Sophomore Biology Pacing Guide







Essential  Questions

Assessments & Lab Activities Resources & Literacy

(Nature of Science)


Nature of Science


Standard 10: Students shall demonstrate an understanding that science is a way of knowing.


Explain why science is limited to natural explanations of how the world works


NS.10. B.1

Explain why science is limited to natural explanations of how the world works


NS.10. B.2

Compare and contrast hypotheses, theories, and laws


NS.10. B.3

Distinguish between a scientific theory and the term “theory” used in general conversation


NS.10. B.4

Summarize the guidelines of science:

 A. Explanations are based on observations, evidence, and testing

B.  Hypotheses must be testable

C.  Understandings and/or conclusions may change with additional empirical data 

D.  Scientific knowledge must have peer review and verification before acceptance

Standard 11: Students shall design and safely conduct scientific inquiry


NS.11. B.1

Develop and explain the appropriate procedure, controls, and variables (dependent and independent) in scientific experimentation


NS.11. B.2

Research and apply appropriate safety precautions (refer to ADE Guidelines) when designing and/or conducting scientific investigations


NS.11. B.3

Identify sources of bias that could affect experimental outcome


NS.11. B.4

Gather and analyze data using appropriate summary statistics


NS.11. B.5

Formulate valid conclusions without bias


NS.11. B.6

Communicate experimental results using appropriate reports, figures, and tables


Standard 12: Students shall demonstrate an understanding of current life science theories.



Recognize that theories are scientific explanations that require empirical data, verification, and peer review



Understand that scientific theories may be modified or expanded based on additional empirical data, verification, and peer review


Standard 13: Students shall use mathematics, science equipment, and technology as tools to communicate and solve life science problems


Collect and analyze scientific data using appropriate mathematical calculations, figures, and tables



Use appropriate equipment and technology as tools for solving problems (e.g., microscopes, centrifuges, flexible arm cameras, computer software and hardware)



Utilize technology to communicate research findings


Standard 14: Students shall describe the connections between pure and applied science.



Compare and contrast biological concepts in pure science and applied science


Discuss why scientists should work within ethical parameters


Standard 15: Students shall describe various life science careers and the training required for the selected career



Research and evaluate science careers using the following criteria:

  • educational requirements
  • salary
  • availability of jobs 
  • working conditions



Nature of Science


The major content themes of  biology

Ø  Matter and Energy

Ø  Cells

Ø  Interdependence

Ø  Reproduction and Inheritance

Ø  Evolution

Ø  Homeostasis and Stability

What science is and is not

Ø  Deals only with natural world

Ø  Explanations can be tested    

Ø  Explanations are used to make predictions

Ø  Is revised to account for new evidence

Ø  Also refers to a body of knowledge that has accumulated after repeated attempts to verify/refute


Process of science

Ø  Starts with observation

Ø  Form inferences

Ø  Develop hypotheses

Ø  Test hypotheses

Ø  Form Theories


Hypotheses vs. theories vs. laws

Ø  What if statements

Ø  Researched, hypothesized and tested

Ø  Statements of occurrences in natural world

Ø  Peer collaboration

Ø  Peer verification


Designing an Experiment

Ø Stating the problem

Ø Forming hypotheses

Ø Setting up controlled experiment

Ø Recording and analyzing results

Ø Drawing conclusions

Ø Science Fair Proposals




Ø  How raw data must be organized to reveal patterns

Ø  How to take data and create charts

Ø  Using charts to create graphs

Ø  Interpret results by what is seen and not what it is thought to be


Analyzing data includes

Ø  Understanding slope and rates of change

Ø  Extrapolating information from graphs

Ø  Recognizing patterns in data plots

Ø  The role of dependent and independent variables


             A theory is more than a guess

Ø  It involves research

Ø  Tested hypothesis

Ø  Peer review

Ø  Must be repeatable

Ø  May combine several ideas

Ø  Ex. Plate Tectonic Theory and how it developed


 The tools of science are

Ø  Mathematics

Ø  The metric system

Ø  Various lab equipment

Ø  Data collecting equipment

Ø  Rulers

Ø  Calculators

Ø  Computers


The role of science in society

Ø  Science leads to changes in technology

Ø  the goal of science is to improve human condition

Ø  Life has value and should be respected even during research

Ø  Pure science is research that leads to the research being applied or used for the good of humankind


Careers in science


Ø  What are some of the various life science careers?

Ø  What kind of training does it take to be a life scientist?

Ø  What are the working conditions and compensation for being a life scientist?

