• Middle School Science Grade 7/8 Semester 1

    Subject: Science
    Grade: 7/8
    Timeline: 18 weeks
    Title: Organisms: Structure, Function and Reproduction

    Unit Overview: 
    Students will investigate through hands-on experience organisms of the taxonomic groups identified as members of kingdoms. Individual organisms are discussed and investigated, but the focus is on life cycles and the life processes of one specific plant example and one specific animal example. The unit is divided into three sections: Beginning Cycle, Continuing the Cycle and Completing the Cycle.

    Unit Objectives:
    The objectives of this unit are to apply the Next Generation Science Standard (NGSS) Crosscutting Concepts that bridge disciplinary boundaries, uniting core ideas throughout the fields of science and engineering.
    1. Cause and Effect  Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural systems.  Phenomena may have more than one cause, and some cause and effect relationships in systems can only be described using probability.
    2. Scale, Proportion, and Quantity  Phenomena that can be observed at one scale may not be observable at another scale.
    3. Systems and System Models  Systems may interact with other systems; they may have sub-systems and be a part of larger complex systems.
    4. Energy and Matter  Matter is conserved because atoms are conserved in physical and chemical processes.  Within a natural system, the transfer of energy drives the motion and/or cycling of matter.  The transfer of energy can be tracked as energy flows through a natural system.
    5. Structure and Function  Complex and microscopic structures and systems can be visualized, modeled, and used to describe how their function depends on the relationships among its parts, therefore complex natural structures/systems can be analyzed to determine how they function.
    6. Patterns Patterns can be used to identify cause and effect relationships.   Graphs, charts, and images can be used to identify patterns in data.
    7. Stability and Change  Small changes in one part of a system might cause large changes in another part.

    Focus Standards:
    PSSA Eligible Content
    S8.A.1.1.1: Distinguish between a scientific theory and an opinion, explaining how a theory is supported with evidence, or how new data/information may change existing theories and practices.
    S8.A.1.1.2: Explain how certain questions can be answered through scientific inquiry and/or technological design.
    S8.A.1.1.3: Use evidence, such as observations or experimental results, to support inferences about a relationship.
    S8.A.1.2.1: Describe the positive and negative, intended and unintended, effects of specific scientific results or technological developments (e.g., air/space travel, genetic engineering, nuclear fission/fusion, artificial intelligence, lasers, organ transplants).
    S8.A.2.1.1: Use evidence, observations, or a variety of scales (e.g., mass, distance, volume, temperature) to describe relationships.
    S8.A.2.1.4: Interpret data/observations; develop relationships among variables based on data/observations to design models as solutions
    S8.A.2.1.5 Use evidence from investigations to clearly communicate and support conclusions.
    S8.A.2.2.1: Describe the appropriate use of instruments and scales to accurately and safely measure time, mass, distance, volume, or temperature under a variety of conditions.
    S8.A.2.2.2: Apply appropriate measurement systems (e.g., time, mass, distance, volume, temperature) to record and 
    S8.A.2.2.3: Describe ways technology (e.g., microscope, telescope, micrometer, hydraulics, barometer) extends and enhances human abilities for specific purposes.
    S8.A.3.1.1: Describe a system (e.g., watershed, circulatory system, heating system, agricultural system) as a group of related parts with specific roles that work together to achieve an observed result.
    Materials & Resources
    S8.A.3.1.2: Explain the concept of order in a system [e.g., (first to last: manufacturing steps, trophic levels); (simple to complex: cell, tissue, organ, organ system)].
    S8.B.1.1.4: Identify the levels of organization from cell to organism and describe how specific structures (parts), which underlie larger systems, enable the system to function as a whole.
    S8.B.3.1.1: Explain the flow of energy through an ecosystem (e.g., food chains, food webs).
    S8.B.3.1.2: Identify major biomes and describe abiotic and biotic components (e.g., abiotic: different soil types, air, water sunlight; biotic: soil microbes, decomposers).
    S8.B.3.1.3: Explain relationships among organisms (e.g., producers/consumers, predator/prey) in an ecosystem.
    S8.B.3.2.1: Use evidence to explain factors that affect changes in populations (e.g., deforestation, disease, land use, natural disaster, invasive species).
    S8.B.3.2.2: Use evidence to explain how diversity affects the ecological integrity of natural systems.
    S8.B.3.2.3: Describe the response of organisms to environmental changes (e.g., changes in climate, hibernation, migration, coloration) and how those changes affect survival.
    S8.B.3.3.1: Explain how human activities may affect local, regional, and global environments.
    Materials & Resources
    S8.B.3.3.2: Explain how renewable and nonrenewable resources provide for human needs (i.e., energy, food, water, clothing, and shelter).
    Materials & Resources
    S8.B.3.3.3: Describe how waste management affects the environment (e.g., recycling, composting, landfills, incineration, sewage treatment).
    S8.B.3.3.4: Explain the long-term effects of using integrated pest management (e.g., herbicides, natural predators, biogenetics) on the environment.
    NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas

    LS1.A:  Structure and Function

    All living things are made up of cells, which is the smallest unit that can be said to be alive.  An organism may consist of one single cell (unicellular) or many different numbers and types of cells (multicellular).
    Within cells, special structures are responsible for particular functions, and the cell membrane forms the boundary that controls what enters and leaves the cell.
    In multicellular organisms, the body is a system of multiple interacting subsystems.  These subsystems are groups of cells that work together to form tissues and organs that are specialized for particular body function.

    LS1.B: Growth and Development of Organisms

    Animals engage in characteristic behaviors that increase the odds of reproduction.
    Plants reproduce in a variety of ways, sometimes depending on animal behavior and specialized features for reproduction.
    Genetic factors as well as local conditions affect the growth of the adult plant.

    LS1.C:  Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms

    Plants, algae (including phytoplankton), and many microorganisms use the energy from light to make sugars (food) from carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and water through the process of photosynthesis, which also releases oxygen.  These sugars can be used immediately or stored for growth or later use. 
    Within individual organisms, food moves through a series of chemical reactions in which it is broken down and rearranged to form new molecules, to support growth, or to release energy.

    PS3.D:  Energy in Chemical Processes and Everyday Life

    The chemical reaction by which plants produce complex food molecules (sugars) requires an energy input (i.e., from sunlight) to occur.  In this reaction, carbon dioxide and water combine to form carbon-based organic molecules and release oxygen. 
    Cellular respiration in plants and animals involve chemical reactions with oxygen that release stored energy.  In these processes, complex molecules containing carbon react with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and other materials.
    Concepts - Students will know:
    • about scientific inquiry.                                                              
    • be able to demonstrate the  abilities to do scientific inquiry.
    • living things undergo fundamental life processes.                                            
    • an organism is any complete living thing.
    • how abiotic factors affect organisms.
    • that organisms can be categorized by the role they serve in an ecosystem.
    • how matter and energy cycle through the ecosystem.
    • the importance of biodiveristy for the survival of the species and well-being of the ecosystem.
    • that all organisms are composed of cells and that cells are the fundamental unit of life.
    • how reproduction is essential to the continuation of life forms.
    • that we can classify organisms based on their structure.
    • that traits of an organism are carried on one or more genes located in the chromosomes.
    • how genes affect the traits that are passed on from parent to offspring.
    • how genetic information can be expressed.
    Competencies -Students will be able to:
    • explain current scientific knowledge, models and understanding that guide scientific investigations.
    • use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze and interpret data.
    • define organism.                                                                
    • distinguish between living and non-living things.
    • identify abiotic factors in an environment.
    • observe ecosystems over time.
    • investigate how varying abiotic factors affect organisms.
    • examine the role of producer, consumer and decomposer.
    • construct food webs for various ecosystems.
    • analyze interactions of organisms within an ecosystem (e.g. predator/prey, etc.)
    • demonstrate how energy from the sun flows through food webs.
    • identify cycles in an ecosystem (food, water, etc.)
    • classify organisms by their characteristics.
    • explore challenges for survival of species and ecosystems (pollution, invasive species, disease, etc.).
    • examine how different adaptations have allowed organisms to survive in their environment.
    • observe, draw, and describe unicellular organisms.
    • compare and contrast plant and animal cells.
    • Describe the levels of organization from cell to organism.
    • describe the life cycle of cells.
    • model the stages of cell division.
    • compare and contrast reproductive and life cycles of different organisms.
    • use a dichotomous key to identify organisms.
    • categorize organisms by kingdom based on their characteristics.
    • explain that chromosomes are located in the nucleus.
    • show that a pair of chromosomes is needed for a trait to be expressed (allele).
    • distinguish how different living things reproduce (asexual, sexual).
    • apply Mendelian concepts of genetics (dominant/recessive, independent and segregation).
    • review Mendel's contribution to genetics.
    • demonstrate how genes combine to determine characteristics.
    • research how genes can be manipulated to produce desired outcomes (i.e. mass, selection, genetic engineering, human genome project).
    • describe mutation's  effects on a trait's expression.

