Science Curriculum

Students engage in scientific inquiry through lab work as we explore biological processes. All class and laboratory activities focus on life processes that occur within organisms or cells as well as the characteristics of life including: reproduction, development, adaptation to environment. Major topics of study include molecular biology, cells, genetics, organisms, evolution and ecology. The course includes a unit on human life education that addresses the topics of human reproduction and human development. Parents have the option of withdrawing their children from any or all topics included in the state-mandated Family Life Education portion. Students opting-out will be provided with alternative biology lessons. If dissections are a part of the laboratory experience, alternatives are available. Students are required to take the Standards of Learning End of Course Test.

Last Updated: 08/17/12 10:33 AM
Standard 1

Benchmark 1.a
Record Observations of Living Organisms in the Lab and in the Field
Indicator 1.a.1
Collect preliminary observations, both qualitative and quantitative
Indicator 1.a.2
Record observations in the lab and in the field
Indicator 1.a.3
Develop skills in the proper use of the compound light microscope
Indicator 1.a.4
Compare/contrast compound microscopes to another form of magnification

Benchmark 1.b
Formulate Hypotheses Based on Observations and Scientific Literature
Indicator 1.b.1
Differentiate observations, inferences, and predictions
Indicator 1.b.2
Formulate hypotheses based on cause and effect relationships
Indicator 1.b.3
Justify hypotheses based on observations and scientific literature
Indicator 1.b.4
Understand that scientists investigate observed natural phenomena

Benchmark 1.c
Define Variables and Design Investigations to Test Hypotheses
Indicator 1.c.1
Define a problem, generate ideas, and test hypotheses
Indicator 1.c.2
Identify independent variables, dependent variables, and constants
Indicator 1.c.3
Identify an experimental control and the need for repeated trials
Indicator 1.c.4
Design clear and replicable experimental procedures

Benchmark 1.d
Use Graphing and Arithmetic Calculations as Data Analysis Tools
Indicator 1.d.1
Plot data graphically, showing independent and dependent variables
Indicator 1.d.2
Determine the range, mean, and values for data
Indicator 1.d.3
Describe trends from the data where appropriate

Benchmark 1.e
Form Conclusions Based on Recorded Quantitative and Qualitative Data
Indicator 1.e.1
Use evidence, apply logic, and construct an argument for conclusions
Indicator 1.e.2
Apply reasoning skills to contrast fact from opinion

Benchmark 1.f
Identify and Discuss Sources of Error in Experimental Design
Indicator 1.f.1
Identify sources of experimental error and suggest improvements
Indicator 1.f.2
Recognize instrument limitations and potential for error

Benchmark 1.g
Determine the Validity of Data
Indicator 1.g.1
Discuss validity of results based on # of trials and variance in data
Indicator 1.g.2
Evaluate the validity of a scientific explanation
Indicator 1.g.3
Recognize and discuss contradictory or unusual data
Indicator 1.g.4
Recognize sources of bias and its influence on data interpretation

Benchmark 1.h
Use Chemicals and Equipment in a Safe Manner
Indicator 1.h.1
Use chemicals and laboratory equipment safely and effectively

Benchmark 1.i
Use Technology to Gather Data, Communicate Results, Model & Simulate
Indicator 1.i.1
Identify and use appropriate technology
Indicator 1.i.2
Record quantitative data in clearly labeled tables with units
Indicator 1.i.3
Communicate results, using appropriate technology
Indicator 1.i.4
Use computers to model concepts & simulate experimental conditions
Indicator 1.i.5
Work collaboratively with a group to present scientific knowledge
Indicator 1.i.6
Self-assess to analyze the effectiveness of group interactions

Benchmark 1.j
Conduct Research Using Scientific Literature
Indicator 1.j.1
Identify valid resources and apply them ethically and appropriately
Indicator 1.j.2
Identify a biological problem or issue presented in an article
Indicator 1.j.3
Properly cite and format sources
Indicator 1.j.4
Summarize and analyze scientific articles from newspapers or journals
Indicator 1.j.5
Design research based on popular and scientific literature

Benchmark 1.k
Differentiate Between a Scientific Hypothesis, Theory, and Law
Indicator 1.k.1
Compare and contrast hypotheses, theories and laws

Benchmark 1.l
Recognize Alternative Scientific Explanations and Models
Indicator 1.l.1
Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and models
Indicator 1.l.2
Describe scientific theories that have been modified over time
Indicator 1.l.3
Demonstrate how other disciplines connect to scientific discovery

Benchmark 1.m
Use Current Applications of Biological Concepts
Indicator 1.m.1
Use correct terminology to explain and defend scientific arguments
Indicator 1.m.2
Effectively communicate biological concepts
Indicator 1.m.3
Participate in group discussion on scientific topics
Indicator 1.m.4
Develop a problem-solving strategy to solve a real biological problem
Standard 2