Nature of Science Essential Question:

How can you use the same skills and strategies as a scientist to learn about your world?

Guiding Questions

1. What is the importance of the major themes of biology?


2. What is the role of experimental design in biology?

3.      What systematic procedures are necessary to investigate biological problems?

4.      What are important tools used in the study of biology?

5.      What are useful data types and how are they analyzed?

6.      What important mathematical manipulations should be performed on qualitative data?

7.      Why is the scientific method a logical process for observing the natural world

8.      What is the difference between a hypothesis and a theory?

9.      Why it is important to acknowledge that science is a human endeavor, not separate from society but a part of society?

10.  In what ways

do scientists make accommodations for differences in racial, social, and ethnic backgrounds among scientists?


11. What are some of the various roles that science plays in society, especially in the workforce?


Outline for Lab Reports


Rubric for Lab Reports


Rules for Laboratory Drawings


Lab Safety Contract


Lab Safety Test


Solutions and Dilutions


Experimental Design Presentation Rubrics


Scientific Method Lab Vitruvian Man  


Printable Metric Meter Stick

Printable Tape Measure


Careers in Life Science Term Paper and Presentation


Equipment Survey


Problem Solving Lab


Liquid Volume Lab OR Volume Lab


Mystery Canisters OR Length Lab




Literacy Items (found in Biology Literacy Notebook):


“Owls use dung to “Fish” for Beetles”


“Distinguishing Science and Pseudoscience”


“Scientific Laws, Hypotheses, and Theories”


“Designing an Experiment”


“Experimental Design/Presentation Rubric”


“ Experimental Design Reference”


“Natural plant defenses-fight or flight?”


“Suicide grasshoppers -Brainwashed by Parasite Worms”


“Toads that Go Pop in the night”


“Weapons of Mouse Destruction?”


A Weed, a Fly, a Mouse and a Chain of Unintended Consequences"


“Device Uses Sewage Bacteria to Produce Electricity”


“Locusts Inspire Technology That May Prevent Car Crashes”





Essential  Questions

Assessments & Lab Activities Resources & Literacy
 (Ecology & Biochemistry)

Ecological and Biological Relationships


Standard 8: Students shall demonstrate an understanding of ecological and behavioral relationships among organisms.  


EBR.8. B.1

Cite examples of abiotic and biotic factors of ecosystems.
EBR.8. B.2

Compare and contrast the characteristics of biomes.
EBR.8. B.3

Diagram the carbon, nitrogen, phosphate, and water cycles in an ecosystem.
EBR.8. B.4

Analyze an ecosystem’s energy flow through food chains, food webs, and energy pyramids.
EBR. 8. B.5

Identify and predict the factors that control population, including predation, competition, crowding, water, nutrients, and shelter.
EBR.8  B.6

Summarize the symbiotic ways in which individuals within a community interact with each other: commensalisms, parasitism  and mutualism  

EBR.8. B.7

Compare and contrast primary succession with secondary succession.
EBR.8. B.8

Identify the properties of each of the five levels of ecology: organism, population ,community ,ecosystem and biosphere

MC 2.B.6

Compare and contrast the functions of autotrophs and heterotrophs


Standard 9: Students shall demonstrate an understanding of ecological impact of global issues.


EBR.9. B.1


Analyze the effects of human population growth and technology on the



EBR.9. B.2

Evaluate long range plans concerning resource use and by-product disposal in terms of their environmental, economic, and political impact.


EBR.9. B.3

Assess current world issues applying scientific themes (e.g., global changes in climate, epidemics, pandemics, ozone depletion, UV radiation, natural resources, use of technology, and public policy).



Levels of Organization

Ø  biosphere Biome Ecosystem Community Population Organism Species


Energy flow

Ø  Autotroph vs. Heterotroph

Ø  Producers: photosynthesis and chemosynthesis

Ø  Consumers: herbivore, carnivore, detritivore, omnivore, decomposer

Ø  Feeding relationships:  food chain vs. food web

Ø  Energy conversion and transfer by trophic levels


Biosphere recycling

Ø  Water cycle

Ø  Nutrient cycles: Carbon, Nitrogen, Phosphorous

Ecosystem productivity and biomass


Factors shaping ecosystems:

Ø  Climate zones and Greenhouse phenomenon

Ø  Biotic and Abiotic factors

Ø  Niche concept

Ø  Community interactions:  competition, predation, symbiotic interactions (commensalisms, mutualism, parasitism)



