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Grade 7 - Science

Science in 7th Grade

In 7th Grade Life Science, students will better understand the core idea that all living things are made up of cells.  Students will develop and use models, charts, investigations, and diagrams to engage in argument from evidence regarding the complexities of living things. They then move on to investigate the core ideas of natural resources and human impacts on Earth systems as they learn about renewable and nonrenewable resources. Students then demonstrate their understanding of ecosystem dynamics and biodiversity.

Throughout the course of 7th grade Life Science, students will learn about:

  • Ask the essential question: “How do scientists define and organize living things?” 
  • Construct an investigation to provide evidence that supports living things are made of cells
  • Identify evidence that explains from where living things come
  • Conduct an investigation to provide evidence that explains what living things need to stay alive, grow, and reproduce
*Lessons, Activities, and Labs may include:
  • Conduct a cheek cell lab
  • Analyze specimens to determine if living/nonliving
  • Identify and describe evidence that explains how living things are classified into groups
  • Examine the organization of levels of classification
*Lessons, Activities, and Labs may include:
  • Create a classification key
  • Develop scientific names
  • Build a cladogram- What is the closest relative to the T-Rex?
  • Identify and describe evidence that explains that all living things are made of.
  • Provide evidence that describes the characteristics of viruses, bacteria, protists, and 
  • Construct explanations that explain how viruses, bacteria, protists, and fungi interact with nature and people
*Lessons, Activities, and Labs may include:
  • Investigate life in pond water
  • Create a virus model
  • Bacteria swab
  • Infectious disease simulation
  • Classify multicellular and unicellular organisms
  • Determine differences to identify the forms and functions of different plants and animals
  • Interpret data to determine an organism’s characteristics
  • Cite text evidence to illustrate differences and similarities in plant and animal cells
  • Identify and describe animal traits
*Lessons, Activities, and Labs may include:
  • Algae and other plants under the microscope
  • Vertebrate and invertebrate classification
  • Create a field guide classification system
  • Ask the essential question: “How are matter and energy cycled in an ecosystem?”
  • Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence that changes in the amount and availability of resources affect populations within an ecosystem.
  • Analyze cause-and-effect relationships in order to predict how the size of a population directly affects the ability of resources.
*Lessons, Activities, and Labs may include:
  • Lining Up the Neighborhood- biotic and abiotic factors
  • Elbow Room Lab- space as a limiting factor
  • Modeling a Dam- determine the effects of dams on local ecosystems
  • Make models to identify and describe how energy enters an ecosystem
  • Identify and describe the roles of producers, consumers, and decomposers in cycling energy through an ecosystem
  • Develop a model that illustrates the flow of energy between living and nonliving things in a food web
  • Explain and illustrate how energy is conserved within an ecosystem
*Lessons, Activities, and Labs may include:
  • Observing decomposition
  • Nutrients and aquatic organisms
  • Model food chain and food web
  • Construct and explanation for how matter is transferred between the living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem
  • Explain how matter is conserved in an ecosystem
*Lessons, Activities, and Labs may include:
  • Build a Solar Still
  • Ask the essential question: “How do living and nonliving things affect one another?”
  • Analyze and interpret data to predict the cause and effect of the amount and availability of a given resource on its population
  • Analyze and interpret data to predict the cause and effect of resource availability on competition
  • Identify and describe evidence that predatory interactions and symbiotic relationships influence population size
  • Construct explanations using reasoning that predict similar patterns of competitive, predatory, and symbiotic interactions across ecosystems.
*Lessons, Activities, and Labs may include:
  • Competition and Predation Lab
  • Research Animal Crossings
  • Construct an argument supported by physical evidence that explains how changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect organisms and populations
  • Construct explanations that predict relationships between changes in the components of an ecosystem and changes in population
  • Analyze and interpret data to predict the cause and effect of human impacts on ecosystems
*Lessons, Activities, and Labs may include:
  • Study of why is Polar Bear population is decreasing
  • Primary and Secondary Succession
  • Cite textual evidence to describe direct and indirect values of biodiversity
  • Cite textual evidence to describe the need to protect biodiversity globally
  • Determine central ideas to identify factors that affect biodiversity
  • Use ratio reasoning to explain how human population density affects biodiversity
 Students will:
  • Write arguments that cite textual evidence on the role of healthy ecosystems
  • Write arguments that support a position on the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems
  • Explain which support services are necessary for all other ecosystems
  • Cite textual evidence for the impact of biodiversity on ecosystem services
Possible lessons:
  • Design- Reduce flooding and soil erosion
  • Build a biome structure
Essential Question: How does the structure of cells determine their function?
Students model and investigate the structure and function of cells.
Students will:
  • Recognize and explore the components of cell theory
  • Recognize that cells are the basic unit of life
  • Recognize that cells of all living things extract energy from food, get rid of waste, and reproduce.
  • Conduct an investigation to provide evidence that all living things are made up of cells
  • Conduct an investigation to distinguish between living and nonliving things based on the presence or absence of cells.
Possible lessons:
  • Observation tools 
  • Observing living vs. nonliving cells
  • Cell Theory timeline
Students will:
  • Develop and use a model to identify the parts of a cell, specifically the nucleus, chloroplasts, mitochondria, cell membrane, and cell wall.
  • Develop and use a model to describe how each part of a cell contributes to the function of the cell as a whole.
  • Compare and contrast the structure and function of major parts of plant and animal cells
Possible lessons:
  • Why are cells so small?
  • How large are cells?
  • Comparing plant and animal cells
  • Make a cell model
  • Cell analogy project
Students will:
  • Develop and use a model to describe how cells obtain energy and remove waste materials through the cell membrane
Possible lessons:
  • Gummy Bear Lab- osmosis
  • Homeostasis Lab
Students will:
  • Use test evidence and visuals to:
    • Restate the four functions of cell division
    • Describe and explain each phase of the cell cycle
    • Explain cause and effect relationships of cell division
  • Analyze and interpret data to
    • Identify patterns in the process of cell division
    • Calculate the number of cells when provided the number of divisions
  • Use reasoning and evidence to ask questions related to cell division when provided an image of a cell
Possible lessons:
  • Model mitosis
  • How do broken bones heal?
Students will:
  • Construct an explanation using models for how plants and other organisms use photosynthesis to make food
  • Explain the role of light, carbon dioxide, water, and chlorophyll in photosynthesis
  • Cite evidence to support the role of photosynthesis in the cycling of materials and energy through ecosystems.
Possible lessons:
  • Energy from the sun- Look for photosynthetic activity using plants
Students will:
  • Construct an explanation for how organisms use cellular respiration to break down food to provide energy.
  • Explain how cells can release energy without using oxygen.
  • Cite evidence to support that living systems follow the Laws of Conservation of Mass and Energy.
Possible Lessons:
  • Exhaling carbon dioxide- amount of exercise vs. carbon dioxide
  • Label parts of cellular respiration
  • Fermentation lab

