2014 Life Science Curriculum

A Squirrel’s New Suit

In this unit students are asked to design and test a camouflage suit for squirrels. Students are taught about camouflage and character traits for survival in initial lessons and then provided materials to create and test camouflage suits for their furry clients. To present their final work, students are asked to write a persuasive letter to their clients using data analysis collected during testing.  

Natural Selection and Biomimicry

This Natural Selection and Biomimicry unit will teach students the underlying mechanisms that drive natural selection can be thought of as four interconnected processes: genetic variation (mutation), competition for resources, overproduction of offspring, and non-random survival. Students will develop possible solutions to an engineering problem by learning from nature. Solutions will be evaluated using conceptual, physical and mathematical models to determine the extent to which the solutions meet the design specifications. Using whole numbers, fractions, and decimals, students will apply their understanding of their engineering challenge by creating spreadsheet tables and graphs to analyze and display their data. 

Survival Suit

Based on known trends in environmental data, the United States of America expect significant and severe changes to occur to the natural boundaries of the country. These boundaries will be defined by different environmental characteristics in 5 major “sectors” across the land area. Unfortunately, people will be confined to their sector and will not be allowed to cross the boundaries because of the drastically different climates and because of what appears to be the emergence of dangerous, man-eating predators. Students will be asked to create a survival suit for the citizens of the prairie environment and the capitol with two criteria; to secure food and provide safety from the environmental constraints.  

Underwater Camouflage

National Geographic photographers need to photograph sea organisms in varying natural habitats, including coral reef and kelp forest. Students are asked to design and develop camouflage to attach to the photographer’s wetsuits. The “camo” needs to be specific to the environment so the photographers make the least impact possible to capture the ocean life.  With cost restrictions and material requirements in place, students must research sea-life, design their camouflage suit and present their final design to National Geographic. 


Viva la Différence
Mr. Samir Nagheenanajar, billionaire entrepreneur and zoo developer, wants to include a large walk in aviary but is having difficulty with the birds dying off to just a few species. He needs help investigating why it is so difficult to have many different species of birds living together in the same environment. Students will simulate this by designing and testing different bird beaks competing for a variety of seeds and share their findings with the client. The client’s cousin Omprakash Ashutash Gowarikar, a Bollywood movie producer, heard his cousin Samir talk about how much the students helped with his aviary and wants help generating ideas for his next futuristic science fiction film. Student groups will do research on human’s environmental trends which will guide natural selection. They will settle on three traits and draw sketches of how they imagine this trait will change over time. Groups will use their iPads and iMovie to create their evidence based proposal.

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