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In this unit students will learn to use a microscope and prepare slides of animal and plant cells. They will identify the organelles in these cells and compare animal cells with plant cells. They will learn how the body is hierarchically organised into living cells, tissues, organs and organ systems. They will learn that we grow by mitosis and they will see how this process occurs. They will also learn about plant flower structure and plant reproduction. They will then be introduced to role of cells in the reproduction of plants and animals.

Learning Targets

McREL: Science, McREL: Level III (Grades 6-8) , Life Sciences

Standard 4. Understands the principles of heredity and related concepts

  1. Knows that reproduction is a characteristic of all living things and is essential to the continuation of a species
  2. Knows that for sexually reproducing organisms, a species comprises all organisms that can mate with one another to produce fertile offspring
  3. Understands asexual and sexual reproduction (e.g., in asexual reproduction, all the genes come from a single parent; in sexual reproduction, an egg and sperm unite and half of the genes come from each parent, so the offspring is never identical to either of its parents; sexual reproduction allows for greater genetic diversity; asexual reproduction limits the spread of disadvantageous characteristics through a species)
  4. Knows that hereditary information is contained in genes (located in the chromosomes of each cell), each of which carries a single unit of information; an inherited trait of an individual can be determined by either one or many genes, and a single gene can influence more than one trait
  5. Knows that the characteristics of an organism can be described in terms of a combination of traits; some traits are inherited through the coding of genetic material and others result from environmental factors

Standard 5. Understands the structure and function of cells and organisms

  1. Knows that all organisms are composed of cells, which are the fundamental units of life; most organisms are single cells, but other organisms (including humans) are multicellular
  2. Knows that cells convert energy obtained from food to carry on the many functions needed to sustain life (e.g., cell growth and division, production of materials that the cell or organism needs)
  3. Knows the levels of organization in living systems, including cells, tissues, organs, organ systems, whole organisms, ecosystems, and the complementary nature of structure and function at each level
  4. Knows that multicellular organisms have a variety of specialized cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems that perform specialized functions (e.g., digestion, respiration, reproduction, circulation, excretion, movement, control and coordination, protection from disease)
  5. Knows that organisms have a great variety of body plans and internal structures that serve specific functions for survival (e.g., digestive structures in vertebrates, invertebrates, unicellular organisms, and plants)
  6. Knows how an organism's ability to regulate its internal environment enables the organism to obtain and use resources, grow, reproduce, and maintain stable internal conditions while living in a constantly changing external environment
  7. Knows that organisms can react to internal and environmental stimuli through behavioral response (e.g., plants have tissues and organs that react to light, water, and other stimuli; animals have nervous systems that process and store information from the environment), which may be determined by heredity or from past experience
  8. Knows that disease in organisms can be caused by intrinsic failures of the system or infection by other organisms

Standard 6. Understands relationships among organisms and their physical environment

  1. Knows that all individuals of a species that exist together at a given place and time make up a population, and all populations living together and the physical factors with which they interact compose an ecosystem
  2. Knows factors that affect the number and types of organisms an ecosystem can support (e.g., available resources; abiotic factors such as quantity of light and water, range of temperatures, and soil composition; disease; competition from other organisms within the ecosystem; predation)
  3. Knows ways in which organisms interact and depend on one another through food chains and food webs in an ecosystem (e.g., producer/consumer, predator/prey, parasite/host, relationships that are mutually beneficial or competitive)
  4. Knows how energy is transferred through food webs in an ecosystem (e.g., energy enters ecosystems as sunlight, and green plants transfer this energy into chemical energy through photosynthesis; this chemical energy is passed from organism to organism; animals get energy from oxidizing their food, releasing some of this energy as heat)
  5. Knows how matter is recycled within ecosystems (e.g., matter is transferred from one organism to another repeatedly, and between organisms and their physical environment; the total amount of matter remains constant, even though its form and location change)

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