Ø  Primary succession and pioneer species

Ø  Secondary succession



Ø  Identify defining characteristics of each

Ø  Terrestrial biomes: tropical rain and dry forests, savanna, desert, grassland, temperate woodland and shrubland, temperate forests, coniferous forests, boreal (taiga) forests, tundra

Ø  Aquatic ecosystems:

Ø  Freshwater – flowing, standing,

Ø  Wetland

Ø  Estuary

Ø  Marine – photic vs. aphotic

Ø  Zones, intertidal, coastal, coral

Ø  Reef, open ocean, benthic zone


Population growth

Ø  Factors affecting and limiting growth

Ø  Density-dependent and density independent factors

Ø  Carrying capacity vs. exponential growth

Ø  Describe human population growth, analyze age structures, describe how humans growth has affected other species


Human impact on the environment:

Ø  Biodiversity threat

Ø  6th mass extinction

Ø  pollution, acid rain, ozone depletion, and greenhouse affect

Ø  global warming

Ø  exotic (introduced) species

Ø  conservation efforts and how individuals can affect change 

Ecology Essential Question

How are all living things connected to one another and to the universe?


Guiding Questions


1.      How are the biotic factors of an ecosystem different from the abiotic factors?

2.      What are the biotic and abiotic factors present in a temperate deciduous forest?

3.      What is the general climate in each of the 7 major biomes?

4.      What role does the climate play in determining the types of organisms that can live in specific biomes?

5.      How does carbon enter the living part of the carbon cycle?

6.      How does carbon re-enter the environment from living things? 

7.      How does nitrogen cycle from the environment into living things?

8.      How does water enter and exit the biotic part of the water cycle?

9.      How does energy cycle through an ecosystem?

10.  What are some specific factors that limit growth of animal populations?

11.  What are three types of symbiotic relationships between organisms?  Give an example of each type or relationship.

12.  How does primary succession differ from secondary succession?

13.  How do humans impact the carbon cycle and what are the global consequences?

14.  What factors should be taken into consideration when deciding the location for a new landfill?

15.  What human activities have impacted the ozone layer?

16.  Why is sustainable use of natural resources important?


 Biomes Brochure



Ecology Labs:


Population Ecology Lab (Goldfish)

Random Sampling Lab


Food Web Construction and Manipulation Lab


Biomes Brochures (Science-net)


Graphing Growth Rate lab


Loss of Vegetation Lab (trophic interaction)


“What’s the big Deal About dirt?" lab activities


 HOLT INTERACTIVE "Ecosystem Dynamics"



Literacy Materials (Ecology):


“Soil Fertility in Agricultural Systems”


“ A Diverse Ecosystem Offers Little or No Protection Against Invading Species”


“Earth’s Uncanned Crusaders: Will Sardines Save Our Skin?”


“A melting Glacier in Tibet serves as an Example and a Warning”


“Overfishing is Emptying World’s Rivers, Lakes, Experts Warn”


“Global Warming is Spurring Evolution, Study Says”


Is Global Warming Harmful to Health?”




Standard 1: Students shall demonstrate an understanding of the role of chemistry in life processes.




Describe the structure and function of the major organic molecules found in living systems:




Nucleic Acids


Investigate the properties and importance of water and its significance for life:

·  surface tension

·  adhesion

·  cohesion

·  polarity

·  pH

MC. 1.B.3

Describe the relationship between an enzyme and its substrate molecule(s)

MC. 1.B.4

Explain the role of energy in chemical reactions of living systems:

  • activation energy
  • exergonic reactions
  • endergonic reactions



Review basic chemistry concepts:

Ø  atomic structure

Ø  bonding

Ø  covalent, ionic, hydrogen

Ø  elements and isotopes



Ø  chemistry of carbon

Ø  macromolecules of life – identify and describe structure (monomers) and examples of polymers

Ø  lipids, carbohydrates, proteins,

Ø  nucleic acids


 Chemistry of water:

Ø  polarity

Ø  hydrogen bonding

Ø  water properties

Ø  solutions and suspensions

Ø  pH – acids and bases and buffers


Ø  reactions and activation energy

Ø  enzymes as catalysts

Ø  3-D structure of enzymes

Ø  examples of enzymes

Ø  how enzymes work

Ø  regulation of enzymes

Biochemistry Essential Question

How do molecules sustain living things?


