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Instructional Focus Document
Environmental Systems
TITLE : Unit 01: Ecosystem Dynamics SUGGESTED DURATION : 25 days

Unit Overview

Course Overview

The TEKS Resource System version of the Environmental Systems course is designed as a capstone course intended for students who have completed three years of science (Biology, Chemistry, and Physics). It includes many aspects of Biology, Earth and atmospheric sciences, fundamental principles of chemistry and physics, human population dynamics, and includes consideration of people and how they have influenced various Earth systems.

 

Introduction

This unit bundles Student Expectations that allow students to utilize critical thinking and communication skills to understand the nature of environmental science and begin investigating the role of native plants and animals within both local ecosystems and across a variety of biomes.

 

Prior to this Unit

  • Biology
    • B.11B – Investigate and analyze how organisms, populations, and communities respond to external factors.
    • B.11C – Summarize the role of microorganisms in both maintaining and disrupting the health of both organisms and ecosystems.
    • B.11D – Describe how events and processes that occur during ecological succession can change populations and species diversity.
    • B.12A – Interpret relationships, including predation, parasitism, commensalism, mutualism, and competition among organisms.
    • B.12B – Compare variations and adaptations of organisms in different ecosystems.
    • B.12C – Analyze the flow of matter and energy through trophic levels using various models, including food chains, food webs, and ecological pyramids.
    • B.12D – Recognize that long-term survival of species is dependent on changing resource bases that are limited.
    • B.12E – Describe the flow of matter through the carbon and nitrogen cycles and explain the consequences of disrupting these cycles.
    • B.12F – Describe how environmental change can impact ecosystem stability.

 

During this Unit

Students are introduced to the study and history of environmental science, current issues, and contributions of scientists and careers. Students identify native plants and animals using dichotomous keys. They investigate the roles native plants and animals play in local and global ecosystems to make comparisons between native organisms in other biomes.  Students focus on the interrelationships of plants and animals, including their economic significance and interdependence.

 

After this Unit

Students will investigate and analyze the interrelationships between abiotic and biotic factors within Earth’s systems as well as how matter and energy flow through specific components of Earths’ systems, including the geosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. Safety and notebooking are practices that will be emphasized throughout the year.

 

Research

“By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that:

  • Ecosystems can be reasonably stable over hundreds or thousands of years. As any population grows, its size is limited by one of more environmental factors. Availability of food, availability of nesting sites, or number of predators. 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. Human beings are part of the earth’s ecosystems. Human activities can, deliberately or inadvertently, alter the equilibrium in ecosystems.”

American Association for the Advancement of Science. (2009). Benchmarks on-line. Retrieved from http://www.project2061.org/publications/bsl/online/index.php.


(Overarching Understandings and Questions are the big ideas that encompass the investigation of scientific concepts. They align to scientific processes and the Overarching Concepts. They may be used to help students make connections between unit-level, topical ideas, and the bigger ideas in science. The application and alignment of these may vary across content areas due to the unique nature of each discipline. Understandings are aligned to each unit. For a full list of Overarching Understandings and Questions, click the link in the System Resources section below.)

 

Scientists investigate natural phenomena in order to understand and explain each phenomenon in terms of systems.

  • What is the value of knowing and understanding natural phenomena?
  • How are the properties of systems and their components related to their classification?
  • How are the components, processes, and / or patterns of systems interrelated?

 

Data is systematically collected, organized, and analyzed in terms of patterns and relationships to develop reasonable explanations and make predictions.

  • What is the value of observing patterns and relationships in data?

 

Scientists analyze, evaluate, and critique each other’s work using principles of scientific investigations in order to build on one another’s ideas through new investigations.

  • How can we know what to believe about a scientific claim?
  • In what ways have scientific explanations impacted scientific thought and society over time?
Unit Understandings
and Questions
Overarching Concepts
and Unit Concepts
Performance Assessment(s)

Native plants and animals in each ecosystem generally maintain equilibrium in an ecosystem.

  • What methods are used to identify organisms?

Systems 

  • Ecosystems

 

Classifications

  • Desert
  • Deciduous forest
  • Rainforest
  • Grassland
  • Tundra
  • Taiga
  • Savanna
  • Salt water
  • Fresh water

 

Properties

  • Keystone species
  • Apex predators
  • Population control
  • Producers
  • Consumers
  • Decomposers

 

Patterns

  • Biome dynamics

 

Models

  • Dichotomous keys

 

Constancy

  • Interdependence
  • Ecosystem equilibrium

 

Change

  • Human activities
Assessment information provided within the TEKS Resource System are examples that may, or may not, be used by your child’s teacher. In accordance with section 26.006 (2) of the Texas Education Code, "A parent is entitled to review each test administered to the parent’s child after the test is administered." For more information regarding assessments administered to your child, please visit with your child’s teacher.

 

The impact of human activities on the environment often relates to the economic significance of environmental resources.

  • In what ways do human activities impact the environment?
  • What conclusions can be reached when evaluating the interdependence and economic significance of resources within an environmental system (including ourselves)?
  • What human activities that impact the environment are not related to resource economics?

 

Native plants and animals in each ecosystem generally maintain equilibrium in an ecosystem.   

  • What methods are used to identify organisms?
  • In what ways do native plants and animals affect our local ecosystem?
  • How do the roles of local plants and animals compare to organisms in other ecosystems?
Assessment information provided within the TEKS Resource System are examples that may, or may not, be used by your child’s teacher. In accordance with section 26.006 (2) of the Texas Education Code, "A parent is entitled to review each test administered to the parent’s child after the test is administered." For more information regarding assessments administered to your child, please visit with your child’s teacher.

