1.2 ( Grades: K-12 ): The goal of this standard is to think and analyze in terms of systems. Thinking and analyzing in terms of systems will help students keep track of mass, energy, objects, organisms, and events referred to in the other content standards. The idea of simple systems encompasses subsystems as well as identifying the structure and function of systems, feedback and equilibrium, and the distinction between open and closed systems.
C.3.1 ( Grades: K-4 ): All animals depend on plants. Some animals eat plants for food. Other animals eat animals that eat the plants.
C.3.2 ( Grades: 9-12 ): The great diversity of organisms is the result of more than 3.5 billion years of evolution that has filled every available niche with life forms.
C.3.4 ( Grades: K-4 ): Humans depend on their natural and constructed environments. Humans change environments in ways that can be either beneficial or detrimental for themselves and other organisms.
C.4.1 ( Grades: 5-8 ): A population consists of all individuals of a species that occur together at a given place and time. All populations living together and the physical factors with which they interact compose an ecosystem.
C.4.2 ( Grades: 5-8 ): Populations of organisms can be categorized by the function they serve in an ecosystem. Plants and some micro-organisms are producers--they make their own food. All animals, including humans, are consumers, which obtain food by eating other organisms. Decomposers, primarily bacteria and fungi, are consumers that use waste materials and dead organisms for food. Food webs identify the relationships among producers, consumers, and decomposers in an ecosystem.
C.4.2 ( Grades: 9-12 ): Energy flows through ecosystems in one direction, from photosynthetic organisms to herbivores to carnivores and decomposers.
C.4.3 ( Grades: 5-8 ): For ecosystems, the major source of energy is sunlight. Energy entering ecosystems as sunlight is transferred by producers into chemical energy through photosynthesis. That energy then passes from organism to organism in food webs.
C.4.4 ( Grades: 5-8 ): The number of organisms an ecosystem can support depends on the resources available and abiotic factors, such as quantity of light and water, range of temperatures, and soil composition. Given adequate biotic and abiotic resources and no disease or predators, populations (including humans) increase at rapid rates. Lack of resources and other factors, such as predation and climate, limit the growth of populations in specific niches in the ecosystem.
C.5.1 ( Grades: 9-12 ): All matter tends toward more disorganized states. Living systems require a continuous input of energy to maintain their chemical and physical organizations. With death, and the cessation of energy input, living systems rapidly disintegrate.
C.5.5 ( Grades: 9-12 ): The distribution and abundance of organisms and populations in ecosystems are limited by the availability of matter and energy and the ability of the ecosystem to recycle materials.
F.1.7 ( Grades: 5-8 ): Natural environments may contain substances (for example, radon and lead) that are harmful to human beings. Maintaining environmental health involves establishing or monitoring quality standards related to use of soil, water, and air.
F.2.1 ( Grades: 9-12 ): Populations grow or decline through the combined effects of births and deaths, and through emigration and immigration. Populations can increase through linear or exponential growth, with effects on resource use and environmental pollution.
F.3.1 ( Grades: 5-8 ): Internal and external processes of the earth system cause natural hazards, events that change or destroy human and wildlife habitats, damage property, and harm or kill humans. Natural hazards include earthquakes, landslides, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, floods, storms, and even possible impacts of asteroids.
F.3.3 ( Grades: K-4 ): The supply of many resources is limited. If used, resources can be extended through recycling and decreased use.
F.4.1 ( Grades: 9-12 ): Natural ecosystems provide an array of basic processes that affect humans. Those processes include maintenance of the quality of the atmosphere, generation of soils, control of the hydrologic cycle, disposal of wastes, and recycling of nutrients. Humans are changing many of these basic processes, and the changes may be detrimental to humans.
F.4.2 ( Grades: K-4 ): Changes in environments can be natural or influenced by humans. Some changes are good, some are bad, and some are neither good nor bad. Pollution is a change in the environment that can influence the health, survival, or activities of organisms, including humans.
F.6.5 ( Grades: 9-12 ): Humans have a major effect on other species. For example, the influence of humans on other organisms occurs through land use--which decreases space available to other species--and pollution--which changes the chemical composition of air, soil, and water.
Benchmarks for Science Literacy
1C/P3 ( Grades: K-2 ): A lot can be learned about plants and animals by observing them closely, but care must be taken to know the needs of living things and how to provide for them in the classroom.
3C/E6 ( Grades: 3-5 ): Because of their ability to invent tools and processes, people have an enormous effect on the lives of other living things.
3C/H4 ( Grades: 9-12 ): The human species has a major impact on other species in many ways: reducing the amount of the earth's surface available to those other species, interfering with their food sources, changing the temperature and chemical composition of their habitats, introducing foreign species into their ecosystems, and altering organisms directly through selective breeding and genetic engineering.
4C/H1 ( Grades: 9-12 ): Plants on land and under water alter the earth's atmosphere by removing carbon dioxide from it, using the carbon to make sugars and releasing oxygen. This process is responsible for the oxygen content of the air.
