Seventh Grade Life Science
“In the middle-school years, students should progress from studying life science from the point of view of individual organisms to recognizing patterns in ecosystems and developing understandings about the cellular dimensions of living systems. For example, students should broaden their understanding from the way one species lives in its environment to populations and communities of species and the ways they interact with each other and with their environment. Students also should expand their investigations of living systems to include the study of cells. Observations and investigations should become increasingly quantitative, incorporating the use of computers and conceptual and mathematical models. Students in grades 5-8 also have the fine-motor skills to work with a light microscope and can interpret accurately what they see, enhancing their introduction to cells and microorganisms and establishing a foundation for developing understanding of molecular biology at the high school level. Some aspects of middle-school student understanding should be noted. This period of development in youth lends itself to human biology. Middle-school students can develop the understanding that the body has organs that function together to maintain life. Teachers should introduce the general idea of structure-function in the context of human organ systems working together. Other, more specific and concrete examples, such as the hand, can be used to develop a specific understanding of structure-function in living systems. By middle-school, most students know about the basic process of sexual reproduction in humans. However, the student might have misconceptions about the role of sperm and eggs and about the sexual reproduction of flowering plants. Concerning heredity, younger middle-school students tend to focus on observable traits, and older students have some understanding that genetic material carries information. Students...
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