MISCONCEPTIONS / UNDERDEVELOPED CONCEPTS

Misconceptions:

  • Students may think living organisms have little or no effect on nonliving systems.
  • Students may think plants cannot defend themselves against herbivores, rather than understanding plants have a range of defenses including external structures (sap, hairs, thorns, wax) and chemicals that either reduce digestibility or are toxic.
  • Students may think ecosystems are not a functioning whole but simply a collection of organisms rather than understanding that ecosystems include not just the organisms but also the interactions between organisms and interactions between the organisms and their physical environment.

 

Underdeveloped Concepts:

  • Students may have difficulty understanding that ecosystems are dynamic and change as a result of natural and human-influenced processes.

Unit Vocabulary

Key Content Vocabulary:

  • Biodiversity – variety of organisms in an ecosystem or biome
  • Biome – a major ecological community (large region of land) with a distinct climate and specific plants and animals
  • Dichotomous key – tool used to identify species of organisms using opposing observable characteristics
  • Ecological niche – the ecological niche involves both the place where an organism lives and the roles that an organism has in its habitat
  • Ecosystem – a community interacting with its environment through a one-way flow of energy and the cycling of materials
  • Environmental science – the branch of science that deals with the physical, chemical, and biological components of the environment and their effects on organisms
  • Interdependence – beneficial relationships between organisms
  • Native species – species is defined as native (or indigenous) to a given region or ecosystem if its presence in that region is the result of only natural processes, with no human intervention
  • Sustainability – ability of a system to remain in existence- maintain; environmental sustainability can be defined as a healthy ecosystem that is productive and renewable

 

Related Vocabulary:

  • Abiotic
  • Biotic
  • Climate
  • Environmental action
  • Environmental awareness
  • Non-native
Unit Assessment Items System Resources Other Resources

Show this message:

Unit Assessment Items that have been published by your district may be accessed through Search All Components in the District Resources tab. Assessment items may also be found using the Assessment Center if your district has granted access to that tool.

System Resources may be accessed through Search All Components in the District Resources Tab.

State:

Texas Education Agency – Texas Safety Standards: Kindergarten Through Grade 12, 2nd Edition

http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=5483 (look under Documents)v

 

Texas Parks & Wildlife – Wildlife Fact Sheets

http://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/species/


TAUGHT DIRECTLY TEKS

TEKS intended to be explicitly taught in this unit.

TEKS/SE Legend:

  • Knowledge and Skills Statements (TEKS) identified by TEA are in italicized, bolded, black text.
  • Student Expectations (TEKS) identified by TEA are in bolded, black text.
  • Portions of the Student Expectations (TEKS) that are not included in this unit but are taught in previous or future units are indicated by a strike-through.

Specificity Legend:

  • Supporting information / clarifications (specificity) written by TEKS Resource System are in blue text.
  • Unit-specific clarifications are in italicized, blue text.
  • Information from Texas Education Agency (TEA), Texas College and Career Readiness Standards (TxCCRS), and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Project 2061 is labeled.
  • A Partial Specificity label indicates that a portion of the specificity not aligned to this unit has been removed.
TEKS# SE# TEKS SPECIFICITY
E.1 Scientific processes. The student, for at least 40% of instructional time, conducts hands-on laboratory and field investigations using safe, environmentally appropriate, and ethical practices. The student is expected to:
E.1A Demonstrate safe practices during laboratory and field investigations, including appropriate first aid responses to accidents that could occur in the field such as insect stings, animal bites, overheating, sprains, and breaks.

Demonstrate

SAFE PRACTICES DURING FIELD AND LABORATORY INVESTIGATIONS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Wear appropriate safety equipment, such as goggles, aprons, and gloves
  • Know the location and use of safety equipment, such as first aid kits, safety shower, and eye wash
  • Know first aid responses to accidents that could occur in the field
    • Identification of poisonous organisms
    • Insect stings
    • Animal bites
    • Overheating
    • Sprains
    • Breaks
  • Follow classroom safety guidelines, as outlined in the Texas Education Agency Texas Safety Standards, 2nd Edition
  • Handle organisms appropriately
  • Use lab equipment appropriately
  • Follow field investigation guidelines
  • Limit habitat disturbance / destruction
E.2 Scientific processes. The student uses scientific methods during laboratory and field investigations. The student is expected to:
E.2K

Communicate valid conclusions supported by the data through methods such as lab reports, labeled drawings, graphic organizers, journals, summaries, oral reports, and technology-based reports.

Communicate

VALID CONCLUSIONS SUPPORTED BY DATA

Including, but not limited to:

  • Communicate conclusions in oral, written, and graphic forms
  • Use essential vocabulary of the discipline to communicate conclusions
  • Use appropriate writing practices consistent with scientific writing
  • Present scientific information in appropriate formats for various audiences
  • Methods for communicating conclusions
    • Labeled drawings
    • Diagrams
    • Graphic organizers (including charts and tables)
    • Journals (science notebooks)
    • Summaries
    • Oral reports
    • Technology-based reports
    • Possible additional methods for communicating conclusions:
      • Graphs

Note(s):

  • TxCCRS:
    • IV. Nature of Science: Scientific Ways of Learning and Thinking – E1 – Use several modes of expression to describe or characterize natural patterns and phenomena. These modes of expression include narrative, numerical, graphical, pictorial, symbolic, and kinesthetic.
E.3 Scientific processes. The student uses critical thinking, scientific reasoning, and problem solving to make informed decisions within and outside the classroom. The student is expected to:
E.3B

Communicate and apply scientific information extracted from various sources such as current events, news reports, published journal articles, and marketing materials.

