The Science of Sustainability

 

The Grade Seven Science Education Collection has been created to help educators find the best QUEST resources for the classroom.  For each of the grade-level California Science Content Standards (listed below), you will find three sections: a list of all of the resources that are referenced for that standard, information about what students should already know about the content standard and what possible misconceptions they might hold, and a suggested sequence for using the various resources.  Each resource has a reference to the applicable substandard(s).

Standard 1, Cell Biology

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

Stem Cell Gold Rush(video)
Science on the SPOT: Albino Redwoods, Ghosts of the Forest(video)
Those Marvelous Mitochondria, (blog)
Traveling DNA (blog)
Born Too Soon: Preterm Births on the Rise (video)

Additional Resources

Microscope Imaging Station Gallery, Exploratorium (video/images)
Cell Differentiation, PBS LearningMedia (video)
Exploratorium, Traits of Life, Exploratorium (video/web interactive)
Exploratorium, Stem Cells: Cells with Potential, Exploratorium (video/web interactive)

Background

  • Students should already be familiar with the idea that all living things are made up of small parts called cells and that cells work together in various organs and tissues in multi-cellular organisms.
  • Teachers should be aware that many students harbor misconceptions around the difference between cells and atoms.  To help combat this misconception, teachers can show images of cells and repeatedly make the distinction that all living things are composed of cells, while ALL things (including cells and their components) are made of atoms.

 

Sequence of Use

In order to focus students on the utility of cells, students should watch the QUEST video Stem Cell Gold Rush. This resource gives students a context for cells and the ability of stem cells to reproduce and differentiate over time (1a,c,e,f).  To establish some of the functions of mitochondria and chloroplasts, teachers may want to read and/or have students read two blog posts – Those Marvelous Mitochondria and Traveling DNA (1b,d). The video Science on the SPOT: Albino Redwoods, Ghosts of the Forest illustrates the importance of the nucleus and DNA (this time in plants!) and will help give context to the standards in Genetics and Evolution (1c,d).  Finally, to illustrate the importance of cell division and differentiation, view the QUEST videos Stem Cell Gold Rush and Born Too Soon: Preterm Births on the Rise (1f).  This last video helps to explain how different tissues develop at different times as cells differentiate to form the various organs of the human body.

Additional resources from the Exploratorium such as Traits of Life are helpful throughout this group of standards – especially for stem cells, differentiation and the differences between plant and animal cells.  The video Cell Differentiation from PBS LearningMedia is great for providing images and descriptions to help students understand cell differentiation.

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 2, Genetics

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

Science on the SPOT: Albino Redwoods, Ghosts of the Forest(video)
Decoding Synthetic Biology(video)
Chasing Beetles, Finding Darwin(video)
A Long and Winding DNA (blog)
Autism: Searching for Causes (video)
Redheads are here to stay (blog)

Additional Resources

The Reproductive Role of FlowersPBS LearningMedia (video)
Reproduction, PBS LearningMedia (video/lesson plan/web interactive)

Background

  • Students should recognize that offspring generally look like their parents and that the reason for this is the shared DNA from parent to child.
  • Teachers should be sensitive that students may have a very incomplete idea about how reproduction happens and what genes actually control in organisms.  Also, students have persistent problems understanding that DNA and chromosomes refer to the same material, but in different states (like the difference between individual threads and a woven braid of these threads).

 

Sequence of Use

In understanding genetics, teachers may want to start by reviewing the material about DNA and the nucleus from two QUEST videos: Science on the SPOT: Albino Redwoods, Ghosts of the Forest* and Stem Cell Gold Rush. In continuing this discussion about genetics, the blog, Redheads are here to stay will help establish a baseline understanding of genes and genes’ control over physical traits (2b,c,d).  Additional QUEST videos that to help build an understanding of genes are Autism: Searching for Causes (2c), which helps to illustrate that many different genes contribute to different traits, as well as Decoding Synthetic Biology (2d,e), which illustrates our knowledge of genes and how they work together to create the proteins/traits that we see in the lab and in nature.  The QUEST video Chasing Beetles, Finding Darwin (2e) shows how scientists use DNA analysis and Darwinian reasoning to make predictions and gather evidence in science. Finally, teachers may want students to read the QUEST blog, A Long and Winding DNA, in order to review some of the big ideas about DNA (2e).

The PBS LearningMedia collection on Reproduction includes a variety of resources for this standard (2a,b,d) and the video The Reproductive Role of Flowers illustrates the importance of flowers for the reproduction of plants (2a,b,c).

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 3, Evolution

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

Science on the SPOT: Cal Academy Butterfly Collection (video)
Decoding Synthetic Biology(video)
Web Extra: Synthetic Biology Extended Interview(video)
Disappearing Frogs (video)
Bio-Inspiration: Nature as Muse(video)
Chasing Beetles, Finding Darwin(video)

Background

  • Students should be familiar with the term evolution.  Students should be given an opportunity to share what they know and what questions they have about evolution.
  • Teachers need to be aware of the challenges that may crop up in teaching about evolution.  The UC Museum of Paleontology's Understanding Evolution website is a great resource for enriching teachers' own content knowledge on evolution.