Guiding Questions

1.      What are the major groups of organic compounds and how do they function in living things?

2.      What is an enzyme and how does it function in cells?

3.      Why is water essential to life?

4.      What are the distinguishing chemical and physical properties of water?



Biochemistry Labs:


Measuring pH Lab


Modeling the Chemistry of Carbohydrates


Testing for Organic Compounds


Properties of Water Lab


Chemistry of Amino Acids and Proteins (models)


Pineapple Enzyme Lab


 Lactase Enzyme Lab



Literacy Articles over Biochemistry:


“Enzyme may aid people with Alzheimer's Disease”


“Tiny Invader”


“Lactic acid is not muscles' foe, it's fuel”




Essential  Questions

Assessments & Lab Activities Resources & Literacy
(Cell Structure and Function)

Cell Structure and Function 

Nature of Science

Standard 12

Students shall demonstrate an understanding of current life science theories.


Relate the development of the cell theory to current trends in cellular biology.


Molecules and Cells


Standard 2: Students shall demonstrate an understanding of the structure and function of cells.

MC 2.B.1
Construct a hierarchy of life from cells to ecosystems.
MC 2.B.2

Compare and contrast prokaryotes and eukaryotes.
MC 2. B.3

Describe the role of sub-cellular structures (organelles, ribosomes, & cytoskeleton) in the life of a cell.


Compare and contrast the structures of an animal cell to a plant cell.


MC 2.B.4

Relate the function of the plasma (cell) membrane to its structure.  


MC. 2.B.11

Discuss homeostasis using thermoregulation as an example.

MC.2. B. 7

Compare and contrast active transport and passive transport mechanisms:

  • Diffusion
  • Osmosis
  • Endocytosis
  • Exocytosis
  • Phagocytosis
  • Pinocytosis

Cell Structure and Function 


Cell structure and function

Ø  History: Hooke, van Leeuwenhoek

Ø  History: cell theory (Schleiden, Schwann, Virchow)

Ø  Symbiotic theory: Margulis


Ø  Levels of Organization

Atoms -> Molecules->Cells-> Tissue->Organ->Organ System->Organism->Species->Population-> Community->Ecosystem->Biome->Biosphere


Ø  Eukaryotes vs. Prokaryotes

o   Be able to compare and contrast



Eukaryotic cell structure

o Organelles

o  Cytoplasm

o   Nucleus

o   Compare plant vs animal cell

o  Levels of organization


Microscope use:

Ø  Identify  parts of a microscope

Ø  Make specimen slides

Ø  Identify parts of cell


  Cell membrane structure and function

Ø  Lipid bilayer

Ø  Cell wall

Ø  Diffusion through

Ø  Osmosis

Ø  Active transport

Ø  Homeostasis

Cells Essential question

 What are the activities cells carry out that are necessary to sustain life?


Guiding Questions

1.      The invention of what important tools led to the formation of the cell theory?

2.      What is the cell theory? What evidence supports the cell theory?

3.      What are prokaryotic cells?

4.      What are eukaryotic cells?

5.      How do prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells compare?

6.      What organelles are found in eukaryotic cells?

7.      What is the function of each organelle?

8.      What is the difference between animal and plant cells?


Plasma Membrane Essential Question:

How does the Plasma membrane function as the gateway of a cell?


1.      How do the responsibilities of cells in multi cellular organisms compare to the cells that comprise single-celled organisms?

2.      What is the composition of the cell (plasma) membrane?

3.      What are the processes that allow materials to enter and exit the cell?

4.      What is homeostasis?

5.      How do cells maintain homeostasis?


Cell Analogy


Plasma Membrane Drawings


Use of Microscope & Techniques For Better Use


Cells-Basic Unit of Life


Osmosis/Diffusion from AP lab book


Plasmolysis with Elodea



HOLT INTERACTIVE "Cell Transport and Homeostasis"



Literacy Materials over Cells:


“How Human Cells Get Their Marching Orders”


“ Stressed to Death”


“Stem Cell Surprise”


“ Cells that Read Minds”





Essential  Questions

Assessments & Lab Activities Resources & Literacy
(Metabolism & Cell Division)

Cell Metabolism & The Cell Cycle

Standard 3: Students shall demonstrate an understanding of how cells obtain and use energy. (Energetics)

Compare and contrast the structure and function of mitochondria and chloroplasts.
MC.3 B.4

Describe and model the conversion of light energy to chemical energy by photosynthetic organisms (light dependent & independent reactions).

Compare and contrast cellular respiration and photosynthesis as energy conversion pathways.


Describe and model the conversion of stored energy (glycolysis, citric acid cycle, electron transport chain) in organic molecules into usable cellular energy (ATP).

Standard 2: Students shall demonstrate an understanding of the structure and function of cells.