Communicate, Apply

SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION

Including, but not limited to:

  • Review scientific information from a variety of sources
  • Summarize and communicate scientific information from a variety of sources
  • Evaluate the quality and accuracy of information from research sources
    • Current events
    • News reports
    • Published journal articles
    • Marketing materials
    • Possible additional sources may include:
      • Books
      • Interviews, conference papers
      • Science notebooks
      • Search engines, databases, and other media or online tools
E.3D

Evaluate the impact of research on scientific thought, society, and the environment.

Evaluate

IMPACT OF RESEARCH

Including, but not limited to:

  • Read scientific articles to gain understanding of the impact of research
  • Evaluate the impact of research on society, everyday life, and the environment
  • Recognize how scientific discoveries are connected to technological innovations
  • Understand how scientific research and technology have an impact on ethical and legal practices
  • Understand how commonly held ethical beliefs impact scientific research
  • Understand how scientific discoveries have impacted / changed commonly held beliefs
E.3E

Describe the connection between environmental science and future careers.

Describe

CONNECTIONS BETWEEN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND FUTURE CAREERS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Environmental science careers
    • Possible examples may include:
      • Careers in environmental law and policy
      • Careers in ecology
      • Careers in conservation
      • Careers in environmental management
      • Careers in energy and air pollution control
      • Environmental engineer
      • Environmental educator
      • Restoration ecologist
      • Marine biologist
      • Sustainable farmer
      • Renewable energy researcher
      • Forest ranger
E.3F

Research and describe the history of environmental science and contributions of scientists.

Research, Describe

HISTORY OF ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND CONTRIBUTIONS OF SCIENTISTS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Conduct research on significant events in the history of environmental science
    • Possible examples may include:
      • National Environmental Policy Act (1969)
      • Publication of Silent Spring (Rachel Carson)
      • Publication of An Essay on the Principle of Population (Thomas Malthus)
      • Creation of the Environmental Protection Agency
      • Discovery of CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere (1957)
      • Love Canal
      • Chernobyl (April 26, 1986)
      • Three Mile Island (1979)
      • Oil spills
        • California coast (Santa Barbara) (1969)
        • Alaska coast (March 24, 1989)
        • Gulf of Mexico (April, 2010)
  • Conduct research on contributions of various environmental scientists
    • Biodiversity
      • Possible examples may include:
        • Niles Eldredge
        • Charles Darwin
        • E.O. Wilson
        • Paul Ralph Ehrlich
    • Sustainability
      • Possible examples may include:
        • George Washington Carver
        • Thomas Malthus (author of An Essay on the Principle of Population)
        • Joshua Abbott
    • Stewardship
      • Possible examples may include:
        • Rachel Carson (author of Silent Spring)
        • John Wesley Powell
        • John Muir (conservationist)
        • James Hansen
E.4 Science concepts. The student knows the relationships of biotic and abiotic factors within habitats, ecosystems, and biomes. The student is expected to:
E.4A

Identify native plants and animals using a dichotomous key.

Identify

NATIVE PLANTS AND ANIMALS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Using a dichotomous key
    • Native plants
    • Native animals

Note(s):

  • TxCCRS Note:
    • VI. Biology – G1 – Identify Earth’s major biomes, giving their locations, typical climate conditions, and characteristic organisms present in each.
    • X. Environmental Science – A1 – Recognize the Earth’s systems.
    • X. Environmental Science – A5 – Be familiar with Earth’s major biomes.
E.4B

Assess the role of native plants and animals within a local ecosystem and compare them to plants and animals in ecosystems within four other biomes.

Assess, Compare

THE ROLE OF NATIVE PLANTS AND ANIMALS WITHIN A LOCAL ECOSYSTEM TO OTHER PLANTS AND ANIMALS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Native plants and animals of the local ecosystem
    • Possible roles may include:
      • Keystone species
      • Apex predators
      • Population control
      • Producers
      • Consumers
      • Decomposers
  • Native plants and animals of ecosystems in other biomes
    • Possible roles may include:
      • Keystone species
      • Apex predators
      • Population control
      • Biodiversity
      • Producers
      • Consumers
      • Decomposers
    • Possible examples of biomes may include:
      • Desert
      • Deciduous forest
      • Rainforest
      • Grassland
      • Tundra
      • Taiga
      • Savanna
      • Salt water
      • Fresh water

Note(s):

  • TxCCRS Note:
    • X. Environmental Science – A1 – Recognize the Earth’s systems.
    • X. Environmental Science – A4 – Know the features of the hydrosphere.
    • X. Environmental Science – A5 – Be familiar with Earth’s major biomes.
E.5 Science concepts. The student knows the interrelationships among the resources within the local environmental system. The student is expected to:
E.5E

Analyze and evaluate the economic significance and interdependence of resources within the environmental system.

Note: The focus of this unit provides an introduction to the economic significance and interdependence of resources within the environmental system. A more in-depth study of the economic significance of resources is included In Unit 03: Managing Resources.

Analyze, Evaluate

ECONOMIC SIGNIFICANCE AND INTERDEPENDENCE OF RESOURCES WITHIN THE ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEM

Including, but not limited to:

  • Economic significance of resources within the environmental system
    • Cost-benefit analysis
    • Non-market resource evaluation
      • Social
      • Health
      • Environmental quality
    • Possible examples of resources may include:
      • Lumber
      • Organic materials
      • Organisms
      • Water
      • Energy resources
  • Interdependence of resources within the environmental system
    • Abiotic and biotic
      • Sunlight
      • Organisms
      • Soil
      • Water
E.9E

Evaluate the effect of human activities, including habitat restoration projects, species preservation efforts, nature conservancy groups, hunting, fishing, ecotourism, all terrain vehicles, and small personal watercraft, on the environment.

