Wyoming Science Content and Performance Standards — Grade 12

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Describe the atomic structure of matter, including subatomic particles, their properties, and interactions. Recognize that elements are organized into groups in the periodic table based on their outermost electrons and these groups have similar properties. Explain chemical bonding in terms of the transfer or sharing of electrons between atoms. Describe physical states of matter and phase changes. Differentiate between chemical and physical properties, and chemical and physical changes.


Recognize that chemical reactions take place all around us. Realize that chemical reactions may release or consume energy, occur at different rates. Identify the factors that affect reaction rates. and result in the formation of different substances.


Demonstrate and understanding of the laws of conservation of mass and energy within the context of physical and chemical changes. Realize the tendency for systems to increase in disorder


Demonstrate an understanding of types of energy, energy transfer and transformations, and the relationship between mass and energy.


Develop a conceptual understanding of Newtons Laws of Motion, gravity, electricity, and magnetism.


Demonstrate an understanding that organisms ensure species continuity by passing genetic information from parent to offspring. Utilize genetic information to make predictions about possible offspring. Apply concepts of molecular biology (DNA and genes) to recent discoveries


Explain how species evolve over time. Understand that evolution is the consequence of various interactions, including the genetic variability of offspring due to mutation and recombination of genes, and the ensuing selection by the environment of those offspring better able to survive and leave additional offspring. Discuss natural selection and that its evolutionary consequences provide a scientific explanation for the great diversity of organisms as evidenced by the fossil record. Examine how different species are related by descent from common ancestors. Explain how organisms are classified based on similarities that reflect their evolutionary relationships, with species being the most fundamental unit of classification


Investigate the interrelationships and interdependence of organisms, including the ecosystem concept, energy flow, competition for resources, and human effects on the environment.


Describe the need of living systems for a continuous input of energy to maintain chemical and physical stability. Explain the unidirectional flow of energy and organic matter through a series of trophic levels in living systems. Investigate the distribution and abundance of organisms in ecosystems, which are limited by the availability of matter and energy and the ability of the living system to recycle materials.


Examine behavior as the sum of responses of an organism to stimuli in its environment, which evolves through adaptation, increasing the potential for species survival. Identify adaptations as characteristics and behaviors of an organism that enhance the chance for survival and reproductive success in a particular environment.


Describe the Earth as a closed system and demonstrate a conceptual understanding of the following systems: Geosphere Hydrosphere Atmosphere Biosphere Explain the role of energy in each of these systems, such as weather patterns, global climate, weathering, and plate tectonics


Investigate geologic time through comparing rock sequences, the fossil record, and decay rates of radioactive isotopes.


Examine evidence for the Big Bang Theory and recognize the immense time scale involved in comparison to human-perceived time. Describe the process of star and planet formation, planetary and stellar evolution, including the fusion process, element formation, and dispersion.


Students use research scientific information and present findings through appropriate means.


Students use inquiry to conduct scientific investigations. Pose problems and identify questions and concepts to design and conduct an investigation. Collect, organize, analyze and appropriately represent data. Give priority to evidence in drawing conclusions and making connections to scientific concepts. Clearly and accurately communicate the result of the investigation.


Students clearly and accurately communicate the result of their own work as well as information from other sources.


Students investigate the relationships between science and technology and the role of technological design in meeting human needs.


Students properly use appropriate scientific and safety equipment, recognize hazards and safety symbols, and observe standard safety procedures.


Students examine the nature and history of science. As scientific knowledge evolves, it impacts personal, social, economic, and political decisions. The historical misuse of scientific information to make personal, social, economic, and political decisions.


Students examine how scientific information is used to make decisions. Interdisciplinary connections of the sciences and connections to other subject areas and career opportunities. The role of science in solving personal, local, national, and global problems. The origins, limitations, and conservation of natural resources, including Wyoming examples.