School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Science, Grade 8




State Curriculum Toolkit

Tools aligned to State Curriculum indicators and/or objectives.

  • Clarification of Indicator and/or Objective
    Explanation and/or examples of indicator and/or objective
  • Introduction for Standard or Indicator
  • Lesson Seeds
    Ideas/seeds for an objective-aligned activity
  • 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.



  • 1. Recognize and describe that evolutionary change in species over time occurs as a result of natural variation in organisms and environmental changes.
  1. Recognize and describe that gradual (climatic) and sudden (floods and fires) changes in environmental conditions affect the survival of organisms and populations.
  2. Recognize that adaptations may include variations in structures, behaviors, or physiology, such as spiny leaves on a cactus, birdcalls, and antibiotic resistant bacteria.
  3. Recognize and describe that adaptation and speciation involve the selection of natural variations in a population.
  4. Recognize and describe that extinction occurs when the adaptive traits of a population do not support its survival.
  5. Recognize that evolution accounts for the diversity of species.

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