999 West Dundee Road
Wheeling, Illinois 60090

Phone: 847-537-8270

Superintendent: Dr. Michael Connolly

School Board & Administration



CCSD21 is a school district comprised of 13 schools across 6 different communities in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.



School District 21 prides itself on its Professional Learning Community and its rich tradition of professional collaboration, high levels of professional development, and family-like atmosphere. If you see the opportunity to work with colleagues in making a difference in the lives of students and families in a truly diverse setting, School District 21 seeks your application.

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Life Science

Power Standards
  • Support an argument that plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water. (5-LSI-1)
  • Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment. (5-LS2-1)
    • Use models to describe that energy in animals’ food (used for body repair, growth, motion and to maintain body warmth) was once energy from the sun. (5-PS3-1) (Embed within instruction toward 5-LS2-1)
  • Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment. (5-ESS3-1)

Critical Content

Concepts and Skills

* Power Standard Content

LS1.C: Organizations for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms

  • * Plants acquire their material for growth chiefly from air and water. (5-LS1-1)

PS3.D:  Energy in Chemical Processes and Everyday Life

  • * The energy released from food was once energy from the sun that was captured by plants in the chemical process that forms plant matter (from air and water).  (5-PS3-1)

LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

  • * The food of almost any kind of animal can be traced back to plants.  Organisms are related in food webs in which some animals eat plants for food and other animals eat the animals that eat plants.  Some organisms, such as fungi and bacteria, break down dead organisms (both plants or their parts and animals) and therefore operate as “decomposers”.  Decomposition eventually restores (recycles) some material back to the soil.  Organisms can survive only in environments in which their particular needs are met.  A healthy ecosystem is one in which multiple species of different types are each able to meet their needs in a relatively stable web of life.  Newly introduced species can damage the balance of an ecosystem. (5-LS2-1)

LS2.B: Cycles of Matter and Energy Transfer in Ecosystems

  • * Matter cycles between the air and soil and among plants, animals, and microbes as these organisms live and die.  Organisms obtain gases, and water, from the environment and release waste matter (gas, liquid, or solid) back into the environment. (5-LS2-1)

ESS3.C:  Human Impacts on Earth Systems

  • * Human activities in agriculture, industry, and everyday life have had major effects on land, vegetation, streams, oceans, air, and even outer space.  But individuals and communities are doing things to help protect Earth’s resources and environments. (5-ESS3-1)

Critical Language (Science & Engineering Practices)

Language Usage

  • A student in fifth grade can demonstrate the ability to apply and comprehend critical language by engaging in argument critiquing scientific explanations by peers by citing relevant evidence about the natural and designed worlds.


Content-Specific Vocabulary

  • Ecosystem
  • Matter
  • Organism
  • Interdependence
  • Energy
  • Environment
  • Landform
  • Primary consumer
  • Secondary consumer
  • Tertiary consumer
  • Natural resources
  • Renewable resource
  • Non-renewable resource
  • Fungi
  • Bacteria
  • Decomposers
  • Species
  • Microbe
  • Plankton
  • Phytoplankton
  • Current
  • Climate
  • Agriculture
  • Vegetation
  • Energy transfer
  • Photosynthesis
  • Recycle
  • Food chain
  • Predator
  • Prey
  • Herbivore
  • Carnivore
  • Omnivore
  • Industry


Process-Specific Vocabulary

  • Cycles (verb)
  • Obtain
  • Release
  • System

Concept-Based Connections

Essential Understanding

  • Matter cycles within and among ecosystems in order to sustain the food web.
  • Organisms can survive only in environments in which their particular needs are met.
  • Human activities may alter the balance in ecosystems in ways that can be either beneficial or harmful to themselves and other organisms.  


Factual Guiding Questions

  • What is matter?
  • What is interdependence, and how is it related to the ecosystem?
  • How does matter cycle within and among ecosystems?
  • What do organisms need to survive?
  • Where does the energy in food come from and what is it used for?
  • How much freshwater is available on Earth?  How much of that freshwater is locked away in glaciers?


Conceptual Guiding Questions

  • What are the interacting parts of ecosystems?
  • What is the relationship between the movement of matter and the function of a food web?
  • How does the ocean affect the climate of nearby land ecosystems?
  • What role do ocean currents play in creating observable weather patterns?
  • How does whaling, farm fishing, etc. impact the ocean ecosystem?


Engaging/Debatable Guiding Questions

  • Is it harmful or helpful when new organisms are introduced to an ecosystem?
  • Do human actions help to sustain ecosystems?
  • Should humans be consuming genetically modified organisms?
  • Should humans attempt to change the geosphere and hydrosphere by building dams, diverting a river around town, drilling for oil under the ocean, etc?
  • Can the idea that plants create their own “food” from air and water, lead scientists to a solution for world hunger with a rising global population?
  • How does change to one ecosystem, affect other ecosystems?
  • How can scientific information be used to protect the environment?
  • How can the depletion of natural resources affect our daily lives?  What alternative resources can be used.
  • What are the pros and cons of renewable and nonrenewable resources?