You are on page 1of 26


Students Packet

Student Name____________________________________________ School Name____________________________________________ Teacher Name____________________________________________

December 2011 January 2012

Materials contained in this packet have been taken from the 2007 Edition of Biology: Preparing for the MARYLAND HSA by Prentice Hall

Table of Contents
Page(s) Note to Students .................................................................................................................. 1 Time Frame and Timeline for Winter Break Assignments ................................................... 2 Day 1 - 2 Inquiry Skills and Processes Content Reading, Questions and Answer Sheets........................................................... 3-10 Day 3 - 4 Biologically Important Molecules Content Reading, Questions and Answer Sheets......................................................... 11-17 Day 5 Biogeochemical Cycles Content Reading, Questions and Answer Sheets......................................................... 18-21 Science Rubric and Checklist ....................................................................................... 22-23


Note to Students
This winter break packet has been compiled to provide enrichment activities during the winter break. The information in this packet was gleaned from:
Biology: Preparing for the MARYLAND HSA by Prentice Hall and the following websites:,, and$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex789

Pace yourselves according to the timeline provided. This activity will provide you with some practice to help prepare you for the HSA in May. There are a total of 15 questions (Selected Response and Brief Constructed Responses) to be answered in 5 days. This means that you would only need to answer 3 questions per day! Enjoy your winter break!

Number of Questions Correct 15 - 14 13 - 12 11-10 9 8-0 Parents Name Parents Signature

Grading Scale Grade A B C D E


Timeframe and Timeline for Winter Break Assignments

1-2 3-4 5

Suggested Assignment Dates

December 27-28 December 29-30 December 31

Assignment to Complete
Inquiry Skills and Processes Biologically Important Molecules Biogeochemical Cycles

Page(s) Location in This Document

3-10 11-17 18-21

Timeline for Winter Break Activities

Day 1-2 3-4 5 Content/Focus Reading Passages Pages 3-7 Pages 11-15 Page 18-21 Questions to Complete 1-5 6-10 11-15

Inquiry Skills and Processes Biologically Important Molecules Biogeochemical Cycles

Note: 5 and 15 = BCR Questions

Days 1-2
Science is both a body of knowledge and a way of knowing things. In the scientific process, human thinking is applied to discovering and explaining how the world works. Science originates when people ask questions. At one time, scientific knowledge was just a collection of opinions and unrelated ideas that attempted to explain observations. For example, the hotly debated topic was whether the Earth was flat or round. Those believing that Earth was flat pointed to the fact that some ships never returned home. They offered this observation as evidence, which supported their idea as true. They believed that these ships were destroyed when they sailed over the edge of the Earth. Those who believed that the Earth was round also had evidence. They had observed boats approaching land and noticed that the tops of the sails became visible before the hull or body of the boat.

Inquiry Skills and Processes

The Scientific Process

Scientific investigation involves: observing, questioning, experimenting, collecting and organizing data, finding evidence and drawing conclusions, repeating experiments several times, and having the results repeated by others. Questioning is at the heart of science. Progress in science depends on people who not only observe and wonder how the world works but also take the time to come up with questions. These are not just any questions, but those that can be tested and answered.

Observation or Inference
Observations are made using any of the senses. Tools such as thermometers, balances, and microscopes help us extend our senses. An example would be the grass is green. Inferences are conclusions based upon observations. An example would be, you infer that a slug that remains motionless for several hours is not alive but are you sure? An Assumption is the belief that something is true. An example would be: you are doing an experiment to investigate the germination of grass seed. You might assume that 100% of the seeds will germinate, that is an assumption, because it is possible that they will not all germinate. Opinions are ideas people have that may or may not have any basis in fact; they are often biased, or influenced by an assumption that may or may not be correct. Bias can come from data. You need to remember that data can sometimes be slanted, such as, an experimented funded by the manufacturer of a new exercise machine, which supports the machines ability to help people lose weight, may be suspected of being biased. Scientific View is based upon a persons view of the world. To think scientifically, you must critically analyze events, explanations, and ideas. You should use these skills, as well as ideas from other disciplines, to develop your understanding of natural events. You should be able to create visual models and mathematical formulas to represent your thinking.

