller bodies. These smaller bodies are streams, or tributaries. A stream is a small body of freshwater.
Wetlands and estuaries
Wetlands are areas that remain wet for all or part of the year. They are found between areas of dry land and bodies of water, such as rivers, ponds, lakes, and bays. Estuaries are bodies of water in which freshwater from rivers and streams meets and mixes with salt water from the ocean. Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the US.
Appendix: Life Science
On Embryonic Stem Cell Research
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)