Essential Question 5 - How do systems interact in the human body?

Overview: Students will demonstrate an understanding of the human body as a system of multiple systems as well as the structure and function of the nervous system.

  • Students will use textual evidence to:
    • List the levels of organization in the body.
    • Describe the organization of a body system.
    • Describe the function of cells, tissues, organs, and body systems.
  • Students will use evidence to construct and support arguments in order to
    • Compare the structure and function of body systems to other systems.
    • Explain the general functions of body systems, including how they work together to function.
Possible lessons:
  • Observing cells and tissues- structure and function
  • Engineer an organ
  • Students will:
    • Identify evidence to describe and explain
    • Stimulus-response situations.
    • How the glands of the endocrine system control body processes.
    • How the nervous system compares to the endocrine system.
    • How systems interact to maintain homeostasis.
  • Students will identify evidence to predict and describe.
    • What may happen if one body system stops interacting with another.
    • How blocked blood vessels affect cells.
    • How healthy choices affect organ systems.
Possible lessons:
  • Lab- Identify the body systems used to perform specific actions.
  • Students will:
    • Identify and explain
    • The important nutrients a body needs to carry out its processes.
    • How the body’s systems process the foods you eat.
    • Develop arguments to explain
    • Why some food choices are healthier than others.
    • How food becomes materials the body can use.
    • Analyze proportional relationships to determine the total recommended daily allowances of nutrients
Possible lessons:
  • Measuring calories
  • Macromolecules in cells
  • Types of molecules
  • Digestion simulation
  • Peristalsis race
  • Frog dissection
  • Students will:
    • Use textual evidence to explain how body systems interact to transport materials throughout the body
    • Analyze diagrams in order to explain how the respiratory system interacts with other systems to exchange gases.
    • Interpret photos and text to explain how other body systems interact with the excretory system to remove wastes.
Possible lessons:
  • Build a lung model
  • Build a circulatory system 
  • Your heart, your breathing lab
  • Students will:
    • Use contextual evidence to explain what systems control processes in the human body.
    • Use visuals to explain how nerve signals travel.
    • Develop and use models to demonstrate how the body senses and reacts to surroundings.
Possible lessons:
  • How does your knee react?
  • What are the parts of the nervous system?
  • Why practice makes perfect.
  • Build a robotic hand

