DCI: Life Sciences

The four core ideas reflect unifying principles in life sciences. These core ideas are essential for a conceptual understanding of the life sciences and will enable students to make sense of emerging research findings. We begin at the level of organisms, delving into the many processes and structures, at scales ranging from components as small as individual atoms to organ systems that are necessary for life to be sustained. Our focus then broadens to consider organisms in their environment - how they interact with the environment's living (biotic) and physical (abiotic) features. Next we consider how organisms reproduce, passing genetic information to their offspring, and how these mechanisms lead to variability and hence diversity within species. Finally, the core ideas in life sciences culminate with the principle that evolution can explain how the diversity that is observed within species has led to the diversity of life across species through a process of descent with adaptive modification. Evolution also accounts for the remarkable similarity of the fundamental characteristics of all species. (NRC Framework 2012, p. 140) 

LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

How do organisms live, grow, respond to their environment, and reproduce?

LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

How and why do organisms interact with their environment and what are the effects of these interactions?

LS3: Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits

How are characteristics of one generation passed to the next? How can individuals of the same species and even siblings have different characteristics?

LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

How can there be so many similarities among organisms yet so many different kinds of plants, animals, and microorganisms? How does biodiversity affect humans?