Inquiry Skills
Scientific literacy involves applying critical thinking skills to everyday life, particularly to claims related to health, technology, and advertising. For example, imagine that you are watching a television commercial, in which, an advertiser claims its company has developed a cream that makes hair grow when applied to the scalp. What follows is a way to approach investigating the claim. Inquiry involves asking questions and locating, interpreting, and processing information from a variety of sources, consider the following questions: How many people were tested? What is in the product? How long do you have to use it to get results? Does it have side effects? Have any of your friends used the product? Does the Maryland Consumer Product Information Agency have any information about the company or product? Does the company have a web page that contains more information on the product? Now ask yourself, if you are ready to use the product based upon the information that you found. You might want to find answers to more questions, such as: How many people actually took part in the study? What caused the participants to loss their hair? Did they have medical conditions? How long has the company been in business? Was the cream tested scientifically with careful experimental techniques and design? Inquiry involves making judgments about the reliability of the source and relevance of information. Scientific explanations are accepted when they are consistent with experimental and observational evidence. When you are evaluating evidence and making decisions, keep the following in mind: Each new bit of evidence can create more questions All scientific explanations are tentative. They can be than it answers. This leads to an increasingly better changed or updated as new evidence emerges. What understanding of how things work. seems true today may be disproved tomorrow. Good scientific explanations can be used to make Scientific inquiry involves the testing of proposed accurate predictions about natural phenomena. explanations using conventional techniques and procedures. A research plan involves finding background information, developing a hypothesis, and devising an experimental process for testing a hypothesis. Most research plans begin with a thorough library search. The search may include the Internet, library databases, scientific journals and feedback from the investigators peers. Inquiry involves developing and presenting proposals, including formal hypotheses, to test explanations. A good hypothesis attempts to explain what has been observed in a way that can be tested. It is a tentative answer to a question. Experiments cannot prove a hypothesis; they can only either support or fail to support the hypothesis. An example would be I think that, if hormone A is applied to plant leaves, then the plant will grow faster.

Once the background work has been done and the hypothesis developed, the actual experiment must be designed. An experiment is a series of tests that are done to support or refute (disprove) a hypothesis. What you will measure is called the dependent variable. If you want to investigate how plants will grow, you will need to measure how large the plant is in the beginning and at regular intervals until the experiment is concluded. You will need to decide how you will make measurements, what units you will use, and what part of the plant you will measure. Factors that might influence the dependent variable are independent variables. These are variables that the investigator manipulates. They are sometimes called the manipulated variable. The manipulation of the independent variables is the treatment. A controlled experiment is one in which the possible variables have been carefully considered and regulated so the results are due only to the independent variable you are testing. It consists of one or more experimental groups and a control group. The control group is used as a basis of comparison. It allows you to compare the experimental group results with the control group results to determine whether the treatment made a difference. Each experimental group is treated differently from the control group in only one way. For example, if you were placing a chemical to a plant, the control group would not have the chemical put on it. Selecting, acquiring, or the building of apparatus; considering safety precautions, and planning how to avoid bias are important factors in this stage of the research plans development. For example, large sample sizes and multiple trials are more likely to produce valid results. Experimental Design Guide Explanation The hypothesis should suggest a possible answer to the question you are investigating. What is your dependent variable? What should change and what is it that you will measure in the experiment? Make a data table to record the data that is collected. What is your independent variable? What factors will you manipulate to test your hypothesis? How will you record their effect on the dependent variable? Will there be several groups with more than on treatment, such as several pH values, colors of light, or temperature? How will you control the experiment? Are you only changing one factor at a time to see its effect? What other possible factors may vary that could also affect the results and make your experiment inconclusive? What steps will you take to conduct this experiment Make a list of procedures and materials needed to conduct the experiment. Question What is your hypothesis?

Designing an Experiment

Organizing and Using Data

In science, data generally refers to the results of trials, or tests, completed during experiments. Scientific inquiry involves the ability to use various methods of recording, representing, and organizing data.

Data Tables
A data table is an important initial stag in making sense of the information you collect while doing an experiment. The table below will be helpful when you create your data table. Data Table Checklist The table has a title that relates the independent variable to the dependent variable. For example The Effect of Fertilizer Concentration (the independent variable) on Plant Growth (the dependent variable) Column headings include the dependent and independent variables. They may also include trial or set-up numbers or other information. Column headings need to indicate units of measure. The independent variable is typically recorded in increasing order. The dependent variable is recorded to correspond with the independent variable.

