Level 4

Alaska Science
Key Element A12

A student who meets the content standard should distinguish the patterns of similarity and differences in the living world in order to understand the diversity of life and understand the theories that describe the importance of diversity for species and ecosystems (Diversity).

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Performance Standard Level 4, Ages 15–18

Students describe how diversity and genetic variability influence a species’ survival rate under changing environmental conditions.

Sample Assessment Ideas

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Sample Assessment Ideas

  • Students closely study the features of at least five samples of a local species harvested in season (for example, five seals); identify similarities and differences.

  • Students explain why diversity is important for the health of ecosystems.

Expanded Sample Assessment Idea

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Expanded Sample Assessment Idea

  • Students compare algae and land plants; identify divergence as well as similarity; discuss the effect that adaptation has had on plant diversification and survival.


Students will:

  1. Investigate energy production in algae and land plants.

  2. Use microscopes to compare the structures of both plants; draw and label diagrams of the structures, and identify the location of energy production.

  3. Classify algae and land plants according to their structures and energy production.

  4. Identify environmental needs of algae and plants including different structures and energy production.

  5. Make an oral presentation to the class.

  6. As a group, discuss various algae species including classification, cellular- and structural-adaptations; discuss various land plant species including classification (monocot vs. dicot, gymnosperm vs. angiosperm), cellular and structural-adaptations; discuss energy harnessing in algae vs. land plants.

Reflection and Revision

What specific structures must be observed to study energy productions? Describe the biochemical, cellular, and structural adaptations of several algae and land plant species.


Levels of Performance

Stage 4
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Student work is complete, and shows evidence of logical reasoning. Diagrams are detailed, correctly identify classification schemes for both algae and land plants, and include detailed comparisons of cellular and structural adaptations in both land and aquatic plants.
Stage 3
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Student work shows evidence of logical reasoning but may contain minor errors or omissions. Diagrams correctly identify a classification scheme for both algae and land plants, and compare some cellular or structural adaptations.
Stage 2
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Student work may be incomplete, incorrect, and may contain errors of science fact and reasoning. Diagrams correctly identify algae and land plants and develop a simple classification scheme.
Stage 1
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Student work is largely incomplete, incorrect, or contains evidence of misconceptions related to plants, plant classification, and plant adaptation.
Standards Cross-Reference gold rule

Standards Cross-References
( Alaska Department of Education & Early Development Standards

National Science Education Standards

The great diversity of organisms is the result of more than 3.5 billion years of evolution which has filled every available niche with life forms. (Page 185)

Biological classifications are based on how organisms are related. Organisms are classified into a hierarchy of groups and subgroups based on similarities that reflect their evolutionary relationships. Species is the most fundamental unit of classification. (Page 185)



The variation of organisms within a species increases the likelihood that at least some members of the species will survive under changed environmental conditions, and a great diversity of species increases the chance that at least some living things will survive in the face of large changes in the environment. (Page 105)

The degree of kinship between organisms or species can be estimated from the similarity of their DNA sequences, which often closely matches their classification which is based on anatomical similarities. (Page 105)

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