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STC-Middle School™, STC3 Edition: Structure and Function 1-Class Unit Kit



Grades 6–8. Unit Driving Question: How do the structure and function of organisms contribute to their survival?
Unit Highlight—Whether students realize it or not, daily life provides them with many experiences relating to structure and function. For example, during a sports practice, students demonstrate the need of various structures. They use their eyes to watch the ball in motion and gauge their movement across the field. Their brain continuously sends messages to various muscles, enabling movements such as using their arm to throw, their legs to run, and their hands to catch. Their lungs consistently take in oxygen while their heart pumps that oxygen and food (nutrients) to different areas of the body. Their cells take in the oxygen and food and release energy that allows them to continue practice. Their body produces heat while all this is going on, but different structures prevent overheating by producing sweat. Students utilize a variety of structures, both large and small, to accomplish the task at hand. Earth's diverse array of creatures and plants have unique structures that assist our common quest for survival.

From the STC3 Edition, Structure and Function addresses the performance expectations, and attendant science and engineering practices and crosscutting concepts, deemed appropriate for grades 6 through 8 by the Next Generation Science Standards® (NGSS). It allows students to develop an understanding of phenomena that influence the many different fields in the life sciences. By completing this unit, students and teachers alike will develop a better understanding of how structure and function contribute to the survival of organisms.

Each lesson in this unit builds on the skills and concepts presented in previous lessons. As students progress through the unit, they take increasing responsibility for their own learning. Eventually, students plan and conduct their own procedures and analyze the results they obtain. Therefore, the unit should be taught in its entirety; it should not be used as a sourcebook of occasional experiments.

To structure and scaffold the development of students' knowledge, skills, and cognitive reasoning, this unit includes three primary lesson types: pre-assessment, skills and knowledge building, and assessment. The pre-assessment lesson allows educators to assess students' preconceptions, misconceptions, and skills. Skills and knowledge building lessons provide multiple opportunities for students to grow and learn through formative assessment. The assessment lesson includes both performance and written assessment activities that function together as a summative assessment of student learning.

This 1-Class Unit Kit comes with a Teacher Edition, teacher access to Carolinascienceonline.com, 16 reusable hardbound Student Guides (item #513403), student eBook access, and the materials needed for a teacher to teach up to 32 students per day. Note: Among the additional materials that will be needed but not supplied in the kit are 16 microscopes (we recommend item #591182).

The Structure and Function unit addresses the following standards:
Next Generation Science Standards®
Performance Expectations

  • MS-LS1-1. Conduct an investigation to provide evidence that living things are made of cells: either one cell or many different numbers and types of cells.
  • MS-LS1-2. Develop and use a model to describe the function of a cell as a whole and ways parts of cells contribute to the function.
  • MS-LS1-3. Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells.
  • MS-LS1-6. Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for the role of photosynthesis in the cycling of matter and flow of energy into and out of organisms.
  • MS-LS1-7. Develop a model to describe how food is rearranged through chemical reactions forming new molecules that support growth and/or release energy as this matter moves through an organism.
  • MS-LS1-8. Gather and synthesize information that sensory receptors respond to stimuli by sending messages to the brain for immediate behavior or storage as memories.
  • MS-LS4-2. Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for the anatomical similarities and differences among modern organisms and between modern and fossil organisms to infer evolutionary relationships.
  • MS-LS4-3. Analyze displays of pictorial data to compare patterns of similarities in the embryological development across multiple species to identify relationships not evident in the fully formed anatomy.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

  • LS1.A: Structure and function
  • LS1.C: Organization for matter and energy flow in organisms
  • LS1.D: Information processing
  • LS4.A: Evidence of common ancestry and diversity
  • PS3.D: Energy in chemical processes and everyday life

Science and Engineering Practices

  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Engaging in argument from evidence
  • Developing and using models
  • Planning and carrying out investigations
  • Constructing explanations and designing solutions
  • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Crosscutting Concepts

  • Structure and function
  • Patterns
  • Energy and matter
  • Systems and system models
  • Cause and effect