Compare and contrast aerobic and anaerobic respiration (lactic acid and alcoholic fermentation).

MC.3.B.4 Describe and model the conversion of light energy to chemical energy by photosynthetic organisms:

  • light dependent reactions
  • light independent reactions



The Cell Cycle

Describe the main events in the cell cycle (mitosis, interphase, & cytokinesis), including the differences in plant and animal cell division.

List in order and describe the stages of mitosis (prophase, metaphase, anaphase, & telophase).

Analyze the meiotic maintenance of a constant chromosome number from one generation to the next.

Cell Metabolism & The Cell Cycle


Ø  Explain where plants get energy to produce food

Ø  Describe the role of ATP in cellular activities


Photosynthesis overview:

Ø  Experiments of van Helmont, Priestley, Ingenhousz

Ø  Photosynthesis equation

Ø  Describe role of light and chlorophyll


Photosynthesis reactions

Ø  Describe structure and function of chloroplast

Ø  Light-dependent reactions – describe what happens

Ø  Light-independent reactions – describe Calvin cycle

Ø  Identify factors that affect the rate of photosynthesis


Cellular respiration

Ø  Chemical pathways

o   Explain what cellular respiration is

o   Describe what happens during glycolysis and products produced

o   Name and describe two main types of fermentation

Ø  Krebs cycle and Electron transport

o   Describe what happens during Krebs cycle and products produced

o   Explain how high-energy electrons are used in transport chain

o   Identify pathways the body uses to release energy during exercise


Compare photosynthesis and cellular respiration


Cell cycle and Growth/Division

Ø  Describe and identify typical stages in cell’s life cycle

Ø  Somatic cell reproduction

o   Mitotic stages, identify and describe

Ø  Gamete production

o   Meiosis, identify and describe stages

o   Spermatogenesis vs. Oogenesis

Ø  Compare mitosis and meiosis

Ø  Regulation of cell cycle

Ø  How do cancer cells differ from other cells

Metabolism Essential Question

Why do living things make or eat food?


Guiding Questions

1.      How is the sun the ultimate source of energy for all living things?

2.      How do organisms produce and use energy?


3.      What is cellular fuel?


4.      What are the reactants and products of respiration?


5.      What is the difference between aerobic and anaerobic respiration?


6.      What is the role of ATP in photosynthesis and respiration?



 Mitosis & Meiosis Essential Question:

How do cells grow, divide, and make new cells?


Guiding Questions


1.      What are mitosis and meiosis and which cells perform each process?

2.      How does the chromosome number in parent cell and daughter cells differ with regards to mitosis and meiosis?

3.      What is the difference in the way plant and animals undergo cell division?

4.      How does crossing over act as the genetic mechanism for diversity?


Cellular Energetics Open Response Items:


“How do certain living things use sunlight to make food and why are they eaten?”


Compare and Contrast Respiration vs. Photosynthesis. 

Be sure to include the cell structures involved in each and how energy flows from the sun through living things.


 Compare/Contrast Mitosis & Meiosis

Write a short essay comparing the two cell division processes --- mitosis and meiosis.  Be sure to include all steps in both processes, the type of cells that use each process, starting and ending chromosome numbers, etc.



Respiration & Photosynthesis Labs:

Chromatography/  Photosynthesis lab from AP book


Respiration of Germinating Seeds Lab 


Mitosis & Meiosis Labs:


Cell Reproduction/ Mitosis Flip-Book





HOLT INTERACTIVE" Cellular Respiration"


HOLT INTERACTIVE "Photosynthesis"


HOLT INTERACTIVE "Cell Reproduction"




Literacy Materials for Cellular Metabolism:


“Lactic Acid Is Not Muscles’ Foe, It’s Fuel”




“Modified Mice Stay Super-fit”


“Cancer In the Genes”


“Grow in The Dark”


“Source of Half Earth’s Oxygen Gets Little Credit”






Essential  Questions

Assessments & Lab Activities Resources & Literacy
(Heredity & Evolution)

Heredity and Evolution 


Standard 4: Students shall demonstrate an understanding of heredity.



the outcomes of Gregor Mendel’s experimental procedures.

Differentiate among the laws and principles of inheritance (dominance, segregation, independent assortment).

Use the laws of probability and Punnett squares to predict genotypic and phenotypic ratios.
HE.4.B.4Examine different modes of inheritance

  • sex linkage
  • codominance
  • crossing over
  • incomplete dominance
  • multiple alleles



Analyze the historically significant work of prominent geneticists.

