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Science - Secondary Curriculum
Science - 7th Grade
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Core Standards of the Course

Science Benchmark
All matter is made up of atoms that are far too small to see. Atoms are in perpetual motion and the more energy they contain the faster they move. Atoms combine to form molecules. Matter is made up of atoms and molecules that have measurable mass, volume, and density. Density is a measure of the compactness of matter. Density determines the way materials in a mixture are sorted. This property of matter results in the layering and structure of Earth’s atmosphere, water, crust, and interior.

Models are used to describe the structure of Earth.

Standard 1
Students will understand the structure of matter.

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Objective 1
Describe the structure of matter in terms of atoms and molecules.

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  1. Recognize that atoms are too small to see.
  2. Relate atoms to molecules (e.g., atoms combine to make molecules).
  3. Diagram the arrangement of particles in the physical states of matter (i.e., solid, liquid, gas).
  4. Describe the limitations of using models to represent atoms (e.g., distance between particles in atoms cannot be represented to scale in models, the motion of electrons cannot be described in most models).
  5. Investigate and report how our knowledge of the structure of matter has been developed over time.

Objective 2
Accurately measure the characteristics of matter in different states.

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  1. Use appropriate instruments to determine mass and volume of solids and liquids and record data.
  2. Use observations to predict the relative density of various solids and liquids.
  3. Calculate the density of various solids and liquids.
  4. Describe the relationship between mass and volume as it relates to density.
  5. Design a procedure to measure mass and volume of gases.

Objective 3
Investigate the motion of particles.

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  1. Identify evidence that particles are in constant motion.
  2. Compare the motion of particles at various temperatures by measuring changes in the volume of gases, liquids, or solids.
  3. Design and conduct an experiment investigating the diffusion of particles.
  4. Formulate and test a hypothesis on the relationship between temperature and motion.
  5. Describe the impact of expansion and contraction of solid materials on the design of buildings, highways, and other structures.

Standard 2
Students will understand the relationship between properties of matter and Earth’s structure.

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Objective 1
Examine the effects of density and particle size on the behavior of materials in mixtures.

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  1. Compare the density of various objects to the density of known earth materials.
  2. Calculate the density of earth materials (e.g., rocks, water, air).
  3. Observe and describe the sorting of earth materials in a mixture based on density and particle size (e.g., sorting grains of sand of the same size with different densities, sort materials of different particle size with equal densities).
  4. Relate the sorting of materials that can be observed in streambeds, road cuts, or beaches to the density and particle size of those materials.
  5. Design and conduct an experiment that provides data on the natural sorting of various earth materials.

Objective 2
Analyze how density affects Earth's structure.

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  1. Compare the densities of Earth's atmosphere, water, crust, and interior layers.
  2. Relate density to the relative positioning of Earth’s atmosphere, water, crust, and interior.
  3. Model the layering of Earth's atmosphere, water, crust, and interior due to density differences.
  4. Distinguish between models of Earth with accurate and inaccurate attributes.

Science Benchmark
Living things are made of smaller structures whose functions enable the organisms to survive. The basic unit of structure in all living things is the cell. Cells combine to form tissues that combine to form organs. While all cells have common structures, there are differences between plant and animal cells. Cell details are usually visible only through a microscope.

Reproduction passes information from parent to offspring. Asexual reproduction requires one parent and produces nearly identical offspring. Sexual reproduction requires two parents, and provides variety in a species. This variety may allow the species to adapt to changes in the environment and help the species survive. A species may change due to the passing of traits naturally or by techniques used and developed by science. Genetic information is passed on in a predictable manner.

Standard 3
Students will understand that the organs in an organism are made of cells that have structures and perform specific life functions.

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Objective 1
Observe and describe cellular structures and functions.

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  1. Use appropriate instruments to observe, describe, and compare various types of cells (e.g., onion, diatoms).
  2. Observe and distinguish the cell wall, cell membrane, nucleus, chloroplast, and cytoplasm of cells.
  3. Differentiate between plant and animal cells based on cell wall and cell membrane.
  4. Model the cell processes of diffusion and osmosis and relate this motion to the motion of particles.
  5. Gather information to report on how the basic functions of organisms are carried out within cells (e.g., extract energy from food, remove waste, produce their own food).

Objective 2
Identify and describe the function and interdependence of various organs and tissues.

  1. Order the levels of organization from simple to complex (e.g., cell, tissue, organ, system, organism).
  2. Match a particular structure to the appropriate level (e.g., heart to organ, cactus to organism, muscle to tissue).
  3. Relate the structure of an organ to its component parts and the larger system of which it is a part.
  4. Describe how the needs of organisms at the cellular level for food, air, and waste removal are met by tissues and organs (e.g., lungs provide oxygen to cells, kidneys remove wastes from cells).

Standard 4
Students will understand that offspring inherit traits that make them more or less suitable to survive in the environment.

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Objective 1
Compare how sexual and asexual reproduction passes genetic information from parent to offspring.

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  1. Distinguish between inherited and acquired traits.
  2. Contrast the exchange of genetic information in sexual and asexual reproduction (e.g., number of parents, variation of genetic material).
  3. Cite examples of organisms that reproduce sexually (e.g., rats, mosquitoes, salmon, sunflowers) and those that reproduce asexually (e.g., hydra, planaria, bacteria, fungi, cuttings from house plants).
  4. Compare inherited structural traits of offspring and their parents.

Objective 2
Relate the adaptability of organisms in an environment to their inherited traits and structures.

  1. Predict why certain traits (e.g., structure of teeth, body structure, coloration) are more likely to offer an advantage for survival of an organism.
  2. Cite examples of traits that provide an advantage for survival in one environment but not other environments.
  3. Cite examples of changes in genetic traits due to natural and manmade influences (e.g., mimicry in insects, plant hybridization to develop a specific trait, breeding of dairy cows to produce more milk).
  4. Relate the structure of organs to an organism’s ability to survive in a specific environment (e.g., hollow bird bones allow them to fly in air, hollow structure of hair insulates animals from hot or cold, dense root structure allows plants to grow in compact soil, fish fins aid fish in moving in water).

Science Benchmark
Classification schemes reflect orderly patterns and observable distinctions among objects and organisms. One of the most general distinctions among organisms is between plants and animals.

Biologists consider an organism's structural features more important for classifying organisms than behavior or general appearance. Geologists classify earth materials based upon structure. Chemists classify matter based upon structure. Classification systems may change as science develops new knowledge.

Standard 5
Students will understand that structure is used to develop classification systems.

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Objective 1
Classify based on observable properties.

  1. Categorize nonliving objects based on external structures (e.g., hard, soft).
  2. Compare living, once living, and nonliving things.
  3. Defend the importance of observation in scientific classification.
  4. Demonstrate that there are many ways to classify things.

Objective 2
Use and develop a simple classification system.

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  1. Using a provided classification scheme, classify things (e.g., shells, leaves, rocks, bones, fossils, weather, clouds, stars, planets).
  2. Develop a classification system based on observed structural characteristics.
  3. Generalize rules for classification.
  4. Relate the importance of classification systems to the development of science knowledge.
  5. Recognize that classification is a tool made by science to describe perceived patterns in nature.

Objective 3
Classify organisms using an orderly pattern based upon structure.

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  1. Identify types of organisms that are not classified as either plant or animal.
  2. Arrange organisms according to kingdom (i.e., plant, animal, monera, fungi, protist).
  3. Use a classification key or field guide to identify organisms.
  4. Report on changes in classification systems as a result of new information or technology.

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