Core Curriculum Content Standards

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NJ World Class Standards
Content Area: Science

Content Area



5.3 Life Science: All students will understand that life science principles are powerful conceptual tools for making sense of the complexity, diversity, and interconnectedness of life on Earth. Order in natural systems arises in accordance with rules that govern the physical world, and the order of natural systems can be modeled and predicted through the use of mathematics.


A. Organization and Development: Living organisms are composed of cellular units (structures) that carry out functions required for life. Cellular units are composed of molecules, which also carry out biological functions.

By the end of grade

Content Statement


Cumulative Progress Indicator (CPI)


Observations and discussions about the natural world form a basis for young learners’ understanding of life science.


Investigate and compare the basic physical characteristics of plants, humans, and other animals.


Observations and discussions form a basis for young learners’ understanding of the similarities and differences among living and nonliving things.


Observe similarities and differences in the needs of various living things, and differences between living and nonliving things.


Living organisms:

  • Exchange nutrients and water with the environment.
  • Reproduce.
  • Grow and develop in a predictable manner.


Group living and nonliving things according to the characteristics that they share.


Living organisms:

  • Interact with and cause changes in their environment.
  • Exchange materials (such as gases, nutrients, water, and waste) with the environment.
  • Reproduce.
  • Grow and develop in a predictable manner.


Develop and use evidence-based criteria to determine if an unfamiliar object is living or nonliving.


Essential functions required for the well-being of an organism are carried out by specialized structures in plants and animals.


Compare and contrast structures that have similar functions in various organisms, and explain how those functions may be carried out by structures that have different physical appearances.


Essential functions of the human body are carried out by specialized systems:

  • Digestive
  • Circulatory
  • Respiratory
  • Nervous
  • Skeletal
  • Muscular
  • Reproductive


Describe the interactions of systems involved in carrying out everyday life activities.


Systems of the human body are interrelated and regulate the body’s internal environment.


Model the interdependence of the human body’s major systems in regulating its internal environment.


Essential functions of plant and animal cells are carried out by organelles.


Model and explain ways in which organelles work together to meet the cell’s needs.


All organisms are composed of cell(s). In multicellular organisms, specialized cells perform specialized functions. Tissues, organs, and organ systems are composed of cells and function to serve the needs of cells for food, air, and waste removal.


Compare the benefits and limitations of existing as a single-celled organism and as a multicellular organism.


During the early development of an organism, cells differentiate and multiply to form the many specialized cells, tissues, and organs that compose the final organism. Tissues grow through cell division.


Relate the structures of cells, tissues, organs, and systems to their functions in supporting life.


Cells are made of complex molecules that consist mostly of a few elements. Each class of molecules has its own building blocks and specific functions.


Represent and explain the relationship between the structure and function of each class of complex molecules using a variety of models.


Cellular processes are carried out by many different types of molecules, mostly by the group of proteins known as enzymes.


Demonstrate the properties and functions of enzymes by designing and carrying out an experiment.


Cellular function is maintained through the regulation of cellular processes in response to internal and external environmental conditions.


Predict a cell’s response in a given set of environmental conditions.


Cells divide through the process of mitosis, resulting in daughter cells that have the same genetic composition as the original cell.


Distinguish between the processes of cellular growth (cell division) and development (differentiation).


Cell differentiation is regulated through the expression of different genes during the development of complex multicellular organisms.


Describe modern applications of the regulation of cell differentiation and analyze the benefits and risks (e.g., stem cells, sex determination).


There is a relationship between the organization of cells into tissues and the organization of tissues into organs. The structures and functions of organs determine their relationships within body systems of an organism.


Describe how a disease is the result of a malfunctioning system, organ, and cell, and relate this to possible treatment interventions (e.g., diabetes, cystic fibrosis, lactose intolerance).