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.


D. Heredity and Reproduction: Organisms reproduce, develop, and have predictable life cycles. Organisms contain genetic information that influences their traits, and they pass this on to their offspring during reproduction.

By the end of grade

Content Statement


Cumulative Progress Indicator (CPI)


Observations of developmental changes in a plant or animal over time form a basis for young learners’ understanding of heredity and reproduction.


Observe and record change over time and cycles of change that affect living things (e.g., use baby photographs to discuss human change and growth, observe and photograph tree growth and leaf changes throughout the year, monitor the life cycle of a plant).


Plants and animals often resemble their parents.


Record the observable characteristics of plants and animals to determine the similarities and differences between parents and their offspring.


Organisms have predictable characteristics at different stages of development.


Determine the characteristic changes that occur during the life cycle of plants and animals by examining a variety of species, and distinguish between growth and development.


Plants and animals have life cycles (they begin life, develop into adults, reproduce, and eventually die). The characteristics of each stage of life vary by species.


Compare the physical characteristics of the different stages of the life cycle of an individual organism, and compare the characteristics of life stages among species.


Reproduction is essential to the continuation of every species.


Predict the long-term effect of interference with normal patterns of reproduction.


Variations exist among organisms of the same generation (e.g., siblings) and of different generations (e.g., parent to offspring).


Explain how knowledge of inherited variations within and between generations is applied to farming and animal breeding.


Traits such as eye color in human beings or fruit/flower color in plants are inherited.


Distinguish between inherited and acquired traits/characteristics.


Some organisms reproduce asexually. In these organisms, all genetic information comes from a single parent. Some organisms reproduce sexually, through which half of the genetic information comes from each parent.


Defend the principle that, through reproduction, genetic traits are passed from one generation to the next, using evidence collected from observations of inherited traits.


The unique combination of genetic material from each parent in sexually reproducing organisms results in the potential for variation.


Explain the source of variation among siblings.


Characteristics of organisms are influenced by heredity and/or their environment.


Describe the environmental conditions or factors that may lead to a change in a cell’s genetic information or to an organism’s development, and how these changes are passed on.


Genes are segments of DNA molecules located in the chromosome of each cell. DNA molecules contain information that determines a sequence of amino acids, which result in specific proteins.


Explain the value and potential applications of genome projects.


Inserting, deleting, or substituting DNA segments can alter the genetic code. An altered gene may be passed on to every cell that develops from it. The resulting features may help, harm, or have little or no effect on the offspring’s success in its environment.


Predict the potential impact on an organism (no impact, significant impact) given a change in a specific DNA code, and provide specific real world examples of conditions caused by mutations.


Sorting and recombination of genes in sexual reproduction result in a great variety of possible gene combinations in the offspring of any two parents.


Demonstrate through modeling how the sorting and recombination of genes during sexual reproduction has an effect on variation in offspring (meiosis, fertilization).