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Pacing Guide

Pacing Guide  


Suggested Pacing Guide


Semester 1


Unit 1: The Foundations of Life (Suggested Time—5 weeks)


What are the foundational components of life?

Week 1

Concept 1—The structure and function of living things are determined at an atomic level by the

interactions within and between atoms.

Concept 2—The structure and function of organisms are primarily the result of the chemical properties

of four organic macromolecules.


Week 2

Concept 3—The unique properties of water make it a necessary component of organisms and

contributes to the survival of living things.


Week 3, 4 and 5

Concept 4—Cell membranes are selectively permeable because of their structure and contribute to an

organism’s ability to maintain homeostasis.

Concept 5—Cells are the basic units of life. They contain all of the necessary components to maintain

life. All cells come from pre-existing cells via cell division controlling the growth and maintenance of





Unit 2: Bioenergetics (Suggested Time—5 weeks)


How do organisms fulfill their energy needs?


Weeks 1 and 2

Concept 1—Enzymes allow chemical reactions to happen at a rate that is conducive to life.


Week 3

Concept 2—Energy flows and matter cycles through ecosystems.


Weeks 4 and 5

Concept 3—The chemical processes of photosynthesis and cellular respiration are the mechanisms by

which energy flows through cells, organisms and ecosystems.













Unit 3: Molecular Genetics (Suggested Time—5 weeks)


What is the relationship between DNA and traits?

Week 1

Concept 1—Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) is the molecular unit of inheritance. The chemical structure

of the DNA molecule serves as a template or code that directs protein synthesis


Weeks 2 and 3

Concept 2: The sequence of amino acids in a protein, determined by the nucleotide sequence in a DNA

molecule, governs the specific shape of a protein and subsequently the function of that protein



Week 4

Concept 3: A section of DNA that contains the nucleotide sequence for a protein is called a gene.


Week 5

Concept 4: The discovery of the structure and function of the DNA molecule illustrates one way that

new scientific information is developed. The continuing advances in medical, genetic and evolutionary

science that are based upon the foundational understanding of the structure and function of DNA,

represent the tentative and dynamic nature of science.


















Semester 2


Unit 4: Inheritance (Suggested Time—5 weeks)


How can the relationship between genes and chromosomes, the behavior of chromosomes

during meiosis, and the interaction of gene products in the cell explain phenotypic variation

among organisms?


Weeks 1 and 2

Concept 1: DNA replication must precede cell division in order to produce viable offspring, or grow, or

repair damaged tissue.


Week 3

Concept 2: Uncovering the relationship between gene, chromosome, and allele is essential for

understanding patterns of inheritance


Weeks 3 and 4

Concept 3: The behavior of chromosomes during gametogenesis and fertilization leads to the

production of unique genomes.


Week 5

Concept 4: Although all genes are inherited in a similar fashion, the expression of particular gene

products varies widely.



Unit 5: Evolution (Suggested Time—5 weeks)


How do multiple lines of evidence converge to explain biological evolution?


Week 1

Concept 1: The unity and diversity of life is a product of evolution.


Weeks 2 and 3

Concept 2: Evolution (specifically, the change in the genotype and phenotype of a population), driven

by natural selection (certain individuals within populations survive and reproduce more often than

other individuals), is a dynamic process resulting from an individual’s interactions with its environment

which vary over space and time.


Week 4

Concept 3: Changes in populations are driven by intrinsic properties and extrinsic factors that vary in

time and magnitude.


Week 5

Concept 4: Biodiversity (often referred to as “macroevolution”) results from the same mechanisms

that drive changes in populations (often called as “microevolution”).


*Note* Biodiversity is an overarching concept that should be visited during each of the other units. (e.g. prokaryotic vs eukaryotic cells;  ploidy difference in eukaryotes)






Unit 6: Ecology (Suggested Time—5 weeks)


How does the interplay of Abiotic and Biotic Factors shape the world around us?


Week 1

Concept 1: Energy Flows and Matter Cycles (looked at earlier in Energetics unit)

Concept 2: Solar energy and precipitation are not evenly distributed on the globe and this unequal

distribution drives climate patterns and biome distribution


Week 2

Concept 3: Populations are limited by intrinsic and extrinsic factors that vary in time and



Week 3

Concept 4: Interactions between populations, efficient utilization of energy and the movement of

matter drives the structure and function of communities


Weeks  4 and 5

Concept 5: Human activities directly impact physical ecosystems and alter chemical cycles

causing potential changes in natural abiotic and biotic processes of the Earth