School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Science, Grade 7




State Curriculum Toolkit

Tools aligned to State Curriculum indicators and/or objectives.

  • Introduction for Standard or Indicator
  • Public Release Items
    Actual MSA items and annotated student responses as appropriate

Standard 3.0 Life Science

The students will use scientific skills and processes to explain the dynamic nature of living things, their interactions, and the results from the interactions that occur over time.


A. Diversity of Life


  • 1. Compile evidence to verify the claim of biologists that the features of organisms connect or differentiate them-these include external and internal structures (features) and processes.
  1. Provide examples and explain that organisms sorted into groups share similarities in external structures as well as similarities in internal anatomical structures and processes which can be used to infer the degree of relatedness among organisms
    • Vascular - non vascular plants
    • Closed - open circulatory systems
    • Asexual - sexual reproduction
    • Respiration (lungs-gills-skin)
    • Digestion
  2. Identify general distinctions among organisms that support classifying some things as plants, some as animals, and some that do not fit neatly into either group.
  3. Use analogies, models, or drawings to represent that animals and plants have a great variety of body plans and internal structures that define the way they live, grow, survive, and reproduce.


B. Cells


  • 1. Gather and organize data to defend or argue the proposition that all living things are cellular (composed of cells) and that cells carry out the basic life functions.
  1. Use microscopes or other magnifying instruments to observe, describe, and compare the cellular composition of different body tissues and organs in a variety of organisms (animals and plants).
  2. Based on data from readings and designed investigations, cite evidence to illustrate that the life functions of multicellular organisms (plant and animal) are carried out within complex systems of different tissues, organs and cells.
    • Extracting energy from food
    • Getting rid of wastes
    • Making raw materials
  3. Based on research and examples from video technology explain that the repeated division of cells enables organisms to grow and make repairs.
  4. Collect data from investigations using single celled organisms, such as yeast or algae to explain that a single cell carries out all the basic life functions of a multicellular organism.
    • Reproducing
    • Extracting energy from food
    • Getting rid of wastes
  5. Based on data compiled from a number of lessons completed, take and defend a position on the statement "The way in which cells function is the same in all organisms."


  1. Describe and explain that the complex set of systems found in multicellular organisms are made up of different kinds of tissues and organs which are themselves composed of differentiated cells.
  2. Select several body systems and explain the role of cells, tissues and organs that effectively carry out a vital function for the organism, such as
    • Obtaining food and providing energy (digestive, circulatory, respiratory)
    • Defense (nervous, endocrine, circulatory, muscular, skeletal, immune)
    • Reproduction (reproductive, endocrine, circulatory)
    • Waste removal (excretory, respiratory, circulatory)
    • Breathing (respiratory, circulatory)
  3. Develop a response that explains the meaning of the statement, "The specialization of cells serves the operation of the organs, and the organs serve the needs of the cells."
  4. Investigate ways in which the various organs and tissues function to serve the needs of cells for food, air, and waste removal.


C. Genetics


  • 1. Explain the ways that genetic information is passed from parent to offspring in different organisms.
  1. Investigate and explain that in some kinds of organisms, all the genes come from a single parent, whereas in organisms that have sexes, typically half of the genes come from each parent.
  2. Investigate and explain that in sexual reproduction, a single specialized cell from a female (egg) merges with a specialized cell from a male (sperm) and the fertilized egg now has genetic information from each parent, that multiplies to form the complete organism composed of about a trillion cells, each of which contains the same genetic information.
  3. Investigate organisms that reproduce asexually to identify what traits they receive from the parent.
  4. Use information about how the transfer of traits from parent or parents to offspring occurs, to explain how selective breeding for particular traits has resulted in new varieties of cultivated plants and domestic animals.
  5. Identify evidence to support the idea that there is greater variation among offspring of organisms that reproduce sexually than among those that reproduce asexually.


E. Flow of Matter and Energy


  • 1. Explain that the transfer and transformation of matter and energy links organisms to one another and to their physical setting.
  1. Cite evidence from research and observations that food provides molecules that serve as fuel and building materials for all organisms.
  2. Cite evidence from research and observations that organisms that eat plants or animals break down what they have consumed (food) to produce the materials and energy they need to survive or store for later use.
  3. Investigate and describe the processes that enable plants to use the energy from light to make sugars (food) from carbon dioxide and water.
  4. Provide evidence from research to explain how plants can use the food they make immediately for fuel or stored for later use.
  5. Ask and seek answers to questions about the fact that transfer of matter between organisms continues indefinitely because organisms are decomposed after death to return food materials to the environment.
  6. Provide evidence that supports the premise "In the flow of matter system the total amount of matter remains constant even though its form and location change."
    • Carbon cycle
    • Nitrogen cycle
    • Food chains and food webs

Note: Highlighting identifies assessment limits. All highlighted Indicators will be tested on the Grades 5 and 8 MSA. The highlighted Objectives under each highlighted Indicator identify the limit to which MSA items can be written. Although all content standards are tested on MSA, not all Indicators and Objectives are tested. Objectives that are not highlighted will not be tested on MSA, however are an integral part of Instruction.

January 2008