Benchmark 2.a
Understand Water Chemistry and Its Impact on Life Processes
Indicator 2.a.1
Understand that water molecules are cohesive and adhesive
Indicator 2.a.2
Distinguish the unique chemical properties of water
Indicator 2.a.3
Use the pH scale to identify substances as acidic, basic, or neutral

Benchmark 2.b
Understand the Structure and Function of Macromolecules
Indicator 2.b.1
Recognize the main elements found in a living cell
Indicator 2.b.2
Understand that carbon atoms can join to form large complex molecules
Indicator 2.b.3
Identify the structure and function of macromolecules
Indicator 2.b.4
Identify the functions of different types of proteins
Indicator 2.b.5
Describe dehydration synthesis and hydrolysis of macromolecules

Benchmark 2.c
Understand the Nature of Enzymes
Indicator 2.c.1
Describe structure & role of enzymes and the effect of pH and temp
Indicator 2.c.2
Relate an enzyme to a catalyst; Compare effects on activation energy

Benchmark 2.d
Understand the Flow of Energy Through Photosynthesis and Respiration
Indicator 2.d.1
Explain how light is the initial source of energy for most communities
Indicator 2.d.2
Recognize and compare the equations for photosynthesis and respiration
Indicator 2.d.3
Describe the role of ATP in the storage and release of chemical energy
Indicator 2.d.4
Explain the functions of chloroplasts and mitochondria
Indicator 2.d.5
Compare and contrast aerobic and anaerobic respiration
Indicator 2.d.6
Distinguish between the types of anaerobic respiration
Indicator 2.d.7
Explain chemosynthesis as an energy alternative for organisms
Indicator 2.d.8
Calculate the Rf value of plant pigments
Indicator 2.d.9
Describe the function of leaf parts in gas and waste exchange
Standard 3

Benchmark 3.a
Investigate and Understand Evidence Supporting the Cell Theory
Indicator 3.a.1
State the cell theory and explain its importance as a unifying theme
Indicator 3.a.2
Describe the key events leading to the development of the cell theory

Benchmark 3.b
Understand Characteristics of Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells
Indicator 3.b.1
Compare & contrast characteristics of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells
Indicator 3.b.2
Understand the evolutionary relationships between cell types

Benchmark 3.c
Understand Similarities Between Single Cells and Whole Organisms
Indicator 3.c.1
Compare activities of an organelle in a single cell & a whole organism
Indicator 3.c.2
Identify essential cell structures and their functions
Indicator 3.c.3
Compare and contrast plant and animal cells
Indicator 3.c.4
Understand cell specialization in multicellular organisms
Indicator 3.c.5
Compare and contrast the structure and function of smooth and rough ER

Benchmark 3.d
Investigate and Understand the Cell Membrane Model
Indicator 3.d.1
Illustrate and explain the fluid mosaic model of the plasma membrane
Indicator 3.d.2
Describe the effect of selective permeability on the life of the cell
Indicator 3.d.3
Describe processes associated with movement across the membrane
Indicator 3.d.4
Relate a cell's external solute conc. to its internal solute conc.
Indicator 3.d.5
Relate polarity to the components & orientation of the lipid bi-layer
Indicator 3.d.6
Differentiate and apply the terms isotonic, hypertonic, and hypotonic
Indicator 3.d.7
Compare and contrast specific examples of active transport

Benchmark 3.e
Understand Impact of Surface Area to Volume Ratio on Life Processes
Indicator 3.e.1
Analyze the reasons why cell size is limited
Indicator 3.e.2
Compare a cell's ability to transport materials based on SA:V ratio
Standard 4

Benchmark 4.a
Compare the Metabolic Activities of Archaea, Bacteria and Eukarya
Indicator 4.a.1
Compare and contrast the metabolic activities of all domains of life
Indicator 4.a.2
Compare and contrast archaebacteria and eubacteria

Benchmark 4.b
Investigate and Understand the Maintenance of Homeostasis
Indicator 4.b.1
Demonstrate the interactions of organ systems to maintain homeostasis
Indicator 4.b.2
Distinguish the necessary life functions of cells & organisms
Indicator 4.b.3
Identify the proper response an organism would exhibit to changes

Benchmark 4.c
Understand Variations of Structures/Functions in the Eukarya Kingdoms
Indicator 4.c.1
Categorize and compare the Eukarya kingdoms
Indicator 4.c.2
Explore the diversity of the Kingdoms: Plantae, Protista, and Fungi.
Indicator 4.c.3
Identify examples of major animal phyla
Indicator 4.c.4
Compare structures and adaptations of different animal phyla
Indicator 4.c.5
Compare the reproductive structures of angiosperms and gymnosperms