Frequently, the next step is to construct a graph that allows you to see trends or patterns in your data. There are four basic types of graphs:





Graphing Rules:
1. The dependent variable is plotted on the vertical, or y-axis. 2. The independent variable is plotted on the horizontal, or x-axis 3. The spacing between the numbers on both axes must be in equal increments.

Line, bar and Histogram Graph Construction Checklist

Title your graph so that the reader knows what it is illustrating. Place the dependent variable on the vertical axis. Label the vertical axis, including units of measure. Make sure that the scale on the vertical axis is appropriate and is spaced at equal intervals. Place the independent variable on the vertical axis. Label the horizontal axis, including units of measure. Make sure that the scale on the horizontal axis is appropriate and is spaced at equal intervals. Plot points accurately Connect the data points and do not go beyond any point. Include a legend that indicates the meaning of each line if there is more than one. It serves as a key to the lines or bars on the graph.

Analyzing Results
A careful examination of the experimental results involves the ability to look at relationships between the hypothesis and the actual result. After careful considering how well the hypothesis and the actual results correspond, a conclusion can be made. A scientist needs to determine whether the hypothesis has been supported. Scientists often use statistical analysis to determine the likelihood that their results were produced by chance. A model can be used to explain the results of an experiment. For example, a model explains how DNA carries genetic code and how traits are passed from one generation to the next. One assumption of science is that other individuals could arrive at the same explanation if they had access to similar evidence. Research must be shared in a clear manner so that other scientists can repeat the investigation and get the same results. A peer review, in which several scientists examine the details of an experiment, is an important part of the scientific process. All scientific explanations are subject to change as more is learned. Scientific claims should be questioned if the data are: based on samples that are very small, biased, or inadequately controlled, or that the conclusions are based on faulty, incomplete, or misleading use of numbers, facts and opinions are intermingled, adequate evidence is not cited, conclusions do not follow logically from the evidence given.

Development of Theories
In science, a theory is a well-tested explanation that unifies a wide range of observations. A theory enables researchers to make accurate predictions when new situations arise. People often use the word theory in a very difference manner from the way that scientists do. They use it to imply that an idea is not supported by evidence. In science a theory must be supported by evidence.

Day # 1-Inquiry Skills and Processes

1. A scientist determines the number of Calories in one ounce each of protein, carbohydrate, and fat. The results are shown on the table below: Calorie Content of Substances Compound Tested Number of Calories Produced Protein 147 Fat 271 Carbohydrate 152 Which statement represents a valid conclusion based on data?

o A - An ounce of fat contains about twice as many Calories as an ounce of protein o B Protein is a better energy food than carbohydrate. o C Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins yield approximately the same amount of Calories per unit weight. o D Proteins and carbohydrates provide the most Calories per ounce.
2. Which laboratory procedure would be best for demonstrating the effect of light intensity on the [production of chlorophyll in pea plants?

o o o o

F using 10 plants of different species, each grown in the same intensity light G using 10 plants of different species, each grown in a different intensity light H using 10 plants of the same species, each grown in the same intensity light J using 10 plants of the same species, each grown in a different intensity light

3. A student hypothesized that lettuce seeds would not germinate (sprout) unless they were exposed to darkness. The student planted 10 lettuce seeds under a layer of soil and scattered 10 lettuce seeds on top of the soil. The data collected are shown in the table below. One way to prove the validity of these results would be:
The Effect of Light on Seed Germination Seed Treatment Number of Seeds Germinated Planted under soil 9 Scattered on top of soil 8

o o o o o o o o

F conclude that darkness is necessary for lettuce seed germination G conclude that light is necessary for lettuce seed germination H revise the hypothesis J repeat the experiment

4. A drug company tested a new medication before putting it on the market. Pills without medication were given to 500 test subjects in group A, and pills with medication were given to 500 subjects in group B. in the experiment, the individuals in group A served as the: F host group G dependent group H - control J - hypothesis


On a television talk show, a guest claims that people who exercise vigorously for 15 minutes or more every day are able to solve math problems more rapidly than people who do no vigorous exercise as part of their daily routine. Describe a controlled experiment that could be conducted to test this claim. State the purpose of the experiment State why the sample used should be large. Describe how the experimental group will be treated and how the control group will be treated. State the specific data to be collected during the experiment State one way to determine whether the results support the claim.


