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.

Learn More


Seventh Grade

Life Science

Power Standards
  • Conduct an investigation to provide evidence that living things are made of cells; either one cell or many different numbers and types of cells. (MS-LS1-1)
  • Develop and use a model to describe the function of a cell as a whole and ways parts of cells contribute to the function. (MS-LS1-2)
  • Construct an explanation based on evidence that describes how genetic variations of traits in a population increase some individuals’ probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment. (MS-LS4-4)
  • Gather and synthesize information about technologies that have changed the way humans influence the inheritance of desired traits in organisms. (MS-LS4-5)

Critical Content

Concepts and Skills

* Power Standard Content

LS1.A:  Structure and Function (Human Body Systems intro)

  • All living things are made up of cells, which is the smallest unit that can be said to be alive. An organism may consist of one single cell (unicellular) or many different numbers and types of cells (multicellular). (MS-LS1-1)

LS1.B:  Growth and Development of Organisms

  • Plants reproduce in a variety of ways.  Sometimes this reproduction depends on animal behavior and specialized plant and animal features. (Pollination) (MS-LS1-4)

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

  • Plants, algae (including photoplankton), and many microorganisms use the energy from light to make sugars (food) from carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and water through the process of photosynthesis, which also releases oxygen.  These sugars can be used immediately or stored for growth or later use. (Cellular Respiration & Photosynthesis) (MS-LS1-6)

LS1.B:  Growth and Development of Organisms

  • Organisms reproduce, either sexually or asexually, and transfer their genetic information to their offspring. (secondary to MS-LS3-2)

LS3.A:  Inheritance of Traits

  • Variations of inherited traits between parent and offspring arise from genetic differences that result from the subset of chromosomes (and therefore genes) inherited. (MS-LS3-2)

LS3.B:  Variation of Traits

  • In sexually reproducing organisms, each parent contributes half of the genes acquired (at random) by the offspring. Individuals have two of each chromosome and hence two alleles of each gene, one acquired from each parent. These versions may be identical or may differ from each other. (MS-LS3-2)

LS4.B:  Natural Selection

  • In artificial selection, humans have the capacity to influence certain characteristics of organisms by genetic engineering.  One can choose desired parental traits determined by genes, which are then passed on to offspring. (MS-LS4-5)

Critical Language (Science & Engineering Practices)

Language Usage

  • A student in seventh grade can demonstrate the ability to apply and comprehend critical language by constructing a scientific explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from sources (including students’ own experiments) about cell biology and genetics.


Content-Specific Vocabulary

  • Cell
  • Cell parts(animal & plant cells)
  • Nucleus
  • Cytoplasm
  • Respiration
  • Photosynthesis
  • Energy
  • Chromosomes
  • Alleles
  • Mutations
  • Ribosome
  • Chloroplast
  • Membrane / Wall
  • Sexual
  • Asexual
  • Mitosis
  • Meiosis
  • Punnett Squares
  • Dominant
  • Recessive
  • Chromosome
  • Genes
  • Phenotypes
  • Genotype
  • Genetics
  • Genetic testing
  • Genetic engineering
  • Genetic mapping
  • Traits
  • Unicellular
  • Multicellular


Process-Specific Vocabulary

  • Structure and function
  • Variation
  • Synthesize
  • Probability

Concept-Based Connections

Essential Understandings

  • Living organisms are made out of cells and special structures are responsible for particular functions in organisms.
  • The body is a system of multiple interacting subsystems that form a hierarchy from cells to the body.


Factual Guiding Questions

  • What are some differences between living and nonliving things?
  • What are the different types of cells that make living things?
  • What are the functions of the different parts of the cell system?
  • What is cell theory?
  • What are the differences between unicellular and multicellular organisms?
  • Describe mitosis and meiosis.  How does it relate to asexual and sexual reproduction?
  • Describe the cellular respiration. How do plants and animals help each other in cellular respiration?
  • What are Mendel’s Genetic Principles.
  • What are the differences between plant and animal cells?
  • How are traits passed down from one generation to another?
  • How is a punnett square used to predict traits?
  • What are the limitations of a unicellular being and the benefits of being multicellular?


Conceptual Guiding Questions

  • How do structures of organisms contribute to life’s functions?
  • How are the organelles interdependent?
  • How can traits be manipulated?


Authentic Learning Activities & Experimental Design

  • Does the interaction of different subsystems affect the normal/abnormal functioning of the system?
  • What are the benefits and dangers of using genetic engineering in plants? Animals? Humans?