Welcome to St. Paul's Biology, First Quarter.

1st Quarter>

Students now launch into the meat of the Next Generation Science Standards. The First Quarter will include:

Science and engineering practices

 Asking questions and defining problems

1. Students should be able to recognize the basic features of science as a discipline and apply these to the approach they take to their own investigations. They should understand the role of observation in science; it is through observation that scientists collect data to test their hypothesis. Students should understand that observation often involves the use of tools (e.g. taking measurements).

2. Hypotheses put forward to explain observations about a system should be based on sound prior knowledge. For students, this usually involves provided information and background reading. Students should formulate questions and hypotheses that are appropriate to the system they are investigating and that they can feasibly investigate with the time and resources available. While recognizing its limitations, a sound approach at this level could be: 1) to ask a question about a phenomenon, 2) to make observations about that phenomenon, 3) to construct a hypothesis to explain the phenomenon, 4) to test, 5) to collect and interpret data, 6) to draw conclusions and communicate findings, 7) to discuss (peer review).

Develop and use models

3. The model is central to science. A model is any representation, simplification, or substitute for what you are actually studying or trying to predict. Examples of models in science include the billiard ball model of a gas and the double helix model of DNA. A good model must be able to explain as many characteristics of the observed system as possible, but also be as simple as possible. Students should recognize the range of things that act as models of a system or its components, e.g. physical models, abstracts, analogies, drawings, and simulations. Students should be aware of the limitations of models and understand that models, like the laws and explanations they represent, are constantly being revised in science.

4. Accurate biological drawings provide a way of recording information that may be better than using descriptions. The appropriateness of their use will depend on the study and the information being collected.

 Plan and carry out investigations

5. Students should plan investigations with consideration to making a fair test where possible or (e.g. in the field) accounting for factors that are beyond their ability to control. They should be aware of assumptions they are making about the system and evaluate how reasonable these are.

6. Students should understand that accuracy refers to how close a value is to the true value. The same applies with inferential statistics, when we want to assess how close a statistic (e.g. mean mass of a sample of fish) is to the true population parameter (mean mass of fish population). With widespread use of dataloggers and measuring instrumentation, accuracy is often a feature of instrument calibration. Precision is an indication of how close measurements are to each other. To improve precision, students should always assign the same person to make measurements in an experiment.

7. Students should distinguish quantitative data (numbers) from qualitative data (descriptions), but recognize that some data are categorical by nature (e.g. sex, color). They should be able to explain why it is desirable to collect quantitative data rather than qualitative data. They can think about how they could convert qualitative to quantitative data. Experiments in which qualitative data are collected commonly include tests involving color changes (e.g. food tests) or descriptions of habitat (e.g. vegetation density). Qualitative data can sometimes be made semi-quantitative by assigning a rank to responses (this is common in behavioral studies, e.g., to quantify intensity of behaviors).

 8. Students should distinguish between and explain the range and the purpose of independent, dependent, and controlled variables in a controlled experiment. Students should understand that the purpose of the experimental control is to establish the effect of one variable of interest on a system. Thus the control (or control groups) is not exposed to the changes in the independent variable of interest.

Analyze and interpret data

9. Graphs present data in a way that makes trends and patterns in the data evident to the reader. Different graph types are appropriate for different types of data, e.g. a line graph is inappropriate for discontinuous data. Students should review the guidelines for presenting data graphically.

10. Students should recognize the value of basic descriptive statistics as a way to describe their data. Measures of central tendency provide a key to the most appropriate further analysis. Tabulating descriptive statistics and plotting data with an indication of dispersion (spread) are among the best early analyses and, at this level, are often sufficient to show trends and patterns in the data.

11. Students should understand how statistics and probability can be used to evaluate the reliability of findings and so increase confidence in statements of cause and effect.

Use mathematics and computational thinking

12. Students should be able to recognize and use appropriate units in calculations and convert between units and between decimal and standard form. They should be comfortable using computational tools such as spreadsheets to analyze, represent and model data. The Teacher's Digital Edition provides many sample spreadsheets that can be used for this purpose.

13. Simple data manipulations, including percentages, rates, frequencies, and means, are a way to summarize data and enable samples to be meaningfully compared. Students should be comfortable with these basic calculations.

Construct explanations and design solutions

14. Many of the activities in the book require students to explain results based on real evidence presented and using their understanding of basic principles previously covered.

Engage in argument from evidence

15. Many of the activities in the book present real world second hand data to support the concepts presented. Students are often asked to evaluate explanations based on the evidence and are encouraged to propose explanations for any inconsistencies in the data (as real world data is seldom a perfect story).

Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information

16. Throughout the book, students are encouraged to evaluate the validity and reliability of designs, methods, claims, and evidence. These evaluations are integral to most of the data handling and interpretation activities presented.

The Big Idea Project:

As a final project to show understanding of doing true science, the students are assigned a science fair type project. They are encouraged to solve a real-world problem. See resources on the right for the project description and examples of previous lab descriptions and lab reports.

Some outstanding projects:
Water purifier by evaporation, Windmill generators, Automatic watering for garden capturing rainwater, House design that elevates during a flood, Using body heat and peltier chips to recharge a phone, Building a bike powered generator, Using HIIT to improve cardiovascular health, Studies of different healthy diets, Making edible plate and fork from bioplastic.


Michael Applebaum- A gun that runs off of water hydrolysis. It will generate electricity to split Hydrogen and Oxygen atoms to create Brown’s gas which will replace gunpowder.