Days 3-4 Biologically Important Molecules and Cellular Organization of Living Things
Earths living environment is made up of millions and millions of diverse organisms, a wide range that includes towering redwood trees, sleek antelope, tiny bacteria, mushrooms that grow in huge circles, microscopic organisms that turn the tides red, and the students in your class. These living organisms are both similar to and different from each other. They also differ from the non-living parts of the environment. Although that difference may seem obvious, scientists have not been able to agree upon a simple definition of life. Most scientists agree that living things share certain characteristics that distinguish them from nonliving things, such as they are: organized structures made of one or more cells, that carry out various chemical reactions (metabolism) able to maintain their cellular organization throughout life using energy to maintain life to grow and develop able to maintain a fairly stable internal environment (homeostasis) able to pass heredity information to new organisms of the same species in the process of reproduction

Although living things share the characteristics of life, there are differences among many kinds of organisms. Throughout history, people have tried to bring order to all varieties of life on Earth by grouping organisms in logical ways. Organisms are grouped, or classified, on the basis of certain common characteristics and relationships they share. The science of classifying and naming organisms is called taxonomy. The classification of organisms suggests relationships among them that may result from present forms of life developing from common ancestors. The classification is based mainly on similarities of structure, but it is supplemented by other evidence of relationships, such as the fossil record, genetic makeup, life cycles, embryo development and chemical similarities. The highest category in the Linnaean system of classification is the kingdom. At this level, organisms are distinguished on the basis of cellular organization and methods of nutrition. Whether they are single or multiple celled and whether they absorb, ingest, or produce food are critical factors. Based on these types of distinctions, the biological sciences, now usually define at least five kingdoms of living things: Kingdom Monera Protista Fungi Plantae (plants) Animalia (animals) Types of Organisms bacteria, blue-green algae, and spirochetes protozoans and algae of various types funguses, molds, mushrooms, yeasts, mildews, and smuts mosses, ferns, woody and non-woody flowering plants sponges, worms, insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals

Diversity Among Living Things


Similarities Among Living Things

Living things are similar in that they rely on a variety of specific processes to maintain life. However, organisms differ in the way they carry out these processes. Some of these life processes are: obtaining nutrients from the environment and breaking them down for transport transporting materials throughout the organism breaking certain nutrients into smaller units to release the chemical energy stored in them through the process of cell respiration combining some simple substances into complex substances through the process of synthesis increasing the size or number of cells through the process of growth removing waste products from the organism through the process of excretion responding to internal and external stimuli

In unicellular (single-celled) organisms, the single cell performs all life functions. It functions independently. However, multicellular (many celled) organisms have various levels of organization within them. Individual cells may perform specific functions and also work together for the good of the entire organism. The cells become dependent on one another. Multicellular organisms have the following 5 levels of organization ranging from simplest to most complex:
LEVEL 1 - Cells Are the basic units of structure and function in living things? May serve a specific function within the organism Examples- blood cells, nerve cells, bone cells, etc.

LEVEL 2 - Tissues Made up of cells that are similar in structure and function and which work together to perform a specific activity Examples - blood, nervous, bone, etc. Humans have 4 basic tissues: connective, epithelial, muscle, and nerve.

LEVEL 3 - Organs Made up of tissues that work together to perform a specific activity Examples - heart, brain, skin, etc.

LEVEL4 - Organ Systems Groups of two or more tissues that work together to perform a specific function for the organism. Examples - circulatory system, nervous system, skeletal system, etc. The Human body has 11 organ systems - circulatory, digestive, endocrine, excretory (urinary), immune (lymphatic), integumentary, muscular, nervous, reproductive, respiratory, and skeletal.


