NGSS: High School Life Sciences

Students in high school develop understanding of key concepts that help them make sense of
life science. The ideas are building upon students’ science understanding of disciplinary core
ideas, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts from earlier grades. There
are five life science topics in high school: 1) Structure and Function, 2) Inheritance and
Variation of Traits, Matter and Energy in Organisms and Ecosystems, 4) Interdependent
Relationships in Ecosystems, and 5) Natural Selection and Evolution. The performance
expectations for high school life science blend core ideas with scientific and engineering
practices and crosscutting concepts to support students in developing useable knowledge that
can be applied across the science disciplines. While the performance expectations in high school
life science couple particular practices with specific disciplinary core ideas, instructional
decisions should include use of many practices underlying the performance expectations. The
performance expectations are based on the grade-band endpoints described in A Framework for
K-12 Science Education (NRC, 2012)