Evaluate

THE EFFECT OF HUMAN ACTIVITIES ON THE ENVIRONMENT

Including, but not limited to:

  • Hunting
    • Overhunting
    • Hunting for population control
  • Fishing
    • Overfishing
    • Sustainable fishing
  • Ecotourism
  • All terrain vehicles
  • Small personal watercraft

Note(s):

  • TxCCRS Note:
    • X. Environmental Science – E5 – Understand how human practices affect air, water, and soil quality.
DEVELOPING TEKS

TEKS that need continued practice, improvement, and refinement, but do not necessarily need to be explicitly taught in this unit.

TEKS/SE Legend:

  • Knowledge and Skills Statements (TEKS) identified by TEA are in italicized, bolded, black text.
  • Student Expectations (TEKS) identified by TEA are in bolded, black text.
  • Portions of the Student Expectations (TEKS) that are not included in this unit but are taught in previous or future units are indicated by a strike-through.

Specificity Legend:

  • Supporting information / clarifications (specificity) written by TEKS Resource System are in blue text.
  • Unit-specific clarifications are in italicized, blue text.
  • Information from Texas Education Agency (TEA), Texas College and Career Readiness Standards (TxCCRS), and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Project 2061 is labeled.
TEKS# SE# TEKS SPECIFICITY
E.1 Scientific processes. The student, for at least 40% of instructional time, conducts hands-on laboratory and field investigations using safe, environmentally appropriate, and ethical practices. The student is expected to:
E.1B Demonstrate an understanding of the use and conservation of resources and the proper disposal or recycling of materials.

Demonstrate

AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE USE AND CONSERVATION OF RESOURCES AND THE DISPOSAL OR RECYCLING OF MATERIALS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Use and conservation of resources
    • Reducing pollution
    • Being a wise consumer
    • Use of energy efficient materials or fuels
    • Preserving habitats
  • Proper disposal or recycling of materials
    • Disposal
      • Solid and liquid chemical waste
      • Broken glassware
    • Spill cleanup
    • Recycling
      • Paper products
      • Plastics
      • Glass
      • Metals
E.2 Scientific processes. The student uses scientific methods during laboratory and field investigations. The student is expected to:
E.2A Know the definition of science and understand that it has limitations, as specified in subsection (b)(2) of this section.

Know

THE DEFINITION OF SCIENCE

Including, but not limited to:

  • Science, as defined by the National Academy of Sciences, is the "use of evidence to construct testable explanations and predictions of natural phenomena, as well as the knowledge generated through this process".

Understand

SCIENCE HAS LIMITATIONS

Including, but not limited to:

  • “...some questions are outside the realm of science because they deal with phenomena that are not scientifically testable.”
  • Scientific inquiry may be limited by current technology
E.2B Know that scientific hypotheses are tentative and testable statements that must be capable of being supported or not supported by observational evidence. Hypotheses of durable explanatory power which have been tested over a wide variety of conditions are incorporated into theories.

Know

THAT SCIENTIFIC HYPOTHESES ARE TENTATIVE AND TESTABLE STATEMENTS THAT MUST BE CAPABLE OF BEING SUPPORTED OR NOT SUPPORTED BY OBSERVATIONAL EVIDENCE

Including, but not limited to:

  • Determine if statements represent testable hypotheses
  • Analyze data to determine whether the data support or do not support hypotheses
  • Widely tested hypotheses
    • Can have durable explanatory power
    • May be incorporated into theories

Note(s):

  • TxCCRS Note:
    • I. Nature of Science – A3 – Formulate appropriate questions to test understanding of natural phenomena. 
E.2C Know that scientific theories are based on natural and physical phenomena and are capable of being tested by multiple independent researchers. Unlike hypotheses, scientific theories are well-established and highly-reliable explanations, but may be subject to change as new areas of science and new technologies are developed.

Know

SCIENTIFIC THEORIES

Including, but not limited to:

  • Scientific theories are based on natural and physical phenomena
  • Scientific theories are capable of being tested by multiple independent researchers
  • Unlike, hypotheses, scientific theories are well-established and highly reliable explanations
  • Scientific theories may be subject to change as new areas of science and new technologies are developed
    • A scientific theory may be subject to change when new evidence is inconsistent with or cannot be explained by current theory
  • Examine various scientific theories from the field of biology and the evidence that supports them
    • Possible examples of related scientific theories may include:
      • Laws of thermodynamics
      • Theory of natural selection
      • Theory of evolution
      • Gene theory (Mendel)
      • Germ theory of disease

Note(s):

  • TxCCRS Note:
    • I. Nature of Science – A2 – Use creativity and insight to recognize and describe patterns in natural phenomena.
    • I. Nature of Science – A4 – Rely on reproducible observations of empirical evidence when constructing, analyzing, and evaluating explanations of natural events and processes.
E.2D Distinguish between scientific hypotheses and scientific theories.

Distinguish

BETWEEN SCIENTIFIC HYPOTHESES AND SCIENTIFIC THEORIES

Including, but not limited to:

  • Distinguish between scientific hypotheses and scientific theories
  • Use statements and supporting evidence to determine whether a statement is a hypothesis or a scientific theory
  • Examine examples of hypotheses and theories in the field of environmental systems

Note(s):

  • Project 2061: By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that:
    • In science, the testing, revising, and occasional discarding of theories, new and old, never ends. This ongoing process leads to a better understanding of how things work in the world but not to absolute truth. 1A/H3bc*
E.2E Follow or plan and implement investigative procedures, including making observations, asking questions, formulating testable hypotheses, and selecting equipment and technology.