Evaluate karyotypes for abnormalities such as monosomy & trisomy.  



The work of Gregor Mendel

Ø  Describe Mendel’s work and summarize his conclusions

Ø  Explain principle of dominance

Ø  Law of segregation and independent assortment



Ø  Describe what probability is

Ø  Explain how probability is used in genetics

Ø  Construct and read Punnett Squares


Patterns of inheritance

Ø  Simple dominance

Ø  Co-dominance

Ø  Incomplete dominance

Ø  X-linked

Ø  Pedigree and karyotypes

o   Mutations/diseases

Genetics Essential Question

Why do living things not look the same?


Guiding Questions:

1.      What are Mendel’s laws of heredity?

2.      What are genotype and phenotype?

3.      How do the terms heterozygous, homozygous, dominant and recessive relate to Mendelian genetics

4.      What are the potential effects of genetic recombination and mutation on organisms?


Genetics Labs:


Make a Karyotype Lab


Cytogenetic Lab - Karyotyping


Baby Face Lab


Dragon Genetics Virtual Lab

Virtual Lab Worksheet


Dragon Genetics Lab





Literacy Materials for Genetics:


Gene Study Identifies 5 Main Human Populations, Linking Them to Geography”


“Still Evolving , Human Genes Tell New Story”


“Without Gene, timid Mice Turn into Daredevils”


Study Offers New Insight Into Why Learning Disorders Are Genetic”


“Early Risers have Mutated Gene, Study Says”


“A Gene for Romance? So It seems( Ask the Vole)




Essential  Questions

Assessments & Lab Activities Resources & Literacy
(Molecular Basis of Heredity)

Standard 5:  Students shall investigate the molecular basis of genetics.


Model the components of a DNA nucleotide and an RNA nucleotide.

Describe the Watson-Crick double helix model of DNA, using the base-pairing rule (adenine-thymine, cytosine-guanine).

Compare and contrast the structure and function of DNA and RNA.

Describe and model the processes of replication, transcription, and translation.

Compare and contrast the different types of mutation events, including point mutation, frameshift mutation, deletion, and inversion.

Identify effects of changes brought about by mutations (beneficial, harmful, & neutral).


Molecules and Cells

Standard 1


Describe the structure and function of nucleic acids found in living systems.
Nature of Science

Standard 12


Relate the chromosome theory of heredity to recent findings in genetic research (e.g., Human Genome Project-HGP, chromosome therapy).


Research current events and topics in Biology


Standard 6: Students shall examine the development of the theory of biological evolution.

Compare & contrast Lamarck's explanation of evolution with HE.6.B.2

Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection.

Recognize that evolution involves a change in allele frequencies in a population across successive generations.

Analyze the effects of mutations and the resulting variations within a population in terms of natural selection.

Illustrate mass extinction events using a time line.

Evaluate evolution in terms of evidence as found in the following:

  • fossil record
  • DNA analysis
  • artificial selection
  • morphology
  • embryology
  • viral evolution
  • geographic distribution of related species
  • antibiotic and pesticide resistance in various organisms

Nature of Science

Standard 12


Compare the processes of relative and radioactive dating to determine the age of fossils.



Understand that scientific theories may be modified or expanded based on empirical data, verification, & peer review.


Molecular biology

Ø  History of DNA – Griffith, Avery, Pauling, Franklin, Watson/Crick

Ø  Summarize relationship between genes and DNA

Ø  Describe structure of DNA

Ø  Summarize events of DNA replication

Ø  RNA and protein synthesis

o   Compare DNA and RNA

o   Describe types of RNA

o   Stages in protein synthesis

§  Transcription

§  Translation

o   Contrast gene and chromosomal mutations

Ø  Gene regulation

Ø  Genetic engineering





What is evolution?

Ø  Fact and theory

Ø  Review what a theory is


History of evolutionary thought

Ø  Lamarck

Ø  Darwin and Wallace

Ø  Voyage of the Beagle


Darwin’s theory

Ø  Four postulates

Ø  Influences on his theory:  Hutton, Lyell, Malthus, Wallace

Ø  Support for natural selection


Other mechanisms of evolutionary change

Ø  Genetic drift


Speciation and Extinction


Evidence for evolution

Ø  Fossil record

Ø  Geographic distribution

Ø  Comparative morphology

Ø  Comparative embryology

Ø  Artificial selection

Ø  Observational examples (resistant bacteria)


Genetic equilibrium

Ø  Hardy-Weinberg conditions


How does DNA function as the basic set of instructions for all living things?


