High School Biology/ Earth
Science Curriculum Choices

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Our high school program curriculum options support instruction that prepare students for college, career and life.  All of our curriculum options support the primary content area (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) and integrate a secondary content area (Earth Science).  

Please review the High School Biology/Earth pilot summaries of HMH and STEMscopes below. Then fill out the feedback form. 

HMH

Unit: Carbon in the Earth System

Anchoring Phenomenon: Photosynthesis and cellular respiration are integral parts of the carbon cycle, in which carbon flows from the inorganic carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere to complex organic molecules such as carbohydrates; carbohydrates store energy used to power the metabolism of almost all living things. 

Guiding Questions:

  • How do plants survive? 
  • How do plants obtain energy? 
  • How do living things store energy not needed for immediate use? 
  • How is this energy later released? 
  • What is the relationship between photosynthesis and cellular respiration? 
  • How has the cycling of energy and matter changed over Earth’s history?

Lesson 1- Photosynthesis 
Lesson 2 - Cellular Respiration 

Each HMH Unit consists of an Anchor Phenomena and Unit Opener, a “Can You Explain It” or “Can You Solve it” that students work through during the unit, an evidence notebook, hands-on investigations, activities, research projects, and engineering activities and each unit concludes with a unit project, a performance task, and a Unit Test. 

Unit Project - Modeling Earth’s Atmosphere Use models to show how the composition of gases in Earth’s atmosphere changed over time as life on Earth evolved.

To access HMH’s unit materials for a deeper look at the unit, please click here.

STEMscopes

Ecosystem Interactions and 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. Students are applying their knowledge of carrying capacity, animal behavior, and processes that enable matter to cycle and energy to flow in an ecosystem to determine what a new ecosystem would need in order for a species to survive.

Anchoring Phenomena: It is a known fact that Earth is quickly becoming overpopulated. Part of the problem with overpopulation is that most of the resources that we rely on are being overused and depleted. This, in turn, impacts other species we share the planet with. Scientists believe that if we do not find solutions to combat overpopulation and the misuse of our planet, we have the potential to see a mass extinction of species in the near future.  

Guiding Questions:

  • What factors affect the size of populations within an ecosystem?
  • What are common threats to remaining natural ecosystems and biodiversity?
  • How can these threats be reduced?
  • What type of behaviors do animals exhibit that help them survive?

Mission Briefing

It’s 100 years in the future, and we have discovered that Europa can support life! Due to the increasing demands on Earth for space and resources, NASA is recruiting a team of scientists to introduce Earth’s endangered species to Europa for safekeeping. In order for life to exist, certain conditions on Europa must be met. Your team of scientists has been asked to determine what kind of ecosystem dynamics and conditions should be in place before certain organisms are introduced. Each scientist will be assigned one organism and, to ensure its survival, must determine what ecosystem will need to be established and its specific requirements and must report back to NASA with the findings. Because you know that these species will interact within this ecosystem, you must research and consider carrying capacity, natural available resources, size and diversity of populations, and the flow of energy and matter among these organisms.  As students work toward this goal, they will be learning the following concepts:

  • Group behavior plays a role in an individual organism’s chances to survive and reproduce
  • Factors affect carrying capacity of ecosystems at different scales
  • Factors affect biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales
  • Energy flows through organisms in an ecosystem.

The following scopes (chapters) are included in this segment

  • Carrying Capacity
  • Flow of Matter and Energy in Ecosystems
  • Animal Behavior

To access STEMscope’s unit materials for a deeper look at the unit, please click here.

Feedback Form

To provide feedback on the Biology grade curriculum options please click here.  Be sure to select “Biology” on the form!  Para acceder a la página de comentarios en español, haga clic aquí.

To get a deeper look at the curriculum materials from the unit of study being piloted, please click here.