Plan, Implement

DESCRIPTIVE, COMPARATIVE, AND EXPERIMENTAL INVESTIGATIONS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Observe natural phenomena
  • Ask questions
  • Formulate testable hypotheses
  • Follow or design and conduct investigations
    •  Descriptive
    •  Comparative
    •  Experimental
  • Select appropriate equipment and technology

Note(s):

  • TEA:
    • Descriptive, comparative and experimental investigations (Texas Education Agency. (2007-2011)). Laboratory and Field Investigations–FAQ, August 2010. Retrieved from http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=5483)
      • Descriptive investigations involve collecting qualitative and/or quantitative data to draw conclusions about a natural or man-made system (e.g., rock formation, animal behavior, cloud, bicycle, electrical circuit). A descriptive investigation includes a question, but no hypothesis. Observations are recorded, but no comparisons are made and no variables are manipulated.
      • Comparative investigations involve collecting data on different organisms/objects/ features/events, or collecting data under different conditions (e.g., time of year, air temperature, location) to make a comparison. The hypothesis identifies one independent (manipulated) variable and one dependent (responding) variable. A ―fair test* can be designed to measure variables so that the relationship between them is determined.
      • Experimental investigations involve designing a ―fair test* similar to a comparative investigation, but a control is identified. The variables are measured in an effort to gather evidence to support or not support a causal relationship. This is often called a ―controlled experiment.
      • * A fair test is conducted by making sure that only one factor (variable) is changed at a time, while keeping all other conditions the same. 
  • TxCCRS:
    • I. Nature of Science – A3 – Formulate appropriate questions to test understanding of natural phenomena.
E.2F Collect data individually or collaboratively, make measurements with precision and accuracy, record values using appropriate units, and calculate statistically relevant quantities to describe data, including mean, median, and range.

Collect

DATA

Including, but not limited to:

  • Qualitative and / or quantitative
  • On an individual or collaborative basis
  • Record values using appropriate units
  • Demonstrate use of appropriate equipment to collect data

Make 

MEASUREMENTS WITH PRECISION AND ACCURACY

Including, but not limited to:

  • Data collecting probes for pH, water quality, soil quality, etc.
  • Glassware for volume (e.g., graduated cylinders, pipettes, burettes)
  • Electronic balances for mass
  • Meter sticks and rulers for length or distance
  • Stopwatches for time

Calculate

STATISTICALLY RELEVANT QUANTITIES TO DESCRIBE DATA

Including, but not limited to:

  • Mean
  • Median
  • Range
E.2G Demonstrate the use of course apparatuses, equipment, techniques, and procedures, including meter sticks, rulers, pipettes, graduated cylinders, triple beam balances, timing devices, pH meters or probes, thermometers, calculators, computers, Internet access, turbidity testing devices, hand magnifiers, work and disposable gloves, compasses, first aid kits, binoculars, field guides, water quality test kits or probes, soil test kits or probes, 100-foot appraiser's tapes, tarps, shovels, trowels, screens, buckets, and rock and mineral samples.

Demonstrate

THE USE OF COURSE APPARATUSES, EQUIPMENT, TECHNIQUES, AND PROCEDURES

Including, but not limited to:

  • Appropriate use of equipment
    • Meter sticks
    • Rulers
    • Pipettes
    • Graduated cylinders
    • Triple beam balances
    • Timing devices
    • pH meters or probes
    • Thermometers
    • Calculators
    • Computers with Internet access
    • Turbidity testing devices
    • Hand magnifiers
    • Work and disposable gloves
    • Compasses
    • First aid kits
    • Binoculars
    • Field guides
    • Water quality test kits or probes
    • Soil test kits or probes
    • 100-foot appraiser’s tapes
    • Tarps
    • Shovels
    • Trowels
    • Screens
    • Buckets
    • Rock and mineral samples
E.2H Use a wide variety of additional course apparatuses, equipment, techniques, materials, and procedures as appropriate such as air quality testing devices, cameras, flow meters, Global Positioning System (GPS) units, Geographic Information System (GIS) software, computer models, densiometers, clinometers, and field journals.

Use

A WIDE VARIETY OF ADDITIONAL COURSE APPARATUSES, EQUIPMENT, TECHNIQUES, MATERIALS, AND PROCEDURES

Including, but not limited to:

  • Additional equipment (as needed)
    • Air quality testing devices
    • Cameras
    • Flow meters
    • Global positions system (GPS) units
    • Geographic information system (GIS) software
    • Computer models
    • Densiometers
    • Clinometers
    • Field journals
E.2I Organize, analyze, evaluate, build models, make inferences, and predict trends from data.

Organize, Analyze, Evaluate, Build models, Make inferences, Predict

TRENDS FROM DATA

Including, but not limited to:

  • Using models
  • Analyze data using different modes of expression (narrative, numerical, graphical)
  • Use appropriate mathematical calculations
    • Possible examples may include:
      • Averaging
      • Percent change
      • Probabilities and ratios
      • Rate of change
  • Use appropriate standard international (SI) units
  • Analyze and evaluate data (narrative, numerical, graphical) in order to make inferences and predict trends
    • Possible data format examples may include:
      • Food chains / food webs
      • Ecological pyramids
      • Abiotic cycles
      • Data and fact tables
      • Graphs
      • Maps
      • Dichotomous Keys
      • Matrix population models
      • Demographic transition model
      • Climatogram / climatograph
      • Graphic organizers
      • Feedback loops
      • Images (e.g., illustrations, sketches, photomicrographs)
E.2J Perform calculations using dimensional analysis, significant digits, and scientific notation.

Perform

CALCULATIONS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Scientific conventions
    • Significant digits
    • Scientific notation
    • Appropriate Standard International (SI) units
  • Mathematical procedures
    • Dimensional analysis
    • Scientific notation
    • Rules for Significant Figures (Digits)
      1. Non-zero digits and zeros between non-zero digits are always significant.
      2. Leading zeros are not significant.
      3. Zeros to the right of all non-zero digits are only significant if a decimal point is shown.
      4. For values written in scientific notation, the digits in the coefficient are significant.
      5. In a common logarithm, there are as many digits after the decimal point as there are significant figures in the original number.