    • Recorded data from Investigations                                  
    • Lab reports                                                               
    • Note-booking                                                     
    • Teacher observations
    • Organism cards                                              
    • Discussion                                                                        
    • Participation                                                           
    • Observation log                                
    • Card sort                                                                
    • Observations                                                                           
    • Response sheets                                       
    • Mid-summative exam                                                   
    • Research project                                              
    • Ecosystem log sheets
    • Response sheets                                                            
    • Quick Writes
    • Reflections
    • Scientific drawings
    Elements of Instruction:
    The NGSS identifies eight Science and Engineering Practices that all students in all grades must participate in to effectively investigate the natural world through the practices of science inquiry, or solve meaningful problems through the practices of engineering design.
    Science and Engineering Practices
    Practice 1 Asking Questions and Defining Problems
    Students should be able to ask questions of each other about the texts they read, the features of the phenomena they observe, and the conclusions they draw from their models or scientific investigations. For engineering, they should ask questions to define the problem to be solved and to elicit ideas that lead to the constraints and specifications for its solution.
    Practice 2 Developing and Using Models
    Modeling can begin with students’ models progressing from concrete “pictures” and/or physical scale models  to more abstract representations of relevant relationships in later grades, such as a diagram representing forces on a particular object in a system.

    Practice 3 Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
    Students should have opportunities to plan and carry out several different kinds of investigations. They should engage in investigations that range from those structured  by the teacher—in order to expose  an issue or question that they
    would be unlikely to explore on their own—to those that emerge from students’ own questions.
    Practice 4 Analyzing and Interpreting Data
    Once collected, data must be presented in a form that can reveal any patterns and relationships and that allows results to be communicated to others. Because raw data as such have little meaning, a major practice of scientists is to organize and interpret data through tabulating, graphing, or statistical analysis. Such analysis can bring out the meaning of data—and their relevance—so that they may be used as evidence.
    Practice 5 Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
    Although there are differences in how mathematics and computational thinking are applied in science and in engineering, mathematics often brings these two fields together by enabling engineers to apply the mathematical form of scientific theories and by enabling scientists to use powerful information technologies designed by engineers. Both can thereby accomplish investigations and analyses and build complex models, which might otherwise be out of the question. Students will practice these computations.

    Practice 6 Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
    The goal of science is to construct explanations for the causes of phenomena. Students are expected to construct their
    own explanations, as well as apply standard explanations they learn about from their teachers or reading.
    Practice 7 Engaging in Argument from Evidence
    The study of science and engineering should produce a sense of the process of argument necessary for advancing and defending a new idea or an explanation of a phenomenon and the norms for conducting such arguments. In that spirit, students should argue for the explanations they construct, defend their interpretations of the associated data, and advocate for the designs they propose.
    Practice 8 Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
    Any education in science and engineering needs to develop students’ ability to read and produce domain-specific text. As such, every science or engineering lesson is in part a language lesson, particularly reading and producing the genres of texts that are intrinsic to science and engineering.

    • Differentiation options for each portion of the lesson are listed with directions and student masters in the Teacher’s Guide.
    • Explanation of activities using combinations of pictures and words
    • Graphic organizers for lab report process
    • Graphic organizer for note booking
    • Student developed research projects with digital presentation
    • Use of computer software for formative assessment 

    Interdisciplinary Connections:

    Additional Resources / Games: