Academic standards list

Biology I — Science (2009-2018)


Academic standards define the expectations for knowledge and skills that students are to learn in a subject by a certain age or at the end of a school grade level. This page contains a list of standards for a specific content area, grade level, and/or course. The list of standards may be structured using categories and sub-categories.

Embedded Inquiry

Standard INQ — Embedded Inquiry
Science is a relentless quest for understanding how the natural world works. All of science is driven by the premise that the world is capable of being understood. Yet, scientists believe that currently accepted explanations of natural phenomena or events are never perfect or fully complete and are always amenable to revision in light of new scientific evidence. Each scientific discipline uses its distinctive tools and techniques to investigate phenomena associated with the physical, geological, or living worlds. All rely upon theories from which the development of hypotheses emerge, the collection of data, and the interpretation of evidence as the foundation for reaching logical conclusions and making reasoned predictions.Conceptual StrandUnderstandings about scientific inquiry and the ability to conduct inquiry are essential for living in the 21st century.Guiding QuestionWhat tools, skills, knowledge, and dispositions are needed to conduct scientific inquiry?
Course Level Expectation
Recognize that science is a progressive endeavor that reevaluates and extends what is already accepted.
Design and conduct scientific investigations to explore new phenomena, verify previous results, test how well a theory predicts, and compare opposing theories.
Use appropriate tools and technology to collect precise and accurate data.
Apply qualitative and quantitative measures to analyze data and draw conclusions that are free of bias.
Compare experimental evidence and conclusions with those drawn by others about the same testable question.
Communicate and defend scientific findings.
State Performance Indicator
Select a description or scenario that reevaluates and/or extends a scientific finding.
Analyze the components of a properly designed scientific investigation.
Determine appropriate tools to gather precise and accurate data.
Evaluate the accuracy and precision of data.
Defend a conclusion based on scientific evidence.
Determine why a conclusion is free of bias.
Compare conclusions that offer different, but acceptable explanations for the same set of experimental data.

Embedded Mathematics

Standard MATH — Embedded Mathematics
Conceptual StrandScience applies mathematics to investigate questions, solve problems, and communicate findings.Guiding QuestionWhat mathematical skills and understandings are needed to successfully investigate biological topics?
Course Level Expectation
Understand the mathematical principles associated with the science of biology.
Utilize appropriate mathematical equations and processes to understand biological concepts.
State Performance Indicator
Use real numbers to represent real-world applications (e.g., slope, rate of change, probability, and proportionality).
Perform operations on algebraic expressions and informally justify the procedures chosen.
Interpret graphs that depict real-world phenomena.
Apply right triangle relationships including the Pythagorean Theorem and the distance formula.
Use concepts of length, area, and volume to estimate and solve real-world problems.
Demonstrate an understanding of rates and other derived and indirect measurements (e.g., velocity, miles per hour, revolutions per minute, cost per unit).

Embedded Technology/Engineering

Standard T/E — Embedded Technology/Engineering
Scientific inquiry is fueled by the desire to understand the natural world; technological design is driven by the need to meet human needs and solve human problems. Technology exerts a more direct effect on society than science because it is focused on solving human problems, helping humans to adapt to changes, and fulfilling goals and aspirations. The engineering design cycle describes the worklives of practicing engineers. The design cycle describes a series of activities that includes a background research, problem identification, feasibility analysis, selection of design criteria, prototype development, planning and design, production and product evaluation. Because there are as many variations of this model, practicing engineers do not adhere to a rigid step-by-step interpretation of this design cycle.Conceptual StrandSociety benefits when engineers apply scientific discoveries to design materials and processes that develop into enabling technologies.Guiding QuestionHow do science concepts, engineering skills, and applications of technology improve the quality of life?
Course Level Expectation
Explore the impact of technology on social, political, and economic systems.
Differentiate among elements of the engineering design cycle: design constraints, model building, testing, evaluating, modifying, and retesting.
Explain the relationship between the properties of a material and the use of the material in the application of a technology.
Describe the dynamic interplay among science, technology, and engineering within living, earth-space, and physical systems.
State Performance Indicator
Distinguish among tools and procedures best suited to conduct a specified scientific inquiry.
Evaluate a protocol to determine the degree to which an engineering design process was successfully applied.
Evaluate the overall benefit to cost ratio of a new technology.
Use design principles to determine how a new technology will improve the quality of life for an intended audience.


Standard 1 — Cells
...I could exceedingly plainly perceive it to be all perforated and porous, much like a honey-comb, but that the pores of it were not regular...these pores, or cells,...were indeed the first microscopical pores I ever saw. With these simple words, Robert Hooke announced his startling finding about cork cells to the world in the mid 17th century. Hooke continued to notice cells in whatever living matter he studied. Today, the fundamental theory that cells are the building blocks of all living things is universally accepted. Increasingly sophisticated experimental procedures and investigatory technologies have enabled scientists to probe deeper and deeper into cells where they continue to make astonishing discoveries about these amazing pieces of living machinery.Conceptual StrandAll living things are made of cells that perform functions necessary for life.Guiding QuestionHow are plant and animals cells organized to carry on the processes of life?
Course Level Expectation
Compare the structure and function of cellular organelles in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
Distinguish among the structure and function of the four major organic macromolecules found in living things.
Describe how enzymes regulate chemical reactions in the body.
Describe the processes of cell growth and reproduction.
Compare different models to explain the movement of materials into and out of cells.
State Performance Indicator
Identify the cellular organelles associated with major cell processes.
Distinguish between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
Distinguish among proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids.
Identify positive tests for carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins.
Identify how enzymes control chemical reactions in the body.
Determine the relationship between cell growth and cell reproduction.
Predict the movement of water and other molecules across selectively permeable membranes.
Compare and contrast active and passive transport.


Standard 2 — Interdependence
The biosphere includes the narrow layer of Earth inhabited by living things. Elements of the biosphere interact with the lithosphere (land), hydrosphere (water), and atmosphere (air) to result in the conditions that we find on earth. The biosphere includes all of the different ecosystems in which life is found from the tundra of the Arctic to the African savannah. Many of the macroscopic interactions, such as predation and competition for limited resources are well understood. Other interactions such as the spread of disease, the impact of invasive species, and human influenced depletion of natural resources are less understood and remain the topics of active investigation.Conceptual StrandAll life is interdependent and interacts with the environment.Guiding QuestionHow do living things interact with one another and with the non-living elements of their environment?
Course Level Expectation
Investigate how the dynamic equilibrium of an ecological community is associated with interactions among its organisms.
Analyze and interpret population data, graphs, or diagrams.
Predict how global climate change, human activity, geologic events, and the introduction of non-native species impact an ecosystem.
Describe the sequence of events associated with biological succession.
State Performance Indicator
Predict how population changes of organisms at different trophic levels affect an ecosystem.
Interpret the relationship between environmental factors and fluctuations in population size.
Determine how the carrying capacity of an ecosystem is affected by interactions among organisms.
Predict how various types of human activities affect the environment.
Make inferences about how a specific environmental change can affect the amount of biodiversity.
Predict how a specific environmental change may lead to the extinction of a particular species.
Analyze factors responsible for the changes associated with biological succession.

Flow of Matter and Energy

Standard 3 — Flow of Matter and Energy
Matter and energy move freely between and among living things and the physical environment in which they live. Life ultimately depends on the suns energy that is transformed by plants into energy-bearing food through the process of photosynthesis. Energy flows among living things through the food web and is used by all living things for energy, growth, and repair. Molecules of the substances found in living things are continually recycled between organisms themselves and the natural world. In the earth system, the total amount of matter and energy remains constant, even though their forms, availability, and where they are found in any moment are continually changing.Conceptual StrandMatter and energy flow through the biosphere.Guiding QuestionWhat scientific information explains how matter and energy flow through the biosphere?
Course Level Expectation
Analyze energy flow through an ecosystem.
Distinguish between aerobic and anaerobic respiration.
Investigate the relationship between the processes of photosynthesis and cellular respiration.
Describe the events which occur during the major biogeochemical cycles.
State Performance Indicator
Interpret a diagram that illustrates energy flow in an ecosystem.
Distinguish between aerobic and anaerobic respiration.
Compare and contrast photosynthesis and cellular respiration in terms of energy transformation.
Predict how changes in a biogeochemical cycle can affect an ecosystem.


Standard 4 — Heredity
Offspring are similar to, but somewhat different than their parents. Gregor Mendel noticed this phenomenon and through a series of experiments with pea plants discovered the general principles by which traits are transmitted between generations. The laws of probability govern how instructions for development are passed from parents to offspring in thousands of discrete genes, each of which is a segment of a molecule of DNA. The discovery of the structure of DNA was one of the crowning achievements of molecular biology and set the stage for a dramatic reconceptualization of Medelian inheritance.Conceptual StrandPlants and animals reproduce and transmit hereditary information between generations.Guiding QuestionWhat are the principal mechanisms by which living things reproduce and transmit information between parents and offspring?
Course Level Expectation
Investigate how genetic information is encoded in nucleic acids.
Describe the relationships among genes, chromosomes, proteins, and hereditary traits.
Predict the outcome of monohybrid and dihybrid crosses.
Compare different modes of inheritance: sex linkage, co-dominance, incomplete dominance, multiple alleles, and polygenic traits.
Recognize how meiosis and sexual reproduction contribute to genetic variation in a population.
Describe the connection between mutations and human genetic disorders.
Assess the scientific and ethical ramifications of emerging genetic technologies.
State Performance Indicator
Identify the structure and function of DNA.
Associate the process of DNA replication with its biological significance.
Recognize the interactions between DNA and RNA during protein synthesis.
Determine the probability of a particular trait in an offspring based on the genotype of the parents and the particular mode of inheritance.
Apply pedigree data to interpret various modes of genetic inheritance.
Describe how meiosis is involved in the production of egg and sperm cells.
Describe how meiosis and sexual reproduction contribute to genetic variation in a population.
Determine the relationship between mutations and human genetic disorders.
Evaluate the scientific and ethical issues associated with gene technologies: genetic engineering, cloning, transgenic organism production, stem cell research,

Biodiversity and Change

Standard 5 — Biodiversity and Change
Current day life demonstrates a staggering number of forms. Yet, when viewed through the lens of the fossil record, what appears on earth today is a mere smidgen of the variety of life that one time or another wandered this planet. Contemporary science has discovered that within this amazing array of living things there are many structural and biochemical similarities that argue for the existence of ancestral relationships. The fossil record also provides evidence for the connection between present and ancestral species. These lines of evidence support a unifying principle for understanding the history of life on earth, relationships among all living things, and the dependence of life on the physical environment.Conceptual StrandA rich variety of complex organisms have developed in response to a continually changing environment.Guiding QuestionHow does natural selection explain how organisms have changed over time?
Course Level Expectation
Associate structural, functional, and behavioral adaptations with the ability of organisms to survive under various environmental conditions.
Analyze the relationship between form and function in living things.
Explain how genetic variation in a population and changing environmental conditions are associated with adaptation and the emergence of new species.
Summarize the supporting evidence for the theory of evolution.
Explain how evolution contributes to the amount of biodiversity.
Explore the evolutionary basis of modern classification systems.
State Performance Indicator
Compare and contrast the structural, functional, and behavioral adaptations of animals or plants found in different environments.
Recognize the relationship between form and function in living things.
Recognize the relationships among environmental change, genetic variation, natural selection, and the emergence of a new species.
Describe the relationship between the amount of biodiversity and the ability of a population to adapt to a changing environment.
Apply evidence from the fossil record, comparative anatomy, amino acid sequences, and DNA structure that support modern classification systems.
Infer relatedness among different organisms using modern classification systems.
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