LEVEL 5 - Organisms Entire living things that can carry out all basic life processes. Meaning they can take in materials, release energy from food, release wastes, grow, respond to the environment, and reproduce. Usually made up of organ systems, but an organism may be made up of only one cell such as bacteria or protist. Examples - bacteria, amoeba, mushroom, sunflower, human

The levels of organization in the correct order then are: cells --> tissues --> organs --> organ systems --> organisms

Chemical Compounds in Living Organisms

There are two types of compounds (substances that contain more than one type of element): 1. Organic compounds contain carbon, found in nature or organisms, may also contain H, O, or N and to a lesser extent P, S, Fe, Ca, Na, Cl, Mg, and K (relatively few elements compared to the number of elements on the periodic table). They are often very large and complex molecules. 2. Inorganic compounds anything that is not organic is inorganic. As a rule, inorganic compounds do not contain C, but there are exceptions.

Water is the most important inorganic compound! All organisms require water to survive. This is due to the fact that chemical reactions occur in water solutions. Without water, the cellular reactions cannot take place and the cell dies. Cohesion is caused by the polarity of the water molecule, which as you know is caused by the covalent bond between O and each H. Because O is stronger than H, it pulls the shared electrons closer to it, making it feel negative. The H, on the other hand will feel positive and the molecule is called a polar molecule. The polarity of the water molecules causes an attractive force between them, resulting in cohesion. Adhesion adhesion is defined as the attractive force between two different substances. Water is the best solvent because it adheres to many polar substances. Adhesion results in capillary action, which is the drawing up of water using very narrow glass tubing.



Minerals are inorganic substances essential for cellular processes. Soil Minerals Calcium (Ca) Macronutrient Plants (P) Animals (A) Human (H)

Cell wall structure component. The 5th most abundant body The primary structural bone mineral. No specific recommendation mineral. other than liming low pH soils, 5.5 or less. Some plant species reputed to Major role in thyroid function. Lack of iodine, a cause of a thyroid accumulate this element. disease, goiter. Critical for chlorophyll formation The oxygen transporter in and photosynthesis. Important red blood cells and the red in enzyme systems and color in muscles. respiration in plants. Essential for all plant growth, i.e. energy transfer. Lack of iron causes anemia and failure to produce red blood cells. Iron is also necessary for white blood cells in disease immunity responses.

Iodine (I) Micronutrient Iron (Fe) Micronutrient

Phosphorus (P) Macronutrient Potassium (K) Macronutrient Sulfur (S) Macronutrient

Present in bones, teeth and Average person eats 7 to 10 times the numerous metabolic adult requirement for P. reactions. With extreme sweating or diarrhea, potassium deficiency can occur (overuse of diuretic medications). Universally required for the enzymes that speed body chemicals reactions.

The major ion inside every living Involved in nerve impulses plant and animal cell. and muscle contraction, including the heart muscle. Absolutely essential for plant Plays a role in most body growth. Deficiency causes yield functions. Component of loss in all crops, especially DNA. canola.

Organic Molecules

A organic molecule is one that typically consists of carbon atoms in rings or long chains, where other atoms (e.g. hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen) are attached.


Carbohydrates are composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Most carbohydrates are made up of units of simple sugars called monosaccharides. Simple sugars bonded together create polysaccharides.


Lipids unlike other carbohydrates are not soluble in water. Lipids include fats. Lipids are used in living systems to store energy.

Proteins are macromolecules. They are constructed from one or more unbranched chains of amino


acids; that is, they are polymers. A typical protein contains 200300 amino acids but some are much smaller (the smallest are often called peptides) and some much larger (the largest to date is titin a protein found in skeletal and cardiac muscle; one version contains 34,350 amino acids in a single chain!). Every function in the living cell depends on proteins.

Enzymes are biological catalysts: this means that they speed up the chemical reactions in living things. Without enzymes, our guts would take weeks and weeks to digest our food, our muscles, nerves and bones would not work properly and so on - we would not be living! A catalyst is any substance which makes a chemical reaction goes faster, without itself being changed. A catalyst can be used over and over again in a chemical reaction: it does not get used up. Enzymes are very much the same except that they are easily denatured (destroyed: but do NOT use this word since the protein molecule is not broken down into amino-acids, it just loses it shape and will not work anymore) by heat. Our enzymes work best at body temperature. Our enzymes also have to have the correct pH. All enzymes are made of protein, whose building blocks are amino acids; that is why they are sensitive to heat, pH and heavy metal ions. Unlike ordinary catalysts, they are specific to one chemical reaction. An ordinary catalyst may be used for several different chemical reactions, but an enzyme only works for one specific reaction.