Note(s):

  • The STAAR Chemistry Reference Materials include the Rules for Significant Figures as listed above.
E.3 Scientific processes. The student uses critical thinking, scientific reasoning, and problem solving to make informed decisions within and outside the classroom. The student is expected to:
E.3A In all fields of science, analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing, including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.

Analyze, Evaluate, Critique

SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATIONS, IN ALL FIELDS OF SCIENCE, SO AS TO ENCOURAGE CRITICAL THINKING BY THE STUDENT

Including, but not limited to:

  • Use
    • Empirical evidence
    • Logical reasoning
    • Experimental and observational testing
  • Examine
    • All sides of scientific evidence of those explanations

Note(s):

  • Project 2061: By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that:
    • Scientific knowledge is subject to modification as new information challenges prevailing theories and as a new theory leads to looking at old observations in a new way. 1A/M2
    • Some scientific knowledge is very old and yet is still applicable today. 1A/M3
    • Scientific investigations usually involve the collection of relevant data, the use of logical reasoning, and the application of imagination in devising hypotheses and explanations to make sense of the collected data. 1B/M1b*
    • If more than one variable changes at the same time in an experiment, the outcome of the experiment may not be clearly attributable to any one variable. It may not always be possible to prevent outside variables from influencing an investigation (or even to identify all of the variables). 1B/M2ab
  • TxCCRS:
    • I. Nature of Science – A1 – Utilize skepticism, logic, and professional ethics in science.
    • I. Nature of Science – A4 – Rely on reproducible observations of empirical evidence when constructing, analyzing, and evaluating explanations of natural events and processes.
E.3C Draw inferences based on data related to promotional materials for products and services.

Draw

INFERENCES BASED ON DATA

Including, but not limited to:

  • Examine data from promotional materials described in print, on television, and on the Internet
  • Evaluate data from promotional materials for quality and accuracy
  • Evaluate completeness and reliability of information from sources
E.4 Science concepts. The student knows the relationships of biotic and abiotic factors within habitats, ecosystems, and biomes. The student is expected to:
E.4C Diagram abiotic cycles, including the rock, hydrologic, carbon, and nitrogen cycles.

Diagram

ABIOTIC CYCLES

Including, but not limited to:

  • Abiotic cycles
    • Rock
    • Hydrologic
    • Carbon
    • Nitrogen
      • Chemical forms of each element at each stage of the cycle (TxCCRS)
    • Possible additional examples include:
      • Oxygen-water
      • Sulfur
      • Phosphorus

Note(s):

  • TxCCRS Note:
    • X. Environmental Science – A1 – Recognize the Earth’s systems.
    • X. Environmental Science – A5 – Be familiar with Earth’s major biomes.
    • X. Environmental Science – A6 – Describe the Earth’s major biogeochemical cycles.
E.4D Make observations and compile data about fluctuations in abiotic cycles and evaluate the effects of abiotic factors on local ecosystems and local biomes.

Make

OBSERVATIONS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Fluctuations in abiotic cycles
    • Precipitation data
    • Temperature ranges
    • Nutrient concentrations
    • Energy

Compile

DATA

Including, but not limited to:

  • Fluctuations in abiotic cycles
    • Precipitation data
    • Temperature ranges
    • Nutrient concentrations
    • Energy

Evaluate

THE EFFECTS OF ABIOTIC FACTORS ON LOCAL ECOSYSTEMS AND LOCAL BIOMES

Including, but not limited to:

  • Impact of abiotic cycles on ecosystems and biomes
    • Where an organism can live
    • How much a population can grow
      • Limiting factors
    • Tolerance range
    • Eutrophication

Note(s):

  • TxCCRS Note:
    • VI. Biology – C2 – Recognize variations in population sizes, including extinction, and describe mechanisms and conditions that produce these variations.
    • X. Environmental Science – A1 – Recognize the Earth’s systems. 
E.4E Measure the concentration of solute, solvent, and solubility of dissolved substances such as dissolved oxygen, chlorides, and nitrates and describe their impact on an ecosystem.

Measure

THE CONCENTRATION OF SOLUTE, SOLVENT, AND SOLUBILITY OF DISSOLVED SUBSTANCES

Including, but not limited to:

  • Dissolved substances
    • Oxygen
    • Chlorides
    • Nitrates
    • Phosphates

Describe

IMPACT OF DISSOLVED SUBSTANCES ON AN ECOSYSTEM

Including, but not limited to:

  • Dissolved substances
    • Oxygen
    • Chlorides
    • Nitrates
    • Phosphates
  • Possible impacts may include
    • Condition of water
      • Eutrophication
      • Dead zones
    • Condition of soil
      • Soil salinity

Note(s):

  • TxCCRS Note:
    • X. Environmental Science – A1 – Recognize the Earth’s systems.
E.4F Predict how the introduction or removal of an invasive species may alter the food chain and affect existing populations in an ecosystem.

Predict

HOW INTRODUCTION OR REMOVAL OF AN INVASIVE SPECIES MAY ALTER THE FOOD CHAIN AND AFFECT EXISTING POPULATIONS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Introduction of invasive species
  • Impacts
    • Economic
      • Commercial
      • Agricultural
      • Recreational
    • Biodiversity
      • Prevent native species from reproducing
      • Out-compete native species for food and other resources
        • Decrease biodiversity
    • Habitat alteration
      • Threat to native wildlife
    • Food chain
      • Destroy or replace native food sources
      • Altering ecosystem conditions (e.g., soil chemistry)
  • Removal of invasive species
  • Impacts
    • Economic
      • Cost of removal
      • Cost of restoration
    • Biodiversity
      • Alteration of organisms in soil
      • Germination, growth, and establishment of native organisms
    • Alteration of food chain / web

Note(s):

  • TxCCRS Note:
    • VI. Biology – G4 – Know the process of succession.
E.4G Predict how species extinction may alter the food chain and affect existing populations in an ecosystem.

