Biology Curriculum



Topics include genetics, ecology, evolution, human biology, plant and animal kingdoms, and microbiology.



Science process: Ongoing Concept and Skill Development


Enduring Understanding:

Scientific reasoning is an important skill to have when solving problems. It is important to be able to recognize the unifying characteristics of all living things and to be able to critically evaluate claims based on evidence to determine the truthfulness of the claims.


Essential Questions:

Why is science a continuous process of understanding?


What is the connection between pure and applied science, and how does it relate to society?


What makes living things different from non-living things?


How do scientists find answers to their questions?



The Cell                                                                                         


Enduring Understanding:

Cells are the basic unit of life and are composed of specialized structures within which chemical reactions occur to maintain life. They regulate their internal conditions.


Essential Questions:

What are the functions of the major cell parts?


How do cells respond to their environment?


How do things get in and out of cells?


Why do plants wilt?


What is cancer?


Where do new cells come from?


How are bacteria different from us?


How do plants make their own food?


Do plants eat?


How do cells use the energy in food?


Why do you eat?









Molecular Basis of Heredity


Enduring Understanding:

DNA is the basic molecule for inheritance among living things. Traits can be passed from generation to generation. Variation and change within a species is largely due to sexual reproduction. Phenotype is influenced by genotype and environment. Mutations can result in a change in the genetic code which can change phenotype.


Essential Questions:

How are proteins made?


How does DNA replicate?


How can we use our knowledge of genetics?


What happens if a genetic copying mistake is made?


What if DNA did not replicate?


How do we predict the phenotype of an organism?


How do changes occur within a species?


What are the advantages of sexual reproduction?


What led to the discovery of DNA?





Interdependence of Organisms


Enduring Understanding:

Everything on the earth is interconnected and interdependent. Humans have the capacity to affect the natural world at local through global levels. Earth's resources are limited.


Essential Questions:

How do evolutionary adaptations influence an organism's success in its environment?


How human have’s impacted earth’s natural environments?


How have humans impacted Arizona's natural environment?


Why is biodiversity dependent on habitat health?


What are the benefits of having an ecosystem high in biodiversity?


What are the relationships among organisms and their environment?


How is a population limited by the available energy and nutrients in an ecosystem?







Biological Evolution


Enduring Understanding:

Evolution is change through time. Diversity of life is the result of the ongoing process of evolution and a changing environment. Many scientists have contributed to our understanding of evolution. Our modern understanding of evolution is built upon Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection. Life has been on earth for billions of years. There is a lot of evidence for evolution, such as DNA analysis and the fossil record.


Essential Questions:

How do evolutionary adaptations influence an organism's success in its environment?


What is "survival of the fittest?"


Why is genetic variation important?


How do new species come about?


How do species adapt to their environment?


How does natural selection work?


Who is Charles Darwin and what were his contributions to science?


What is the evidence for evolution?


How long has life been on the earth?



Matter, Energy, and Organization in Living Systems


Enduring Understanding:

All living things are composed of the same types of chemical compounds. Biological processes requiring energy occur in all organisms, from simple to complex. The relationship between structure and function is important and can be found at all levels within an organism. Living systems may be understood at different levels of organization. Matter cycles and energy flows.


Essential Questions:

How can a single cell become a complex organism?


What are the differences between simple and complex life forms?


What processes are necessary for life to continue?


What different kinds of life forms exist?


How are living things organized?


How do the levels of biological organization contribute to the complexity of life?


How do energy and matter interact on Earth?


What are the chemical compounds necessary for life?