Vitamins are organic molecules with very important roles in the human body.


Role in Humans
Helps in healing wounds Growth of bones Clotting of blood


Day # 3-Biologically Important Molecules

6. Some large insoluble food molecules are reduced to small, soluble food molecules by the process of:

o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o

A - digestion B - excretion C - response D - growth

7. Which sequence is listed in order from simplest to most complex? F tissue -> cell -> organ system -> organ G cell -> tissue -> organ -> organ system H cell -> tissue -> organism -> organ J Organism -> tissue -> organ -> organ system

8. Living things are made mostly of these four main elements: A hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and protein B water, protein, carbohydrates, and fat C carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen D glucose, salt, mineral, and base

9. Enzyme molecules are synthesized primarily from: A amino acids B - monosaccharides C fatty acids D - phospholipids


10. The results of an experiment to determine the chemical composition of the cytoplasm of organism X are shown in the data table below:
Substance Water Proteins Lipids Carbohydrates Minerals Percent by Mass in the Cytoplasm 77 15 5 2 1

What percentage of the cytoplasm is composed of organic material?

o o o o

A - 15 B - 20 C - 22 D - 92


Day 5 Biogeochemical Cycles

There are a few types of atoms that can be a part of a plant one day, an animal the next day, and then travel downstream as a part of a rivers water the following day. These atoms can be a part of both living things like plants and animals, as well as non-living things like water, air, and even rocks. The same atoms are recycled over and over in different parts of the Earth. This type of cycle of atoms between living and nonliving things is known as a biogeochemical cycle. All of the atoms that are building blocks of living things are a part of biogeochemical cycles. The most common of these are carbon and nitrogen. The carbon cycle The nitrogen cycle Tiny atoms of carbon and nitrogen have no legs to walk, no bicycles, cars, or airplanes. Yet they can travel around the world as a part of biogeochemical cycles. So, how do these little things move around the planet? Heres an example: An atom of carbon is absorbed from the air into the ocean water where it is used by little floating plankton during photosynthesis to get the nutrition they need. There is the possibility that this little carbon atom becomes part of the planktons skeleton, or a part of the skeleton of the larger animal that eats it, and then part of a sedimentary rock when the living things die and only bones are left behind. Carbon that is a part of rocks and fossil fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas may be held away from the rest of the carbon cycle for a long time. These long-term storage places are called sinks. When fossil fuels are burned, carbon that had been underground is sent into the air as carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. The Carbon Cycle Carbon is an element. It is part of oceans, air, rocks, soil and all living things. Carbon doesnt stay in one place. It is always on the move!


Carbon moves from the atmosphere to plants. In the atmosphere, carbon is attached to oxygen in a gas called carbon dioxide (CO2). With the help of the Sun, through the process of photosynthesis, carbon dioxide is pulled from the air to make plant food in the form of sugars from carbon. Carbon moves from plants to animals. Through food chains, the carbon that is in plants moves to the animals that eat them. Animals that eat other animals get the carbon from their food too. Carbon moves from plants and animals to the ground. When plants and animals die, their bodies, wood and leaves decay bringing the carbon into the ground. Some becomes buried miles underground and will become fossil fuels in millions and millions of years. Carbon moves from living things to the atmosphere. Each time you exhale, you are releasing carbon dioxide gas (CO2) into the atmosphere. Animals and plants get rid of carbon dioxide gas through a process called respiration. Carbon moves from fossil fuels to the atmosphere when fuels are burned. When humans burn fossil fuels to power factories, power plants, cars and trucks, most of the carbon quickly enters the atmosphere as carbon dioxide gas. Each year, five and a half billion tons of carbon is released by burning fossil fuels. Thats the weight of 100 million adult African elephants! Of the huge amount of carbon that is released from fuels, 3.3 billion tons enters the atmosphere and most of the rest becomes dissolved in seawater. Carbon moves from the atmosphere to the oceans. The oceans, and other bodies of water, soak up some carbon from the atmosphere.

The Nitrogen Cycle

Nitrogen is an element. It is found in living things like plants and animals. It is also an important part of non-living things like the air above and the dirt below. Atoms of nitrogen don't just stay in one place. They move slowly between living things, dead things, the air, soil and water. These movements are called the nitrogen cycle.

