Biology Unit 2: The Stuff of Which life is Made


  • Learn to curate and utilize resources for learning about and investigating life.

Course Essential Questions

  • What should everyone know about life and living things?
  • Why is this learning important?

Unit Essential Question

  • How do the same atoms (C, H, O,, N, P, S) make up nearly all of the structures that make up all living things?


  • Atoms bond in many different patterns to form the molecules of life.

Students will know....

  • Terms:
    • electron, proton, neutron, nucleus, valence electron
    • ionic, covalent, hydrogen bond; polarity
  • Properties of water that result from hydrogen bonding - surface tension, specific heat capacity, cohesion/adhesion, density of ice as compared to water
  • how ions form, and how to tell what ion will form by using the periodic table

Students will be able to....

  • draw a model of common atoms, including valence electrons
  • explain how electrons are gained or lost or shared to form ionic or covalent bonds
  • explain why carbon is the backbone of so many kinds of molecules


Links and Resources

Daily Learning Activities

Day 7


The structure of the atom:

  • Build models of atoms on paper
  • Model transfer and sharing of electrons
  • Find patterns in valence electrons of elements in their arrangement on the periodic table
  • Identify ionic (metal-nonmetal) and covalent bonds (nonmetals) and explain the differences

Day 8


Water Olympics: investigate the properties of water due to its polarity and hydrogen bonding.

  • surface tension
  • cohesion and adhesion
  • high specific heat capacity
  • density as a liquid and as a solid

Day 9


Biological Molecules - what are they? How are they alike? How are they different?

  • Basic organic chemistry
  • Find patterns in molecular structures and describe them
  • Explain how the structure of each type of biomolecule impacts its function: that's why functional groups are called functional groups...

Day 10


Tree planting day!
Day 11

Biomolecule Structure and Function

  • Proficiency
  • Preparation for Organic Molecules in Foods Lab: Observe test techniques and planthe investigation


Day 12  

Next Generation Science Standards:

LS1-6 Construct and revise an explanation based on evidence for how carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen from sugar molecules may combine with other elements to form amino aids and/or other large carbon-based molecules.

LS1.C.2 The sugar molecules thus formed contain carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, their hydrocarbon backbones are used to make amino acids and other carbon-based molecules that can be assembled into larger molecules (such as proteins of DNA) used to form new cells.

LS1.C.3 As matter and energy flow through different organizational levels of living systems, chemical elements are recombined in different ways to form different products.

PS1.A.1 Each atom has a charged sub-structure consisting of a nucleus, which is made up of protons and neutrons, surrounded by electrons.

PS2.B.2 Attraction and repulsion between electrical forces at the atomic scale explain the structure, properties, and transformations of matter, as well as contact forces between material objects.