High school curriculum
- Students will explain the importance of chemical reactions in a real-world context;
justify conclusions using evidence/data from chemical reactions.
Chemical reactions (e.g., acids and bases, oxidation, combustion of fuels, rusting, tarnishing) occur all around us and in every cell in our bodies. These reactions may release or absorb energy. DOK 3
- Students will compare the limitations/benefits of various techniques ( radioactive dating, observing rock sequences and comparing fossils) for estimating geological time;
justify deductions about age of geologic features.
Techniques used to estimate geological time include using radioactive dating, observing rock sequences and comparing fossils to correlate the rock sequences at various locations. DOK 3
- Students will predict consequences of both rapid (volcanoes, earthquakes) and slow (mountain building, plate movement) earth processes from evidence/data and justify reasoning.
The Earthís surface is dynamic; earthquakes and volcanic eruptions can be observed on a human time scale, but many processes, such as mountain building and plate movements, take place over hundreds of millions of years. DOK 3
- Students will predict the impact on species of changes to 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, or (4) natural selection;
propose solutions to real-world problems of endangered and extinct species.
Species change over time. Biological change over time 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) natural selection. The consequences of change over time provide a scientific explanation for the fossil record of ancient life forms and for the striking molecular similarities observed among the diverse species of living organisms. 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 have the potential to create the variation that changes an organismís future offspring. DOK 3
- Students will predict the success of patterns of adaptive behaviors based on evidence/data;
justify explanations of organism survival based on scientific understandings of behavior.
The broad patterns of behavior exhibited by organisms have changed over time through natural selection to ensure reproductive success. Organisms often live in unpredictable environments, so their behavioral responses must be flexible enough to deal with uncertainty and change. Behaviors often have an adaptive logic. DOK 3
- Students will explain how physical (e.g., climate, mountains, rivers) and human characteristics (e.g., interstate highways, urban centers, workforce) of regions create advantages and disadvantages for human activities in a specific place. DOK 2
- Students will describe the components and reservoirs involved in biogeochemical cycles ( water, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and oxygen);
explain the movement of matter and energy in biogeochemical cycles and related phenomena.
The total energy of the universe is constant. Energy can change forms and/or be transferred in many ways, but it can neither be created nor destroyed. Movement of matter between reservoirs is driven by Earthís internal and external sources of energy. These movements are often accompanied by a change in physical and chemical properties of the matter. Carbon, for example, occurs in carbonate rocks such as limestone, in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide gas, in water as dissolved carbon dioxide and in all organisms as complex molecules that control the chemistry of life. DOK 3
- Students will analyze relationships and interactions among organisms in ecosystems;
predict the effects on other organisms of changes to one or more components of the ecosystem.
Organisms both cooperate and compete in ecosystems. Often changes in one component of an ecosystem will have effects on the entire system that are difficult to predict. The interrelationships and interdependencies of these organisms may generate ecosystems that are stable for hundreds or thousands of years. DOK 3
- Students will evaluate proposed solutions from multiple perspectives to environmental problems caused by human interaction;
justify positions using evidence/data.
Human beings live within the world's ecosystems. Human activities can deliberately or inadvertently alter the dynamics in ecosystems. These activities can threaten current and future global stability and, if not addressed, ecosystems can be irreversibly affected. DOK 3
- Students will predict the consequences of changes to any component (atmosphere, solid Earth, oceans, living things) of the Earth System;
propose justifiable solutions to global problems.
Interactions among the solid Earth, the oceans, the atmosphere and living things have resulted in the ongoing development of a changing Earth system. DOK 3
- Students will predict the consequences of changes in resources to a population;
select or defend solutions to real-world problems of population control.
Living organisms have the capacity to produce populations of infinite size. However, behaviors, environments and resources influence the size of populations. Models (e.g., mathematical, physical, conceptual) can be used to make predictions about changes in the size or rate of growth of a population. DOK 3
- Students will analyze how history is a series of connected events shaped by multiple cause and effect relationships, tying past to present. DOK 3