Biology curriculum middle school - National Park Service

´╗┐Life Science

A curriculum and activity guide for Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Middle School Biology

Life Science

Biology Curriculum

I. Introduction .............................................................................................................. 1

II. Curriculum unit overview and activities

A. Characteristics of Life........................................................................................ 2

1. Wiggly Jiggly Cells? An introductory activity that allows students to build 3D cell models in order to have a concrete example of this concept. ................... 3

2. What Makes You Tick? Teaching portion of the unit focusing on the characteristics of plant and animal cells. ......................................................... 6

3. Here's Looking at You The lab portion of the unit where students collect and observe plant and animals cells under a microscope. ............................ 12

4. What do You Really Look Like? A hands on activity that enhances the 3D characteristics of plant and animal cells. ....................................................... 17

B. Plant Life ........................................................................................................... 24

1. Structurally Sound Discuss and identify the basic parts and functions of plants, leaves, and flowers........................................................................... 25

2. Don't Leaf Out Photosynthesis Activity designed to increase the student awareness of photosynthesis and transpiration. .......................................... 35

3. Am I Leaking? Hands-on activity allowing students to witness the gas exchange in the atmosphere associated with the process of transpiration. . 38

4. One Tough Dude Activity designed to help students understand the plant adaptations needed to survive in the Chihuahuan Desert............................ 43

5. To Be or Not to Be Activity designed to witness the plant adaptation of asexual reproduction, identify plants in the Chihuahuan Desert that reproduce asexually..................................................................................... 49

6. Which is Which? An activity designed to differentiate between deciduous and coniferous trees through hands-on activities......................................... 55

7. Where in the World An activity to help students understand the importance of plants in the economy. ............................................................................. 60

C. Animal Life ........................................................................................................ 64

1. The Taxonomic Shuffle

a. Sorting out Species Activity designed to help students establish a criteria to separate items into groups. ...................................................... 65

b. All in the Family Activity design to help students understand how scientists classify animals. ....................................................................... 72

2. Desert Animal Adaptations

a. Why Do We Look the Way We Do? Activity to provide students with hands-on exploration of animal adaptations, specifically the different beaks and feet of common birds.............................................................. 76

b. Help! I'm Dehydrating activity designed to increase the students' understanding of how desert animals conserve water. ........................... 84

c. Designer Animal Adaptations Research of desert animal adaptations in order to discover how animals are designed to survive in the harsh desert climate. .................................................................................................... 88

d. Animals That Live in the Dark Activity to help students understand the characteristics of different cave animal adaptations. ............................... 92

e. Build an Animal Students design a hypothetical desert animal and classify it into its proper group. ................................................................ 97

3. Nature Detective A day hike anywhere (Rattlesnake Springs, Carlsbad Caverns Nature Trail, school grounds, are all options) allowing students to observe and investigate plants and animals in the environment. ................ 102

4. Build a Desert Diorama Students will design a diorama to show desert animals in their natural habitat. ................................................................... 106

III. Benchmarks and Standards............................................................................. 109

IV. Glossary............................................................................................................. 116

V. Resources.......................................................................................................... 121

Introduction

This curriculum guide was developed for middle school teachers to be used as a resource aid in the classroom. While it was designed as a project sponsored by Carlsbad Caverns National Park and written by local area teachers from the Carlsbad School District, Carlsbad, New Mexico, the information is applicable anywhere in the country. The curriculum guide follows a format that is intended to be user-friendly and resource-rich: a unit overview provides general information concerning the specific topic and follow-up activities supplement the lesson. Content standards and benchmarks (specific to New Mexico), a glossary, and additional resources are also provided. The education office at Carlsbad Caverns National Park hopes you find this curriculum guide useful and beneficial. For additional information concerning other curriculum materials, contact the Education Specialist, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, 3225 National Parks Highway, Carlsbad, New Mexico 88220.

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Characteristics of Life

In order to gain a basic understanding of all living things scientists must first understand the cellular structure of living organisms. All living things (plants, animals, and bacteria) are made up of cells. Living cells are divided into two basic types: prokaryotic and eukaryotic. The cells studied in this unit are eukaryotic. The eukaryotic cells of higher plants and animals are highly structured. These cells have developed internal organelles that help them survive. In addition, there is mention of on-going microbial research in Lechuguilla Cave in the Carlsbad Caverns National Park. This unit focuses on the similarities and differences in plant and animal cells. In the first activity, students create 3D cell models in order to have a concrete example of this concept. The second activity is the teaching portion of the unit that focuses on the characteristics of plant and animal cells. The third activity is the lab portion of the unit where students collect and observe plant and animal cells under a microscope. The last activity is a hands-on activity that enhances the 3D characteristics of plant and animal cells.

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