4C/M7 ( Grades: 6-8 ): Human activities, such as reducing the amount of forest cover, increasing the amount and variety of chemicals released into the atmosphere, and intensive farming, have changed the earth's land, oceans, and atmosphere. Some of these changes have decreased the capacity of the environment to support some life forms.
5A/M1 ( Grades: 6-8 ): One of the most general distinctions among organisms is between plants, which use sunlight to make their own food, and animals, which consume energy-rich foods. Some kinds of organisms, many of them microscopic, cannot be neatly classified as either plants or animals.
5A/M2 ( Grades: 6-8 ): Animals and plants have a great variety of body plans and internal structures that contribute to their being able to make or find food and reproduce.
5A/M5abc ( Grades: 6-8 ): All organisms, including the human species, are part of and depend on two main interconnected global food webs. One includes microscopic ocean plants, the animals that feed on them, and finally the animals that feed on those animals. The other web includes land plants, the animals that feed on them, and so forth.
5A/P1 ( Grades: K-2 ): Some animals and plants are alike in the way they look and in the things they do, and others are very different from one another.
5C/M1c ( Grades: 6-8 ): The cells in similar tissues and organs in other animals are similar to those in human beings but differ somewhat from cells found in plants.
5D/E1 ( Grades: 3-5 ): For any particular environment, some kinds of plants and animals thrive, some do not live as well, and some do not survive at all.
5D/H1 ( Grades: 9-12 ): Ecosystems can be reasonably stable over hundreds or thousands of years. As any population grows, its size is limited by one or more environmental factors: availability of food, availability of nesting sites, or number of predators.
5D/H2 ( Grades: 9-12 ): If a disturbance such as flood, fire, or the addition or loss of species occurs, the affected ecosystem may return to a system similar to the original one, or it may take a new direction, leading to a very different type of ecosystem. Changes in climate can produce very large changes in ecosystems.
5D/H3 ( Grades: 9-12 ): Human beings are part of the earth's ecosystems. Human activities can, deliberately or inadvertently, alter the equilibrium in ecosystems.
5D/M1a ( Grades: 6-8 ): In all environments, organisms with similar needs may compete with one another for limited resources, including food, space, water, air, and shelter.
5D/M1b ( Grades: 6-8 ): The world contains a wide diversity of physical conditions, which creates a wide variety of environments: freshwater, marine, forest, desert, grassland, mountain, and others. In any particular environment, the growth and survival of organisms depend on the physical conditions.
5D/M2 ( Grades: 6-8 ): Interactions between organisms may be for nourishment, reproduction, or protection and may benefit one of the organisms or both of them. Some species have become so dependent on each other that neither could survive without the other.
5D/M3 ( Grades: 6-8 ): Given adequate resources and an absence of disease or predators, populations of organisms in ecosystems increase at rapid rates. Finite resources and other factors limit their growth.
5D/M4 ( Grades: 6-8 ): All organisms, both land-based and aquatic, are interconnected by their need for food. This network of interconnections is referred to as a food web. The entire earth can be considered a single global food web, and food webs can also be described for a particular environment. At the base of any food web are organisms that make their own food, followed by the animals that eat them, then the animals that eat those animals, and so forth.
5E/H3 ( Grades: 9-12 ): The chemical elements that make up the molecules of living things pass through food webs and are combined and recombined in different ways. At each link in a food web, some energy is stored in newly made structures but much is dissipated into the environment. Continual input of energy from sunlight keeps the process going.
5E/M2 ( Grades: 6-8 ): Over a long time, matter is transferred from one organism to another repeatedly and between organisms and their physical environment. As in all material systems, the total amount of matter remains constant, even though its form and location change.
5F/P1 ( Grades: K-2 ): Different plants and animals have external features that help them thrive in different kinds of places.
7C/H1 ( Grades: 9-12 ): # The size and rate of growth of the human population in any location are affected by economic, political, religious, technological and environmental factors. Some of these factors, in turn, are influenced by the size and rate of growth of the population.
8B/H7 ( Grades: 9-12 ): The development of new materials and the increased use of existing materials by a growing human population have led to the removal of resources from the environment much more rapidly than they can be replaced by natural processes. Disposal of waste materials has also become a problem. Solving these problems requires systematic efforts involving both social and technological innovations.
8C/E4 ( Grades: 3-5 ): Some people try to reduce the amount of fuels they use in order to conserve resources, reduce pollution, or save money.
8C/H4 ( Grades: 9-12 ): Industrialization brings an increased demand for and use of energy. Such usage contributes to having many more goods and services in the industrially developing nations but also leads to more rapid depletion of the earth's energy resources and to environmental risks associated with some energy resources.
8C/H5 ( Grades: 9-12 ): Decisions to slow the depletion of energy resources can be made at many levels, from personal to national, and they always involve trade-offs involving economic costs and social values.
8C/H8 ( Grades: 9-12 ): Sunlight is the ultimate source of most of the energy we use. The energy in fossil fuels such as oil and coal comes from energy that plants captured from the sun long ago.