Grant Bizette- I will build a house model that can float if flooding occurs. It will set in place when water subsides.

Trey and Logan Video of ATV

 LS1.A Cell Specialization and Organization

The students will build a model of a plant or animal cell out of food. Below are shown some of the outstanding examples of these cell models.





William Robinson

Owen Hnatyshyn










Specialized cells provide essential life functions

 1. Students should recognize the cell as the basic unit of living things and be able to describe the three basic features of all cells (plasma membrane, cytoplasm, and genetic material). Distinguishing features of different cell types should be emphasized. Students should be able to distinguish between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells in photographs and explain their reasoning. Many eukaryotic cellular organelles are a similar size to prokaryotic cells.

2. Most cellular organelles are either membranous (e.g. Golgi, ER) or microtubular (e.g. centrioles). The plasma membrane is a partially permeable, phospholipid bilayer in which proteins are embedded. As extension, students could examine the evidence for its structure. (HS-LS1-1)

3. The contribution of specialized cells to the formation of tissues can be illustrated using examples. The role of multicellularity in division of labor and (consequently) functional efficiency can be discussed with reference to the same examples. For example, nervous tissue is composed of neurons, which are specialized to transmit impulses, and glial cells (e.g. Schwann cells), which provide nutrients to the neuron. Connective tissue binds neurons together and supports them as nerves. Specialized cells may lose, retain, or have different volumes of particular organelles depending on their role, e.g. red blood cells lack a nucleus, mitochondria, and ribosomes to make room for the oxygen-carrying hemoglobin, lymphocytes have a lot of rER because of their antibody-producing role. (HS-LS1-1)

Genes on DNA code for proteins

4. Students should understand the basic structure of nucleotides and be able to explain how the information is stored. The role of DS DNA in the long term storage of information and the role of SS RNA as a messenger between DNA and ribosomes should be emphasized. A description of the double-helix model of DNA should emphasize the anti-parallel nature of the strands, the polarity of the molecule, the base-pairing rule, the classification of bases, and the role of hydrogen bonding. Students should understand that the double-helix model of DNA structure is based on evidence and that the current model replaced earlier ones that did not explain all the observations. (HS-LS1-1, HS-LS3-1)

5. Students may demonstrate an understanding of the base-pairing rule and the role of hydrogen bonding by completing the paper practical in the workbook. Students should understand:

• The 4-letter alphabet and the 3-letter triplet code (codon) of base sequences.

• The non-overlapping, linear nature of the code, which is read from a start point to a finish point.

• The universal nature and degeneracy of the code. They should be able to explain the evidence for the triplet code. (HS-LS1-1, HS-LS3-1)

6. While students should understand that (traditionally) a gene encodes a protein, they will learn in HS-LS3-1 that some segments of DNA (effectively genes) encode functional mRNA products with regulatory or structural roles. The role of proteins in carrying out most of the work of the cells (as structural components and as enzymes) and the dependence of function on tertiary structure should be emphasized (HS-LS1-1, HS-LS3-1)

 Multicellular organisms are organized in a hierarchical way

7. Students should recognize the various levels of organization in a multicellular organism, e.g. human. Students could recognize emergent properties at each level of organization, i.e. the emergence of new properties, such as metabolism and behavior, with increasing organizational complexity. (HS-LS1-2)

8. Students should demonstrate their understanding of organ systems by describing the roles of a named organ system and identifying its components. Appropriate examples, as provided in the activities identified, could be used to demonstrate how organ systems interact to carry out an essential life function, such as respiration (cardiovascular and respiratory systems) or manufacture of food (root and shoot systems). (HS-LS1-2)

Crosscutting concepts

1. SSM: Models can be used to represent interactions in a physiological system. (HS-LS1-2)

2. SF: The determination of DNA's structure required a detailed examination of its components and enabled its function to be understood. (HS-LS1-1)

3. SF: The functions and properties of cells can be inferred from their components and their overall structure. (Not aligned to a performance expectation)

Science and engineering practices

1. Use a model to show that multicellular organisms have a hierarchical structure and that components from one level contribute to the next.

SEP: Developing and using models (HS-LS1-2)

2. Use a model to illustrate that components of a system interact to fulfil essential life functions.

SEP: Developing and using models (HS-LS1-2)

3. Construct and use a model to illustrate the structure of DNA.

SEP: Developing and using models (HS-LS1-2)

4. Explain, based on evidence, how DNA structure determines protein structure.

SEP: Constructing explanations and designing solutions (HS-LS1-1)

Click here to go to Second Quarter>


Click here for your link to Glencoe 2004 online and all of your book related resources.Click here to download the 2012 study guide.



In the each of the following eight videos, Paul Anderson "unpacks" each Science and Engineering Practice (S&EP):

Asking Questions & Defining Problems

Developing & Using Models

Planning & Carrying Out Investigations

Analyzing & Interpreting Data

Mathematics & Computational Thinking

Construct Explanations & Design Solutions

Engaging in Argument from Evidence

Obtain, Evaluate, Communicate Information

Big Idea Resources:

Cell model description and rubric

Big Idea Project description

Big Idea Rubric

Lab description example

Lab report example

Big Idea projects in 1913,
700 thing for a boy to do

LS1A-Structure & Function

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 Copyright John Carambat 2016 - Contact: johnc@stpauls.com