Common Core
English Language Arts

  • RST.6-8.1
  • RST.6-8.2
  • RST.6-8.3
  • RST.6-8.4
  • RST.6-8.6
  • RST.6-8.7
  • RST.6-8.8
  • RST.6-8.9
  • RST.6-8.10
  • SL.7.1
  • SL.7.4
  • SL.7.5
  • WHST.6-8.1
  • WHST.6-8.4
  • WHST.6-8.5
  • WHST.6-8.7
  • WHST.6-8.8
  • WHST.6-8.9


  • MP5
  • MP6

Lesson Summaries
Lesson 1: Pre-Assessment

In this lesson, students perform three short investigations and complete a self-assessment. Students also become familiar with the kinds of materials they will use and the types of activities they will engage with throughout the unit.
Lesson 2: Cells
Students are introduced to cells as the building blocks of life. They begin to build a foundation of understanding for what cells are, how they vary, and the role they play in different living things. Students start by investigating living unicellular organisms under the microscope. They observe and compare the structures associated with unicellular organisms and determine each structure's function in survival. Then, students explore cell specialization in multicellular organisms. Students compare the shape and structures of different cells to determine their function in various multicellular organisms. Students continue to build on their knowledge of cell specialization as they learn how cells differentiate by comparing and contrasting animal embryos at different stages of development.
Lesson 3: Cell Organelles
Students explore the phenomena of cellular structures, their functions, and their interdependence on one another. Students gain an understanding that the organelles interact with and rely on each other, acting as smaller subsystems within a larger system, the cell. Students also investigate how these structures vary among the cells of different types of organisms, based on each organism's needs. Students start out by designing a eukaryotic cell based on their prior knowledge. Students investigate the similarities and differences between plant cells and animal cells under the microscope. They continue to explore the organelles commonly found in both plant and animal of cells, their functions, and their interdependence on one another. At the end of the lesson, students apply the information they learned during their investigations to create a comic story line that personifies several organelles they have learned about. This application-based investigation allows students to make connections between cell organelles and the real world.
Lesson 4: Photosynthesis
Students investigate the reactants and products associated with the process of photosynthesis. Students plan and carry out an investigation to provide evidence that autotrophs require carbon dioxide, water, and light energy in order to go through photosynthesis. To build on this foundation, students investigate the structures that enable an autotroph, such as a plant, to obtain the carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight that it requires. By the end of the lesson, students will be able to explain how matter and energy cycle through the living and nonliving environment during photosynthesis.
Lesson 5: Cellular Respiration
Students explore the process of cellular respiration. Students observe the impact of physical activity on the body and begin to associate oxygen with energy. Students design an investigation that provides evidence that cellular respiration releases heat. They plan and carry out a second investigation to provide evidence that plants also carry out cellular respiration, hitting on a major misconception that these organisms only go through photosynthesis. Students then analyze and interpret data collected during an investigation that looks at different energy values in foods. Finally, students compare and contrast the processes of cellular respiration and photosynthesis and make the connection that each process relies on the matter and energy from the other.
Lesson 6: Levels of Organization
Students investigate how the bodies of multicellular organisms are organized. They become familiar with the levels of organization within many multicellular organisms, focusing primarily on organ systems. Students explore the interdependence of the levels and how they are like a system of subsystems. Students start by examining various tissues under the microscope and determining their functions. Students then compare and contrast the levels of organization in both plant and animal bodies. Students research and present their findings on a particular human body system. They continue to strengthen their knowledge of organization by investigating the external structures and body systems of a frog. During this investigation, students obtain the evidence they need to make an argument for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems that rely on one another for survival. To end the lesson, students begin to infer evolutionary relationships, based on similar structures, between both present-day and fossilized organisms by comparing skeletal structures in different organisms and by comparing shared traits to create a cladogram.
Lesson 7: The Nervous System
Students investigate the nervous system. They explore the structures associated with this body system, the role of the nervous system, and the sensory receptors that allow us to interact with our environment. Students observe nervous tissue, test their reaction time, explore their sensory receptors, and confuse their brain with several sensory illusions. By the end of the lesson, students will have a strong understanding of how information is gathered by receptors and synthesized by the brain, which results in an immediate reaction or in memory storage.
Lesson 8: Assessment
This assessment has two parts: a performance assessment and a written assessment. In the performance assessment, students apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired during the unit to research and report on a particular animal and structures and functions unique to that animal. In the written assessment, students respond to multiple-choice and constructed-response items aligned to concepts covered in this unit.