Guiding Questions 

1.      How can the structure and function of DNA and RNA be characterized?

2.      How are the structures of DNA and RNA similar and different? How do DNA and RNA molecules replicate themselves? What was the nature of the quest for discovering the source of heredity in living things?

3.      What types of methodology were used to conclude that DNA is the genetic material?

4.      How can the structure of DNA be described? Who are notable contributors to our knowledge of DNA? What are the roles of DNA and RNA in the construction of proteins?

5.      What is involved in the processes of transcription and translation?

6.      What are some of the new DNA techniques molecular biologists have created to allow them to identify, study, and modify genetic information?

7.      What is the Human Genome Project?

8.      What are some issues that have arisen as a result of new DNA technologies?

9.      How does DNA function as the basic set of instructions for all living things?




How do species change over time?

Guiding Questions

1.      What were some early models for how life formed on Earth?

2.      What types of evidence support the theory of evolution? 

3.      How do environmental pressures cause variations in populations?

4.      How does natural selection explain the idea of change over time?



Molecular Biology Labs:


Strawberry DNA Extraction


DNA models


DNA models with protein Synthesis Lab


Who ate the Cheese
- Cheese Electrophoresis Lab

-Cheese Electrophoresis Template

-Base Pairs of Cheese Crime Scene

-DNA for Who ate the Cheese





Evolution Labs:


Evolution (Peppered moth)


Gene frequency (Beans)


Hemoglobin and Fitness




HOLT INTERACTIVE "Gene Expression"



Literacy Materials for Molecular Biology:


“Molecular Structure of nucleic Acids”



Literacy Materials for Evolution:


"Global warming is spurring evolution, study says"

"Still evolving, human genes tell new story"

"New study supports idea that primates, dinosaurs coexisted"

"Twenty species we may lose in the next twenty years"

"Hobbit-like human ancestor found in Asia"

"Fear of snakes, spiders rooted in evolution"

"Fins to limbs: New fossil gives evolution insight"

"Hard-wired for prejudice"














Essential  Questions

Assessments & Lab Activities Resources & Literacy

Heredity and Evolution

Standard 6



Interpret a Cladogram


Classification and the Diversity of life

Standard 7: Students shall demonstrate an understanding that organisms are diverse.  

Differentiate among the different domains (Bacteria, Archaea, & Eukarya).  

Differentiate the characteristics of the six kingdoms:

  • Eubacteria
  • Archaea
  • Protista
  • Fungi
  • Plantae
  • Animalia


Identify the seven major taxonomic categories:

  • kingdom
  • phylum
  • class
  • order
  • family
  • genus
  • species


Classify and name organisms based on their similarities and differences applying taxonomic nomenclature using dichotomous keys.



Bacteria, Protists and Fungi


Compare and contrast the structures and characteristics of viruses (lytic and lysogenic cycles) with non-living and living things.

Evaluate the medical and economic importance of viruses.
CDL.7.B.8 Compare and contrast life cycles of familiar organisms

  • sexual reproduction
  • asexual reproduction
  • metamorphosis
  • alternation of generations



Classify bacteria according to their characteristics and adaptations.

Evaluate the medical and economic importance of bacteria.


Describe the characteristics used to classify protists:

  • plant-like
  • animal-like
  • fungal-like


Evaluate the medical and economic importance of protists .

Compare and contrast fungi with other eukaryotic organisms.

Evaluate the medical and economic importance of fungi.


Ø  What is taxonomy?

Ø  Explain how living things are organized

Ø  Describe binomial nomenclature

Ø  Explain Linnaeus’s hierarchical system

Ø  Modern evolutionary classification

o   Cladistics and acquired characteristics

o   Explain evolutionary relationships

Ø  Kingdoms and Domains

o   Name the six kingdoms and explain characteristics of each

o   Describe domain system of classification



Ø  Viruses and Bacteria

Ø  Protists



Multicellular organisms – structure and function

Ø  Fungi


How do scientists organize all the known living things on Earth?


Guiding Questions

1.      What do taxonomists use to determine similarity between organisms?

2.      How does taxonomy lend insight into the process of evolution

3.      What are the major divisions in the modern classification system?


Why are bacteria, protists and fungi so abundant, diverse and successful?


Guiding Questions

1.      How do microscopic organisms affect our lives?

2.      How do viruses compare to organisms? What are the components of a typical virus?

3.      How do viruses replicate?

4.      How are viruses specific to particular host cells?

5.      How does the virus that causes AIDS reproduce?

6.      How can the spread of AIDS be prevented

7.      What are the distinguishing characteristics of bacteria, protists, and fungi in terms of anatomic features, food getting and reproductive methods; metabolic activities, and environmental responses?



