SC11.1 CONCEPTS AND PROCESSES In the context of unifying concepts and processes, students develop an understanding of scientific content through inquiry. Science is a dynamic process; concepts and content are best learned through inquiry and investigation.


Concepts in LIFE SYSTEMS and EARTH, SPACE, and PHYSICAL SYSTEMS are taught within the context of the following Unifying Concepts and Processes of Science:
Systems, classification, order and organization
Evidence, models, and explanations
Change, constancy, and measurement
Evolution and equilibrium
Form and function


SC 11.1.1 The Cell: Students explain the processes of life, which necessitates an understanding of relationship between structure and function of the cell and cellular differentiation. They identify activities taking place in an organism related to metabolic activities in cells, which include growth, regulation, transport, and homeostasis. Students differentiate between asexual and sexual reproduction.

SC 11.1.2 Molecular Basis of Heredity Students demonstrate an understanding that organisms ensure species continuity by passing genetic information from parent to offspring. They utilize genetic information to make predictions about possible offspring. Students apply concepts of molecular biology (DNA and genes) to recent discoveries.

SC 11.1.3 Biological Evolution: Students explain how species evolve over time. They understand that evolution is the consequence of various interactions, including the genetic variability of offspring due to mutation and recombination of genes, and the ensuing selection by the environment of those offspring better able to survive and leave additional offspring. Students discuss natural selection and that its evolutionary consequences provide a scientific explanation for the great diversity of organisms as evidenced by the fossil record. They examine how different species are related by descent from common ancestors. Students are able to explain how organisms are classified based on similarities that reflect their evolutionary relationships, with species being the most fundamental unit of classification.

SC 11.1.4 Interdependence of Organisms: Students investigate the inter-relationships and interdependence of organisms, including the ecosystem concept, energy flow, competition for resources, and human effects on the environment.

SC 11.1.5 Matter, Energy, and Organization in Living Systems: Students describe the need of living systems for a continuous input of energy to maintain chemical and physical stability. They explain the unindirectional flow of energy and organic matter through a series of tropic levels in living systems. Students investigate the distribution and abundance of organisms in ecosystems, which are limited by the availability of matter and energy and the ability of the system to recycle materials.

SC 11.1.6 Behavior and Adaptation: Students examine behavior as the sum of responses of an organism to stimuli in its environment, which evolves through adaptation, increasing the potential for species survival. They identify adaptation as characteristics and behaviors of an organism that enhance chance for survival and reproductive success in a particular environment.


SC 11.1.7 Geochemical Cycles: Students describe the Earth as a closed system and demonstrate a conceptual understanding of the following systems: geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. Students explain the role of energy in each of these systems, such as weather patterns, global climate, weathering, and plate tectonics.

SC 11.1.8 Origin and Evolution of the Earth System: Students investigate geologic time through comparing rock sequences, the fossil record, and decay rates of radioactive isotopes.

SC 11.1.9 Origin and Evolution of the Universe: Students examine evidence for the big bang theory and recognize the immense time scale involved in comparison to human-perceived time. They describe the process of star and planet formation, planetary and stellar evolution including the fusion process, and element formation and dispersion.

SC 11.1.10. Structure and Properties of Matter: Students describe the atomic structure of matter including subatomic particles, their properties, and interactions. They recognize that elements are organized into groups in the periodic table based on their outermost electrons and these groups have similar properties. They explain chemical bonding in terms of the transfer or sharing of electrons between atoms. Students describe physical states of matter and phase changes. Students differentiate between chemical and physical properties, and chemical and physical changes.

SC 11.1.11. Chemical Reactions: Students recognize that chemical reactions take place all around us. They realize that chemical reactions may release or consume energy, occur at different rates, and result in the formation of different substances. They identify the factors that affect reaction rates.

SC 11.1.12. Conservation of Energy and Increase in Disorder: Students demonstrate an understanding of the laws of conservation of mass and energy within the context of physical and chemical changes. They realize the tendency for systems to increase in disorder without an input of energy.

SC 11.1.13. Energy and Matter: Students demonstrate an understanding of types of energy, energy transfer and transformations, and the relationship between energy and matter.

SC 11.1.14 Force and Motion: Students develop a conceptual understanding of Newton’s Laws of Motion, gravity, electricity, and magnetism.

SC 11.2 Science as Inquiry Students demonstrate knowledge, skills, and habits of mind necessary to safely perform scientific inquiry. Inquiry is the foundation for the development of content, teaching students the use of processes of science that enable them to construct and develop their own knowledge. Inquiry requires appropriate field, classroom, and laboratory experiences with suitable facilities and equipment.

SC 11.2.1 Students research scientific information and present findings through appropriate means.

SC 11.2.2 Students use inquiry to conduct scientific investigations. Pose problems and identify questions and concepts to design and conduct an investigation. Collect, organize, and analyze and appropriately represent data. Give priority to evidence in drawing conclusions and making connections to scientific concepts.

Clearly and accurately communicate the result of the investigation.

SC 11.2.3 Students clearly and accurately communicate the result of their own work as well as information from other sources.

SC 11.2.4 Students investigate the relationships between science and technology and the role of technological design in meeting human needs.

SC 11.2.5 Students properly use appropriate scientific and safety equipment, recognize hazards and safety symbols, and observe standard safety procedures.

SC 11.3 HISTORY AND NATURE OF SCIENCE IN PERSONAL AND SOCIAL DECISIONS; Students recognize the nature of science, its history, and its connections to personal, social, economic, and political decisions. Historically, scientific events have had significant impacts on our cultural heritage.

SC 11.3.1 Students examine the nature and history of science. As scientific knowledge evolves, it impacts personal, social, economic, and political decisions. The historical misuse of scientific information to make personal, social, economic, and political decisions.

SC 11.3.2 Students examine how scientific information is used to make decisions. Interdisciplinary connections of the sciences and connections to other subject areas and career opportunities. The role of science in solving personal, local, national, and global problems.

The origins, limitations, and conservation of natural resources, including Wyoming examples.