Grade 8 Unit B: Curriculum Links | Print |

Unit B: Cells and Systems
(Nature of Science emphasis)

Living things take a variety of forms as reflected in their structures, internal processes and ways of responding to their environments. Finding pattern within this diversity has been a major challenge for the biological sciences, and has led to development of ideas such as systems, cells, structures andfi~nctions-ideas developed from the study of all living things. Using these ideas, students learn to interpret life at a variety of levels, from individual cells to complex organisms. To develop their understanding, students investigate ways that components of a living system work together, and through these studies learn that healthy organisms~including healthy humans-function as balanced Systems within a life-supporting environment.

Focusing Questions:

How can we make sense of the vast diversity of living things?

What do living things have in common-from the smallest to the largest-and what variations do we find in their structure and function?

Key Concepts

  • organisms
  • structure and function
  • cells
  • systems
  • organs
  • response to stimuli
  • tissues
  • health and environmental factors

STS and Knowledge Outcomes
Students will: Investigate living things, and identify and apply scientific ideas used to interpret their general structure, function and organization
investigate and describe example scientific studies of the characteristics of living things (e.g., investigate and describe an ongoing scientific study of a locally-found organism)
apply the concept of system in describing familiar organisms and analyzing their general
structure and function
illustrate and explain how different organisms have similar functions that are met in a variety of ways (e.g., recognize food-gathering as a common function of animals, and note a variety of food-gathering structures)

Students will:
Investigate and describe the role of the cells within living things
describe the role of cells as a basic unit of life
analyze similarities and differences between one-celled and multicelled organisms (e.g., compare in general terms an amoeba and a grizzly bear a single celled alga and a poplar tree)
distinguish between plant and animal cells (e.g., distinguish between cell walls and cell

describe the movement of gases and liquids into and out of cells during diffusion and osmosis based on concentration differences

[Note: this outcome requires a general understanding of processes,
not a detailed analysis of mechanisms.]

examine plant and animal structures and identify contributing roles of cells, tissues and organs

Students will:
Interpret the healthy function of human body systems, and illustrate ways the body reacts to internal and external stimuli
describe, in general terms, body systems for respiration, circulation, digestion, excretion and sensory awareness (e.g., describe how blood is circulated throughout the body to carry oxygen and nutrients to the body's various tissues and organs)
describe, in general terms, the role of individual organs and tissues in supporting the healthy functioning of the human body (e.g., the role of lungs in exchanging oxygen and carbon-dioxide; the role of bronchia in providing a passage way for air)
describe ways in which various types of cells contribute to the healthy functioning of the human body (e.g., describe the roles of individual cells in nerves, muscle, blood, skin and bone)
describe changes in body functions in response to changing conditions (e.g., changes in heart rate in response to exercise, change in metabolism in response to lower temperature or reflex responses to stimuli)

Students will:
Describe areas of scientific investigation leading to new knowledge about body systems, and to new medical applications
identify examples of research into functions and dysfunctions of human cells, organs or body systems
describe ways in which research about cells, organs and systems has brought about
improvements in human health and nutrition (e.g., development of medicines, immunization
procedures, and diets based on the needs of organs such as the heart)
investigate and describe factors that affect the healthy function of the human respiratory,
circulatory and digestive systems (e.g., investigate the effect of illness, aging or air quality on the function of the respiratory system)