Predict

HOW SPECIES EXTINCTION MAY ALTER THE FOOD CHAIN AND AFFECT EXISTING POPULATIONS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Impact on food chain
    • Initial impact on extinct species’ predators and prey
    • Long term impact on food chain stability
    • Magnitude of impact based on species role in an ecosystem
      • Keystone species
      • Apex predator
  • Impact on existing populations
    • Possible endangerment and / or extinction of other organisms
    • Possible population growth of other organisms
E.4H Research and explain the causes of species diversity and predict changes that may occur in an ecosystem if species and genetic diversity is increased or reduced.

Research, Explain

CAUSES OF SPECIES DIVERSITY

Including, but not limited to:

  • Climate
    • Latitudinal gradients
    • Altitudinal gradients
  • Food availability
    • Productivity
  • Disturbances (e.g., glaciation)
  • Biological interactions
    • Predation
    • Competition
    • Mutualism
    • Parasitism
    • Disease

Predict

CHANGES THAT MAY OCCUR IN AN ECOSYSTEM IF SPECIES AND GENETIC DIVERSITY IS INCREASED OR REDUCED

Including, but not limited to:

  • Increases in species and genetic diversity
    • Possible changes that may occur:
      • Evolution through natural selection
      • Ecosystem stability
      • Carrying capacity
  • Decreases in species and genetic diversity
    • Possible changes that may occur:
      • Evolution through natural selection
      • Ecosystem stability
      • Carrying capacity
The English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS), as required by 19 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 74, Subchapter A, §74.4, outline English language proficiency level descriptors and student expectations for English language learners (ELLs). School districts are required to implement ELPS as an integral part of each subject in the required curriculum.

School districts shall provide instruction in the knowledge and skills of the foundation and enrichment curriculum in a manner that is linguistically accommodated commensurate with the student’s levels of English language proficiency to ensure that the student learns the knowledge and skills in the required curriculum.


School districts shall provide content-based instruction including the cross-curricular second language acquisition essential knowledge and skills in subsection (c) of the ELPS in a manner that is linguistically accommodated to help the student acquire English language proficiency.

http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter074/ch074a.html#74.4 


Choose appropriate ELPS to support instruction.