Most of the nitrogen on Earth is in the atmosphere. Approximately 80% of the molecules in Earth's atmosphere are made of two nitrogen atoms bonded together (N2). All plants and animals need nitrogen to make amino acids, proteins and DNA, but the nitrogen in the atmosphere is not in a form that they can use. The molecules of nitrogen in the atmosphere can become usable for living things when they are broken apart during lightning strikes or fires, by certain types of bacteria, or by bacteria associated with bean plants.


Most plants get the nitrogen they need to grow from the soils or water in which they live. Animals get the nitrogen they need by eating plants or other animals that contain nitrogen. When organisms die, their bodies decompose bringing the nitrogen into soil on land or into ocean water. Bacteria alter the nitrogen into a form that plants are able to use. Other types of bacteria are able to change nitrogen dissolved in waterways into a form that allows it to return to the atmosphere. Certain actions of humans are causing changes to the nitrogen cycle and the amount of nitrogen that is stored in the land, water, air, and organisms. The use of nitrogen-rich fertilizers can add too much nitrogen in nearby waterways as the fertilizer washes into streams and ponds. The waste associated with livestock farming also adds large amounts of nitrogen into soil and water. The increased nitrate levels cause plants to grow rapidly until they use up the supply and die. The number of plant-eating animals will increase when the plant supply increases and then the animals are left without any food when the plants die.

11. Which of these would lead to an increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?

o o o o o o o o

A decrease in animal respiration B decrease in plant respiration C an increase in photosynthesis D an increase in auto and factory emissions

12. Which activity occurs during the process of photosynthesis? A The suns energy from organic molecules is converted into light energy. B Organic molecules are absorbed from the environment. C Organic molecules are converted into organic food molecules. D Carbon dioxide is taken in by plants to make sugars from carbon

13. Nitrogen compounds are a part of all organisms. What happens to the nitrogen in an organism after it dies?

o o o o

A- It is destroyed by decomposition. B - It is recycled and used by other organisms C It remains trapped in the organisms tissues D It is all used up by the time the organism dies


14. All living things need nitrogen. The nitrogen gas in Earths atmosphere must be changed into ammonia before most living things can use it. Which of these organisms can change nitrogen gas into ammonia?

o o o o

F mold G - bacteria H yeast J- moss

BCR Explain what is the Carbon Cycle and why is it called a cycle? Explain four moves that occur in this cycle. Explain the importance of this cycle to organisms? Explain the human impact and effects on this cycle when fossil fuels are burnt.


Science Rubric
Level 4 There is evidence in this response that the student has a full and complete understanding of the question or problem.

Pertinent and complete supporting details demonstrate an integration of ideas. The use of accurate scientific terminology enhances the response. An effective application of the concept to a practical problem or real-world situation reveals an insight into scientific principles.* The response reflects a complete synthesis of information.

Level 3 There is evidence in this response that the student has a good understanding of the question or problem.

The supporting details are generally complete. The use of accurate scientific terminology strengthens the response. The concept has been applied to a practical problem or real-world situation.* The response reflects some synthesis of information.

Level 2 There is evidence in this response that the student has a basic understanding of the question or problem.

The supporting details are adequate. The use of accurate scientific terminology may be present in the response. The application of the concept to a practical problem or real-world situation is inadequate.* The response provides little or no synthesis of information.

Level 1 There is evidence in this response that the student has some understanding of the question or problem.

The supporting details are only minimally effective. The use of accurate scientific terminology is not present in the response. The application, if attempted, is irrelevant.* The response addresses the question.

Level 0 There is evidence that the student has no understanding of the question or problem.

The response is completely incorrect or irrelevant or there is no response.

* On the High School Assessment, the application of a concept to a practical problem or real-world situation will be scored when it is required in the response and requested in the item stem. Updated 2002 taken from


Students Constructed Response Checklist

Read the question to determine its general topic. Read the question again to clearly understand each part of the question you must answer. Outline the different elements of the correct responses. On a piece of scrap paper, write down: the main idea or concept behind the question scientific terms that are appropriate to the question data and other information from activities you completed in the classroom or laboratory that are related to the question

Write your responses, using all the appropriate information required to answer the question thoroughly. Read your response to make sure that it is clear and understandable. Revise your response, if necessary.