FOSS Module Summary

Course Summary – Heredity and Adaptations

Single-celled archaea that live in incredibly saline pools, an extravagantly feathered bird that courts a mate with song and dance, a fungus that covers over a square mile of forest, nudibranchs that glide along the seafloor, a leopard seal that shoots through Antarctic waters in pursuit of a penguin. Life on Earth is a dizzying array of diversity. Yet all life, no matter the diversity, shares common characteristics. All life is cellular, depending upon cellular processes for survival. And all life shares a genetic organization based on DNA and RNA.

This course begins to explore the anchor phenomenon of the biodiversity that exists on Earth. The driving question for this course is how can we explain the diversity of life that has lived on Earth? Single-celled archaea that live in incredibly saline pools, an extravagantly feathered bird that courts a mate with song and dance, a fungus that covers over a square mile of forest, nudibranchs that glide along the seafloor, a leopard seal that shoots through Antarctic waters in pursuit of a penguin. Life on Earth is a dizzying array of diversity. Yet all life, no matter the diversity, shares common characteristics. All life is cellular, depending upon cellular processes for survival. And all life shares a genetic organization based on DNA and RNA.

The theory of evolution is the unifying principle that explains both the similarity and diversity of life. Evolution forms the foundation of modern biology and is supported by a vast array of observable evidence. Middle school students are ready to explore the varied lines of evidence, including the fossil record, the similarities between past and present organisms, the genetic principles of inheritance, and how natural selection produces adaptations that lead to changes in species and eventually the creation of new species.

FOSS Heredity and Adaptation is a stand-alone 6-week course.

For a description of each investigation in Heredity and Adaptation and correlations to the Next Generation Science Standards, download the Heredity and Adaptation Course Overview PDF.

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