ELPS# Subsection C: Cross-curricular second language acquisition essential knowledge and skills.
Click here to collapse or expand this section.
ELPS.c.1 The ELL uses language learning strategies to develop an awareness of his or her own learning processes in all content areas. In order for the ELL to meet grade-level learning expectations across the foundation and enrichment curriculum, all instruction delivered in English must be linguistically accommodated (communicated, sequenced, and scaffolded) commensurate with the student's level of English language proficiency. The student is expected to:
ELPS.c.1A use prior knowledge and experiences to understand meanings in English
ELPS.c.1B monitor oral and written language production and employ self-corrective techniques or other resources
ELPS.c.1C use strategic learning techniques such as concept mapping, drawing, memorizing, comparing, contrasting, and reviewing to acquire basic and grade-level vocabulary
ELPS.c.1D speak using learning strategies such as requesting assistance, employing non-verbal cues, and using synonyms and circumlocution (conveying ideas by defining or describing when exact English words are not known)
ELPS.c.1E internalize new basic and academic language by using and reusing it in meaningful ways in speaking and writing activities that build concept and language attainment
ELPS.c.1F use accessible language and learn new and essential language in the process
ELPS.c.1G demonstrate an increasing ability to distinguish between formal and informal English and an increasing knowledge of when to use each one commensurate with grade-level learning expectations
ELPS.c.1H develop and expand repertoire of learning strategies such as reasoning inductively or deductively, looking for patterns in language, and analyzing sayings and expressions commensurate with grade-level learning expectations.
ELPS.c.2 The ELL listens to a variety of speakers including teachers, peers, and electronic media to gain an increasing level of comprehension of newly acquired language in all content areas. ELLs may be at the beginning, intermediate, advanced, or advanced high stage of English language acquisition in listening. In order for the ELL to meet grade-level learning expectations across the foundation and enrichment curriculum, all instruction delivered in English must be linguistically accommodated (communicated, sequenced, and scaffolded) commensurate with the student's level of English language proficiency. The student is expected to:
ELPS.c.2A distinguish sounds and intonation patterns of English with increasing ease
ELPS.c.2B recognize elements of the English sound system in newly acquired vocabulary such as long and short vowels, silent letters, and consonant clusters
ELPS.c.2C learn new language structures, expressions, and basic and academic vocabulary heard during classroom instruction and interactions
ELPS.c.2D monitor understanding of spoken language during classroom instruction and interactions and seek clarification as needed
ELPS.c.2E use visual, contextual, and linguistic support to enhance and confirm understanding of increasingly complex and elaborated spoken language
ELPS.c.2F listen to and derive meaning from a variety of media such as audio tape, video, DVD, and CD ROM to build and reinforce concept and language attainment
ELPS.c.2G understand the general meaning, main points, and important details of spoken language ranging from situations in which topics, language, and contexts are familiar to unfamiliar
ELPS.c.2H understand implicit ideas and information in increasingly complex spoken language commensurate with grade-level learning expectations
ELPS.c.2I demonstrate listening comprehension of increasingly complex spoken English by following directions, retelling or summarizing spoken messages, responding to questions and requests, collaborating with peers, and taking notes commensurate with content and grade-level needs.
ELPS.c.3 The ELL speaks in a variety of modes for a variety of purposes with an awareness of different language registers (formal/informal) using vocabulary with increasing fluency and accuracy in language arts and all content areas. ELLs may be at the beginning, intermediate, advanced, or advanced high stage of English language acquisition in speaking. In order for the ELL to meet grade-level learning expectations across the foundation and enrichment curriculum, all instruction delivered in English must be linguistically accommodated (communicated, sequenced, and scaffolded) commensurate with the student's level of English language proficiency. The student is expected to:
ELPS.c.3A practice producing sounds of newly acquired vocabulary such as long and short vowels, silent letters, and consonant clusters to pronounce English words in a manner that is increasingly comprehensible
ELPS.c.3B expand and internalize initial English vocabulary by learning and using high-frequency English words necessary for identifying and describing people, places, and objects, by retelling simple stories and basic information represented or supported by pictures, and by learning and using routine language needed for classroom communication
ELPS.c.3C speak using a variety of grammatical structures, sentence lengths, sentence types, and connecting words with increasing accuracy and ease as more English is acquired
ELPS.c.3D speak using grade-level content area vocabulary in context to internalize new English words and build academic language proficiency
ELPS.c.3E share information in cooperative learning interactions
ELPS.c.3F ask and give information ranging from using a very limited bank of high-frequency, high-need, concrete vocabulary, including key words and expressions needed for basic communication in academic and social contexts, to using abstract and content-based vocabulary during extended speaking assignments
ELPS.c.3G express opinions, ideas, and feelings ranging from communicating single words and short phrases to participating in extended discussions on a variety of social and grade-appropriate academic topics
ELPS.c.3H narrate, describe, and explain with increasing specificity and detail as more English is acquired
ELPS.c.3I adapt spoken language appropriately for formal and informal purposes
ELPS.c.3J respond orally to information presented in a wide variety of print, electronic, audio, and visual media to build and reinforce concept and language attainment.
ELPS.c.4 The ELL reads a variety of texts for a variety of purposes with an increasing level of comprehension in all content areas. ELLs may be at the beginning, intermediate, advanced, or advanced high stage of English language acquisition in reading. In order for the ELL to meet grade-level learning expectations across the foundation and enrichment curriculum, all instruction delivered in English must be linguistically accommodated (communicated, sequenced, and scaffolded) commensurate with the student's level of English language proficiency. For Kindergarten and Grade 1, certain of these student expectations apply to text read aloud for students not yet at the stage of decoding written text. The student is expected to:
ELPS.c.4A learn relationships between sounds and letters of the English language and decode (sound out) words using a combination of skills such as recognizing sound-letter relationships and identifying cognates, affixes, roots, and base words
ELPS.c.4B recognize directionality of English reading such as left to right and top to bottom
ELPS.c.4C develop basic sight vocabulary, derive meaning of environmental print, and comprehend English vocabulary and language structures used routinely in written classroom materials
ELPS.c.4D use prereading supports such as graphic organizers, illustrations, and pretaught topic-related vocabulary and other prereading activities to enhance comprehension of written text
ELPS.c.4E read linguistically accommodated content area material with a decreasing need for linguistic accommodations as more English is learned
ELPS.c.4F use visual and contextual support and support from peers and teachers to read grade-appropriate content area text, enhance and confirm understanding, and develop vocabulary, grasp of language structures, and background knowledge needed to comprehend increasingly challenging language
ELPS.c.4G demonstrate comprehension of increasingly complex English by participating in shared reading, retelling or summarizing material, responding to questions, and taking notes commensurate with content area and grade level needs
ELPS.c.4H read silently with increasing ease and comprehension for longer periods
ELPS.c.4I demonstrate English comprehension and expand reading skills by employing basic reading skills such as demonstrating understanding of supporting ideas and details in text and graphic sources, summarizing text, and distinguishing main ideas from details commensurate with content area needs
ELPS.c.4J demonstrate English comprehension and expand reading skills by employing inferential skills such as predicting, making connections between ideas, drawing inferences and conclusions from text and graphic sources, and finding supporting text evidence commensurate with content area needs
ELPS.c.4K demonstrate English comprehension and expand reading skills by employing analytical skills such as evaluating written information and performing critical analyses commensurate with content area and grade-level needs.
ELPS.c.5 The ELL writes in a variety of forms with increasing accuracy to effectively address a specific purpose and audience in all content areas. ELLs may be at the beginning, intermediate, advanced, or advanced high stage of English language acquisition in writing. In order for the ELL to meet grade-level learning expectations across foundation and enrichment curriculum, all instruction delivered in English must be linguistically accommodated (communicated, sequenced, and scaffolded) commensurate with the student's level of English language proficiency. For Kindergarten and Grade 1, certain of these student expectations do not apply until the student has reached the stage of generating original written text using a standard writing system. The student is expected to:
ELPS.c.5A learn relationships between sounds and letters of the English language to represent sounds when writing in English
ELPS.c.5B write using newly acquired basic vocabulary and content-based grade-level vocabulary
ELPS.c.5C spell familiar English words with increasing accuracy, and employ English spelling patterns and rules with increasing accuracy as more English is acquired
ELPS.c.5D edit writing for standard grammar and usage, including subject-verb agreement, pronoun agreement, and appropriate verb tenses commensurate with grade-level expectations as more English is acquired
ELPS.c.5E employ increasingly complex grammatical structures in content area writing commensurate with grade-level expectations, such as:
ELPS.c.5F write using a variety of grade-appropriate sentence lengths, patterns, and connecting words to combine phrases, clauses, and sentences in increasingly accurate ways as more English is acquired
ELPS.c.5G narrate, describe, and explain with increasing specificity and detail to fulfill content area writing needs as more English is acquired.
Last Updated 04/27/2020
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