Benchmark 4.d
Understand Human Health Issues, Human Anatomy, and Body Systems
Indicator 4.d.1
Describe the relationship between atoms, cells, tissues, organs, etc.
Indicator 4.d.2
Recognize that different body tissues are made of different cells
Indicator 4.d.3
Describe the functions and interactions of the human body systems
Indicator 4.d.4
Identify the main factors that affect human health
Indicator 4.d.5
Understand microbial causes of disease and explain Koch's postulates
Indicator 4.d.6
Outline modern health practices to prevent microbial disease
Indicator 4.d.7
Recognize non-microbial causes of disease
Indicator 4.d.8
Discuss health issues based on knowledge of body systems

Benchmark 4.e
Understand How Viruses Compare with Organisms
Indicator 4.e.1
Explain how viruses compare with organisms
Indicator 4.e.2
Compare & contrast a virus and a cell: genetic material, reproduction

Benchmark 4.f
Understand Evidence Supporting the Germ Theory of Disease
Indicator 4.f.1
Describe the impact of Pasteur & Koch's experimentation and hypotheses
Indicator 4.f.2
Explain work of Redi & Pasteur to disprove spontaneous generation
Standard 5

Benchmark 5.a
Investigate and Understand Cell Growth and Division
Indicator 5.a.1
Create a diagram to model the stages of mitosis; Explain each stage
Indicator 5.a.2
Describe the cell cycle, including interphase, mitosis and cytokinesis
Indicator 5.a.3
Compare and contrast the processes and function of mitosis and meiosis

Benchmark 5.b
Understand Gamete Formation
Indicator 5.b.1
Create a diagram to model the stages of meiosis; Explain each stage
Indicator 5.b.2
Describe meiosis
Indicator 5.b.3
Describe fertilization

Benchmark 5.c
Investigate and Understand Cell Specialization
Indicator 5.c.1
Describe importance of cell specialization for multicellular organisms
Indicator 5.c.2
Recognize that stem cells precede cell differentiation
Indicator 5.c.3
Apply concept of cell specialization to current technology and ethics

Benchmark 5.d
Predict Trait Inheritance Based on the Mendelian Laws of Heredity
Indicator 5.d.1
Explain how the Mendelian laws apply to patterns of inheritance
Indicator 5.d.2
Differentiate and apply the terms genotype and phenotype
Indicator 5.d.3
Use a Punnett square to predict monohybrid and dihybrid crosses

Benchmark 5.e
Understand the Historical Development of the Structural Model of DNA
Indicator 5.e.1
Describe key events leading to the development of the model of DNA

Benchmark 5.f
Investigate and Understand Genetic Variation
Indicator 5.f.1
Provide reasons for genetic diversity and why it can be an advantage
Indicator 5.f.2
Summarize the importance of meiosis to genetic variety
Indicator 5.f.3
Evaluate karyotype charts; Determine gender and genetic health
Indicator 5.f.4
Recognize the variety of patterns of inheritance by citing examples
Indicator 5.f.5
Describe causes & types of DNA mutations; Provide examples of +, -
Indicator 5.f.6
Distinguish between gene and chromosomal mutations in human diseases
Indicator 5.f.7
Recognize the difference between germ and somatic cell mutations
Indicator 5.f.8
Describe antigen/antibody reactions in blood donation & transfusions
Indicator 5.f.9
Calculate the gene frequency for genetic traits

Benchmark 5.g
Understand the Structure, Function and Replication of Nucleic Acids
Indicator 5.g.1
Describe the basic structure of DNA and complementary base pairing
Indicator 5.g.2
Explain the process of DNA replication, including the role of enzymes
Indicator 5.g.3
Describe the function of DNA in inheritance
Indicator 5.g.4
Given a DNA sequence, write a complementary mRNA strand
Indicator 5.g.5
Contrast the structure and nature of DNA and RNA

Benchmark 5.h
Understand Events Involved in the Construction of Proteins
Indicator 5.h.1
Explain protein synthesis including DNA transcription and translation
Indicator 5.h.2
Describe the structure of the chromosome

Benchmark 5.i
Understand the Use, Limitations and Misuse of Genetic Information
Indicator 5.i.1
Describe uses, limitations, and potential for misuse of genetic info

Benchmark 5.j
Explore the Impact of DNA Technologies
Indicator 5.j.1
Discuss DNA technology and its impact on society
Indicator 5.j.2
Describe the Human Genome Project; Discuss practical & ethical issues
Indicator 5.j.3
Evaluate examples of genetic engineering: useful products, controversy
Indicator 5.j.4
Understand how restriction enzymes are used in genetic engineering
Indicator 5.j.5
Perform gel electrophoresis to sort molecules based on size and charge
Standard 6

Benchmark 6.a
Investigate and Understand Structural Similarities Among Organisms
Indicator 6.a.1
Utilize binomial nomenclature
Indicator 6.a.2
Recognize the levels of the current hierarchy of classification
Indicator 6.a.3
Demonstrate how anatomical structures support the theory of evolution
Indicator 6.a.4
Construct and utilize dichotomous keys to classify objects & organisms
Indicator 6.a.5
Investigate flora and fauna in the field; Apply classification systems

Benchmark 6.b
Investigate and Understand Fossil Record Interpretation
Indicator 6.b.1
Compare structural characteristics of extinct with present organisms

Benchmark 6.c
Compare Developmental Stages in Different Organisms
Indicator 6.c.1
Recognize similarities in embryonic stages; Infer relationships

Benchmark 6.d
Examine Biochemical Similarities and Differences Among Organisms
Indicator 6.d.1
Compare biochemical evidence and describe relationships

Benchmark 6.e
Understand That Classification Systems Adapt to New Discoveries
Indicator 6.e.1
Interpret a cladogram or phylogenic tree
Indicator 6.e.2
Recognize that systems of classification adapt to new discoveries
Standard 7

Benchmark 7.a
Understand Evidence Found in Fossil Records
Indicator 7.a.1
Explain how evidence found in fossil records shows change over time
Indicator 7.a.2
Determine fossil's relative age given rock position & absolute dating
Indicator 7.a.3
Differentiate relative dating and absolute dating techniques

Benchmark 7.b
Understand Impact of Genetic Variation/Reproduction/Environment
Indicator 7.b.1
Explain that genetic diversity increases population survival
Indicator 7.b.2
Describe impact of reproductive strategies on a population's survival
Indicator 7.b.3
Predict the impact of environmental pressures on populations

Benchmark 7.c
Understand How Natural Selection Leads to Adaptations
Indicator 7.c.1
Recognize and describe the mechanism of natural selection
Indicator 7.c.2
Explain how natural selection leads to changes in gene frequency

Benchmark 7.d
Understand the Emergence of New Species
Indicator 7.d.1
Examine the factors affecting speciation
Indicator 7.d.2
Illustrate the effect of selective breeding on successive generations

Benchmark 7.e
Understand Scientific Explanations for Biological Evolution
Indicator 7.e.1
Explain Darwin's theory of natural selection using his evidence
Indicator 7.e.2
Compare and contrast punctuated equilibrium with gradualism
Indicator 7.e.3
Describe key events/scientists in development of evolutionary theory
Standard 8

Benchmark 8.a
Understand Interactions Within and Among Populations
Indicator 8.a.1
Define and sequence the hierarchy of the organization of life
Indicator 8.a.2
Graph/Interpret a population growth curve; Identify carrying capacity
Indicator 8.a.3
Make predictions about changes that could occur in population numbers
Indicator 8.a.4
Define and illustrate examples of interdependence
Indicator 8.a.5
Describe the effects of biotic and abiotic components on an ecosystem

Benchmark 8.b
Understand Nutrient Cycling and Energy Flow Through Ecosystems
Indicator 8.b.1
Identify the role of organisms in an ecosystem from a food chain & web
Indicator 8.b.2
Interpret how the flow of energy occurs between trophic levels
Indicator 8.b.3
Illustrate water/carbon/nitrogen cycles; Explain role of living things

Benchmark 8.c
Investigate and Understand Succession Patterns in Ecosystems
Indicator 8.c.1
Describe the patterns of succession found in ecosystems of Virginia
Indicator 8.c.2
Identify similarities & differences: primary and secondary succession
Indicator 8.c.3
Describe the characteristics of a climax community

Benchmark 8.d
Understand Effects of Natural Events & Human Activities on Ecosystems
Indicator 8.d.1
Describe how human intervention can impact the environment
Indicator 8.d.2
Recognize impact of human activities on the Chesapeake Bay watershed
Indicator 8.d.3
Explain the impact of eutrophication on local ecosystems
Indicator 8.d.4
Formulate ways of dealing with environmental problems

Benchmark 8.e
Analyze the Flora, Fauna, and Microorganisms of Virginia Ecosystems
Indicator 8.e.1
Observe and analyze the flora, fauna and microorganisms of Virginia
Indicator 8.e.2
Analyze the diversity of in an ecosystem

Essential - Standard, benchmark, or indicator from the VDOE Standards of Learning document. In the absence of VDOE standards for a given course, content subject to testing such as AP and IB can be labeled Essential.
Expected - Standard, benchmark, or indicator added by the FCPS Program of Studies to provide a context, a bridge, or an enhancement to the Essential SBIs.
Extended - Standard, benchmark, or indicator added by the FCPS Program of Studies generally used to differentiate instruction for advanced learners (Honors/GT)