the environment as heat. Matter and energy are conserved in each change.


  • Multicellular animals have nervous systems that generate behavior. Nervous systems are formed from specialized cells that conduct signals rapidly through the long cell extensions that make up nerves. The nerve cells communicate with each other by secreting specific excitatory and inhibitory molecules. In sense organs, specialized cells detect light, sound, and specific chemicals and enable animals to monitor what is going on in the world around them.

  • Organisms have behavioral responses to internal changes and to external stimuli. Responses to external stimuli can result from interactions with the organism's own species and others, as well as environmental changes; these responses either can be innate or learned. The broad patterns of behavior exhibited by animals have evolved to ensure reproductive success. Animals often live in unpredictable environments, and so their behavior must be flexible enough to deal with uncertainty and change. Plants also respond to stimuli.

  • Like other aspects of an organism's biology, behaviors have evolved through natural selection. Behaviors often have an adaptive logic when viewed in terms of evolutionary principles.

  • Behavioral biology has implications for humans, as it provides links to psychology, sociology, and anthropology.

Earth and Space Science

Content Standard D

As a result of their activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop an understanding of

  • Energy in the earth system

  • Geochemical cycles

  • Origin and evolution of the earth system

  • Origin and evolution of the universe

Developing Student Understanding

During the high school years, students continue studying the earth system introduced in grades 5-8. At grades 9-12, students focus on matter, energy, crustal dynamics, cycles, geochemical processes, and the expanded time scales necessary to understand events in the earth system. Driven by sunlight and earth's internal heat, a variety of cycles connect and continually circulate energy and material through the components of the earth system. Together, these cycles establish the structure of the earth system and regulate earth's climate. In grades 9-12, students review the water cycle as a carrier of material, and deepen their understanding of this key cycle to see that it is also an important agent for energy transfer. Because it plays a central role in establishing and maintaining earth's climate and the production of many mineral and fossil fuel resources, the students' explorations are also directed toward the carbon cycle. Students use and extend their understanding of how

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