Shipping Information or Purchase Restrictions
  • Elodea cannot be shipped into a number of states. Restricted states will be shipped compatible plants. Canadian customers must apply for a Canadian Department of Agriculture permit.
What’s Included:
  • 1 Living Materials Order Sheet Set, Structure and Function (voucher item)
  • 16 Structure and Function Student Guide
  • Structure and Function Teacher Edition
  • 1 Unit Technology Pack (includes digital access to the Teacher Edition and digital student access to the Student Guide)
  • 200 Applicators, Cotton-Tipped, Sterile
  • 20 Bag, Resealable, Plastic, 12 x 15”
  • 8 Bromthymol Blue Stock Solution, 0.04%, 15 mL
  • 10 Candle, Tea
  • 16 Carolina™ Frog Dissection Mat
  • 2 Carolina™ Two-Point Discriminator
  • 1 Clove Oil, 7 mL
  • 40 Coffee Filter, No. 4
  • 100 Coverslip, Plastic
  • 200 Cup Lid, Plastic, for 1-oz Cup
  • 250 Cup, Plastic, 1 oz
  • 100 Cup, Plastic, 7 oz
  • 10 Cup, Plastic, Clear, 24 oz
  • 16 Dissecting Needle
  • 16 Dissecting Scissors
  • 1 Ethanol, 95%, 30 mL
  • 4 Food Coloring, Assorted Colors
  • 16 Forceps
  • 16 Frogs, Preserved, Carolina’s Perfect Solution®
  • 1 Funnel, Plastic, Large (67 mm)
  • 32 Lens, Hand
  • 1 Lighter, Butane
  • 8 Marker, China, Black
  • 1 Marshmallow, Miniature, 10.5-oz Bag
  • 72 Microscope Slides, Student-Grade, Standard
  • 1 Mortar and Pestle, Porcelain, 130 mL
  • 8 Nail Polish, Clear
  • 1 Paper, Taste, Control, Pack
  • 1 Peppermint Oil, 7 mL
  • 1 Photo Card Set, Cell Specialization
  • 1 Photo Card Set, Cladogram
  • 1 Photo Card Set, Embryonic Development
  • 1 Photo Card Set, Exploring Tissues
  • 1 Photo Card Set, Nervous Tissue
  • 1 Photo Card Set, Observing Different Organisms
  • 1 Photo Card Set, Optical Illusion
  • 1 Photo Card Set, Stroop Effect
  • 9 Pie Tin, Aluminum, 9”
  • 32 Pipette, Plastic
  • 8 Protoslo® Quieting Solution, Laboratory Grade, 15 mL
  • 1 PTC Paper, Pack
  • 16 Reaction Time Ruler
  • 1 Seed, Sunflower, Pack
  • 1 Slide Set, Beginner
  • 1 Slide Set, Cell Specialization
  • 1 Slide Set, Exploring Tissues
  • 1 Slide Set, Nervous Tissue
  • 1 Slide Set, Observing Different Organisms
  • 1 Slide Set, Plant and Animal Cells
  • 1 Sodium Benzoate Paper, Pack
  • 24 Stopper, Rubber, #1, Solid
  • 40 Straw, Flexible, Drinking
  • 2 Tank, Plastic, 1-1/2 gal
  • 16 Test Tube Clamp
  • 10 Test Tube Rack
  • 32 Test Tube, 20 x 150 mm
  • 20 Thermometer, Red Spirit-Filled Total Immersion 12” (-20 to 110° C)
  • 1 Thiourea Paper, Pack
  • 250 Toothpick, Round
  • 4 Transparency, Ruler/Fragmenting Tool
  • 20 Tray, Foam, 7-1/2 x 9-1/2”
  • 1 Tuning Fork, C Scale, Frequency 512
  • 1 UV Lamp, 9 LED Bulbs
Needed But Not Included:
  • 16 Microscopes (we recommend item #591182)
Return Policy:

If for any reason you are not satisfied with this item, it is eligible for a return, exchange, refund, or credit up to 180 days from date of purchase. Restrictions may apply. Returns & Exchanges Policy.

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