Essential Question: What factors influence the growth of organisms and their ability to reproduce?

Overview: Students will understand the core ideas related to growth and development of organisms, and inheritance and variation of traits. Students will engage in argument from evidence related to the relationship between inherited traits and learned behavior.

  • Students will:
    • Analyze and investigate how organisms reproduce either sexually or asexually and how these reproductive processes result in the transfer of genetic information to their offspring.
    • Develop and use models to describe how asexual reproduction results in offspring that are genetically identical while sexual reproduction results in offspring with genetic variation.
    • Analyze cause-and-effect relationships between the inheritance of half of an offspring’s gene from each parent and how this leads to variations in traits.
Possible lessons:
  • Is it All in the Genes? (genes and the environment)
  • Discover Human Traits Lab
  • Differences in Human Traits Lab
  • Blood Type Lab
  • Students will:
    • Students will explain and compare reproductive cycles in plants.
    • Cite textual evidence to identify aspects of the text that lead to conceptual understanding of plant reproduction and seed dispersal.
    • Create model drawings to illustrate the structures and sequence of events in plant reproduction
Possible lessons:
  • Plant dissection
  • Modeling Flowers -Model
  • Students will:
    • Make observations and generalizations about how animals use behavior to increase chances of survival and reproduction
    • Develop and use models to 
    • convey information about types of mating systems
    • compare animal migration patterns with human movement patterns
    • Draw comparisons and make inferences about the relationship between fertilization strategies and parental investment
Possible lessons:
  • Behavior Cycle Lab (using scent for survival)
  • Students will:
    • Describe the cause and effect relationship for environmental factors that influence an organism’s growth genetic factors that influence an organism’s growth
    • Construct explanations to identify methods to stimulate plant growth
    • Identify the mechanisms that factor and control plant and animal growth
Possible lessons:
  • Watching roots grow (tropism)
Essential Question - How do offspring receive traits from their parents?
  • Overview: Students will communicate their understanding of genetic coding and inherited traits from the use of models and examples.
Students will:
  • Examine the history of science to identify Gregor Mendel’s contributions to the fields of genetics and inheritance
  • Use a model to describe how variations of traits between parents and offspring arise from variations between genes from each parent.
  • Develop and use a model to predict the probability of inheritance of specific genetic variations
Possible lessons:
  • Mendel’s Monster Factory
  • SpongeBob Genetics
Students will:
  • Develop and use models to differentiate between genes, alleles, and chromosomes and determine how they are related to inheritance.
  • Use a model to demonstrate and describe the cause and effect of the influence of pedigree on variations in inherited traits across generations.
  • Use models to compare and contrast the formation of sex cells during meiosis and the process of cell division
Possible lessons:
  • Freddy the Fruit fly (Meiosis)
  • Rudolph’s Pedigree
Students will:
  • Construct explanations by describing why cells undergo DNA replication
  • Develop models to explain how cells make protein
  • Use models to explain why cells undergo protein synthesis
Possible lessons:
  • Modeling protein synthesis
  • Modeling DNA replication
  • Students will:
    • Construct explanations by 
    • Determining sex-linked inheritance using a Punnett Square
    • Analyzing sex-linked chromosomal indicators of disease
    • Construct a model to show a genetic mutation
    • Use a model to relate environmental factors to genetic mutations
Possible lessons:
  • Modeling mutations
  • Genetic Disease Report
Students will:
  • Gather and synthesize information to explain how humans use artificial selection to produce organisms with desired traits
  • Construct explanations that explain how scientists engineer new genes
  • Gather and synthesize information to support how genetic information can be used
Possible lessons:
  • DNA extraction