Project Based Assessment:


Wanted Poster

Students construct a wanted poster on any disease-causing bacteria or virus. At minimum it must include a picture, a description of the microorganism and the symptoms it causes.



Classification Labs:


Cladistics Lab


Keying Mythological Creatures


Keying Sharks


Pamishan Taxonomy



Virology Lab:


Patient Zero




Literacy Materials for classification:


"Stinging fire ants have good points"


"Linnaean naming system faces challenges"


"Team races to catalog every species on earth"



 Literacy Items for Microorganisms:


"The mighty worm"


"Device uses sewage bacteria to produce electricity"




Essential  Questions

Assessments & Lab Activities Resources & Literacy


Differentiate between vascular and nonvascular plants.

Differentiate among cycads, gymnosperms, and angiosperms.

Describe the structure and function of the major parts of a plant:

  • roots
  • stems
  • leaves
  • flowers


Relate the structure of plant tissues (epidermal, ground, and vascular) to their functions.

Evaluate the medical and economic importance of plants.


Investigate Arkansas' biodiversity using appropriate tools and technology.

Ø  Plants

o   Vascular vs. non-vascular plants

o   Tissue types


What is the importance of plants in our lives? 


Guiding Questions

1.      What are distinguishing differences between nonvascular and vascular plants?

2.      What specific roles do dermal, vascular, and ground tissues play in plants?


Botany Labs: 


Seed germination inquiry lab


Flower Dissection


Dissection of Flower Parts


Seed Identification and Dissection


Fruit Dissection



Fruit dissection lab.pdf


Fruit Dissection with Key Lab


Literacy Materials for Botany:


"Natural plant defenses- fight or flight?"


"Soil fertility in agricultural systems"





Essential  Questions

Assessments & Lab Activities Resources & Literacy
(Animal Characteristics)



Differentiate the characteristics of the kingdom Animalia


Identify the symmetry of organisms:

  • radial
  • bilateral
  • asymmetrical


Ø  Animals

o   Animal characteristics: symmetry, anatomy, physiology

What are the similarities and differences among animals?


Guiding Questions

1.      What are the basic body plans of all animals?

2.      Why are body plans useful in classifying animals?


Animal Phyla Lab



Literacy Articles on Animal Characteristics:






Essential  Questions

Assessments & Lab Activities Resources & Literacy
(Vertebrates & Invertebrates)


Differentiate the characteristics of the kingdom Animalia .

Compare and contrast the major invertebrate classes according to their nervous, respiratory, excretory, circulatory, and digestive systems

Differentiate the characteristics of the kingdom Animalia. 


Compare and contrast the major vertebrate classes according to their nervous, respiratory, excretory, circulatory, digestive, reproductive and integumentary systems.

Compare and contrast life cycles of familiar organisms

  • sexual reproduction
  • asexual reproduction
  • metamorphosis


      Dissection and comparative anatomy





   Dissection and comparative anatomy


Why are invertebrates so diverse, successful and abundant?


Guiding Questions

1.      How are the body plans of invertebrates different from those of vertebrates?

2.      What are the eight major invertebrate phyla and the major characteristics of each in terms of anatomical features; food getting and reproductive methods; metabolic activities; and environmental responses?

How does the spinal cord allow diversity in the form and function of vertebrates?

Guiding Questions

1.      What distinguishes chordates from other animals?

2.      What are the major structural and functional adaptations found in fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals? What are the major vertebrate systems that can be studied and compared?

3.      How did the evolution of the spinal cord allow for diversity in the form and function of vertebrates?



Earthworm Dry Lab


Virtual Earthworm Dissection


Earthworm Dissection


Clam Dissection


Clam Dissection (printable)


Clam Dissection pdf


Squid Dissection1

Squid dissection2

Squid Diagram


Arthropod Comparison


Crayfish Dissection

Crayfish Dissection


Grasshopper Dissection


Bess Beetles 


Starfish dissection


Perch Dissection


Frog Dissection


Net Frog Virtual Dissection


Pig Dissection


(FroGuts Software-link to brochure)


Literacy Materials on Animals:


"Suicide grasshoppers brainwashed by parasite worms"


"Toads that go pop in the night"


"Weapons of Mouse destruction?"


"Earth's uncanned crusaders: Will sardines save our skin?"


"Owls use dung to "fish" for beetles"