Ecosystem Interactions & Energy

Students use mathematical and computer models to determine the factors that affect the size and diversity of populations in ecosystems, including the availability of resources and interactions between organisms.


History of Earth's Atmosphere (Photosynthesis & Respiration)

Students make a model that links photosynthesis and respiration in organisms to cycles of energy and matter in the Earth system.  They gather evidence about the linked history of Earth’s biosphere and atmosphere.


Evidence of Evolution

Students develop a model about how rock layers record evidence of evolution as fossils.  Building on their learning from previous grades, they focus on effectively communicating this evidence and relate it to principles of natural selection.


Students develop explanations about the specific mechanisms that enable parents to pass traits onto their offspring.  They make claims about which processes give rise to variation in deoxyribonucleic (DNA) codes and calculate the probability that offspring will inherit traits from their parents.

Inheritance of Traits


Students use models to create explanations of how cells use DNA to construct proteins, build biomass, reproduce and create complex multicellular organisms.  They investigate how these organisms maintain stability.

Structure, Function and Growth (From Cells to Organisms)


Students use computer models to investigate how Earth’s systems respond to changes, including climate change.  They make specific forecasts and design solutions to mitigate the impacts of these changes on the biosphere.

Ecosystem Stability & the Response to Climate Change

*Adapted from https://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/sc/cf/scifwprepubversion.asp