 

Sequence of Use

There are a variety of QUEST resources to use in teaching about evolution.  If students have not already watched the QUEST video Chasing Beetles, Finding Darwin, now would be a good time to do so (3a,b,c,d,e). This video highlights Darwinian thought in making predictions about various types of organisms.  Additionally, teachers may want students to watch, or re-watch, the QUEST video Decoding Synthetic Biology. This resource explains how a combination of genes can control the creation of proteins/traits (3a,d).  Additionally, the QUEST video Web Extra: Synthetic Biology Extended Interview explains the advantages of genetic variety and how different organisms are related through similarities and/or differences in their DNA (3a,d).  Science on the SPOT: Cal Academy Butterfly Collection illustrates some clear differences resulting from the variety of genes within a species (3a,c), while Bio-Inspiration: Nature as Muse, provides some examples of evolutionary successes that scientists are trying to emulate and improve upon (3b).  The QUEST video Disappearing Frogs helps to explain what kinds of things might happen to bring on the extinction of a species based on changes in the environment that outpace the solutions that can be generated naturally through natural selection (3a,e).

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 4, Earth and Life History (Earth Sciences)

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

Ice Age Bay Area(video)
Web Extra: Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve (video)
Asteroid Hunters(video)

Additional Resources

Understanding Geologic Time, UC Museum of Paleontology (interactive website)
Geology: Plate Tectonics, UC Museum of Paleontology (interactive website)

Background

  • Students should already be familiar with how various processes affect the rocks on Earth and move them from one place to another.  Students should also already know that soil is made up of non-living pieces of rocks and living things, and that both the living and non-living Earth has changed over time.
  • Teachers should be aware of the challenges that students have in understanding geologic time.  The concept of geologic time may need to be taught many different times in various ways. Additionally, students may be very unclear about how radioactive dating works. Once again, different methods and examples may be necessary to build an understanding of how this process works.

Sequence of Use

In teaching about the Earth and the history of life on Earth, QUEST has many helpful resources.  The QUEST video, Ice Age Bay Area demonstrates how California environments have changed over time and how we have evidence of this through fossils and other clues in our rocks (4a,e,g).  Other evidence for geologic changes in our area is provided in Web Extra: Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve. This video shows evidence of volcanic activity in the Bay Area–part of the system of volcanoes that exists throughout California (4b). The video Asteroid Hunters shows how asteroids have affected the Earth in the past and discusses about how we might avoid such events in the future (4b,g).

Additional resources on Earth’s history can be found at the UC Museum of Paleontology website – specifically, Understanding Geologic Time and Geology: Plate Tectonics.

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 5, Structure and Function in Living Systems

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

Stem Cell Gold Rush(video)
Hepatitis C-The Silent Epidemic(video)
Born Too Soon: Preterm Births on the Rise (video)
Plant Plague: Sudden Oak Death(video)
Journey into Darkness (video)

Additional Resources

The Secret Life of Flowers, Exploratorium (interactive website)

Background

  • Students should already be familiar with the fact that living things are made up of cells and that not all cells look the same. Students should know that our bodies are composed of interconnected systems that function together.  Students should also be aware that offspring look like their parents and much of this likeness is inherited through the way that we reproduce.
  • Teachers should be aware that not all students connect life with cells; many students confuse cells and atoms in relation to living things.

Sequence of Use

In teaching about the structure and function of living systems, teachers may want students to watch, or re-watch, the QUEST video Stem Cell Gold Rush (5a).  This QUEST resource helps to establish how cells differentiate into the different tissues that compose our bodies.  The QUEST video Born Too Soon: Preterm Births on the Rise illustrates that different organs need different amounts of time to become fully developed and that if any organ is not fully developed, the organism will have challenges surviving (5a,b).  By watching Hepatitis C-The Silent Epidemic, teachers can connect the functioning of organs and systems to human health–with the malfunction of just one organ/tissue, humans can have a difficult time surviving (5b).  Plant Plague: Sudden Oak Death helps illustrate different tissues in plants and how plants are subject to the same kinds of epidemics as humans (5a).  Finally, a portion of the video Journey into Darkness describes one way that our vision can be compromised due to the degradation of the structures that allow for humans to see.

For more information about the functioning of plants, visit the Exploratorium resource, The Secret Life of Flowers.

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 6, Physical Principles in Living Systems (Physical Sciences)

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

The Planet Hunters(video)
The Worlds Most Powerful Microscope(video)
Science on the SPOT: Color By Nano – The Art of Kate Nichols (video)
Amateur Astronomers(video)

Background

  • Students should already be familiar with light as a form of energy that tends to travel in straight lines and that can be reflected, absorbed, passed through, or redirected.  Additionally, students should already know that the brain is involved with directing the body and that one body system can affect another body system.
  • Teachers should be aware that most students think of light as only the spectrum of light that we can see – not including the rest of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Sequence of Use

In teaching about the physical principles in living systems, the main focus is on light and how humans perceive and use light.  By starting with the QUEST video, Science on the SPOT: Color By Nano – The Art of Kate Nichols (6b,e), students will learn about color and the distinctions between pigment and structural colors (teachers can make the point that eye color is due to the brown pigment melanin, but that blue eyes are due to the structural effects of melanin in blue-eyed people).  Building on students’ understanding of light, teachers can then present the QUEST video, The Planet Hunters (6a,d,f).  This resource illustrates how light is used to locate extra-solar planets.  Amateur Astronomers is another QUEST video that illustrates how telescopes work with simple lenses (6c,f), and the QUEST video, The Worlds Most Powerful Microscope, illustrates how the same kinds of lenses help us to enlarge even the smallest bits of matter (6d,f).

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.