The life science curriculum is divided into Core Concepts – 8 cores of knowledge. Below, each core concept is described in terms of what SOL concepts a student will learn and know. These are called the student learning tasks. You will notice some of the core concepts overlap with each other. This is part of a spiral curriculum, where ideas reinforce each other throughout the year.
Core 1 – the Basics of Science reviews the scientific method, tools used by scientists and the metric measurement system, better known as the International System of Units (SI units)
Core 2 – Characteristics of life – students learn about what characteristics make something living.
Core 3 – Cell Structures – this is an important one, because cells are the basis of life! Students will learn about all the organelles that make up the cell, along with what they do in the cell.
Core 4 – Ecology – The study of living things and how they interact with each other and their environment. This is a major theme in life science, and one that many students can relate to.
Core 5 – Cell functions – Returning to cells again, this core concept is all about things cells can do and how the organelles help them do it!
Core 6 – Genetics (and DNA) – this is a popular one for students as we discover how genes are passed from parents to offspring and how the DNA actually can determine something like eye color and affect our heights.
Core 7 – Biomes – this is the next step in Ecology – looking at different kinds of ecosystems around the world, we can predict the kinds of organisms we would find based on the climate of an area.
Core 8 – Classification – this is how scientists are able to study so many millions of different species, because they organize them into similar categories. We will learn the 8 levels of organization, and look more closely at the top 3 levels (domains, kingdoms and phyla).