Tree of Life

Zoom down from what we can see with our own eyes to the macromolecules from which they are made

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All cells, organs and tissues of a living organism are built of molecules. Some of them are small, made from only a few atoms. There is, however, a special class of molecules that make up and play critical roles in living cells. These molecules can consist of many thousands to millions of atoms. They are referred to as macromolecules (or large biomolecules).

In this activity, you will "zoom" down from living things we can see with our own eyes to the macromolecules and the smaller molecules from which they are made. In the process, you will learn about the molecular structure of these macromolecules and where examples of these molecules are located in cells.

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Download Size: 70 KB

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Subject
Chemistry

Focus Area
Modeling and Simulation

Grade Level
High School

License
CC BY 4.0

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008)

4. The Physical Setting

4D. The Structure of Matter
  • 4D/M1cd*. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that atoms may link together in well-defined molecules, or may be packed together in crystal patterns. Different arrangements of atoms into groups compose all substances and determine the characteristic properties of substances.
  • 4D/M5*. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that chemical elements are those substances that do not break down during normal laboratory reactions involving such treatments as heating, exposure to electric current, or reaction with acids. All substances from living and nonliving things can be broken down to a set of about 100 elements, but since most elements tend to combine with others, few elements are found in their pure form.
  • 4D/M6c*. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that carbon and hydrogen are common elements of living matter.
  • 4D/H7a. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that atoms often join with one another in various combinations in distinct molecules or in repeating three-dimensional crystal patterns.
  • 4D/H7b. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that an enormous variety of biological, chemical, and physical phenomena can be explained by changes in the arrangement and motion of atoms and molecules.
  • 4D/H8. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that the configuration of atoms in a molecule determines the molecule's properties. Shapes are particularly important in how large molecules interact with others.

5. The Living Environment

5C. Cells
  • 5C/M1a. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that all living things are composed of cells, from just one to many millions, whose details usually are visible only through a microscope.
  • 5C/H1b. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that in all but quite primitive cells, a complex network of proteins provides organization and shape and, for animal cells, movement.
  • 5C/H3. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that the work of the cell is carried out by the many different types of molecules it assembles, mostly proteins. Protein molecules are long, usually folded chains made from 20 different kinds of amino acid molecules. The function of each protein molecule depends on its specific sequence of amino acids and its shape. The shape of the chain is a consequence of attractions between its parts.
  • 5C/H4a. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that the genetic information encoded in DNA molecules provides instructions for assembling protein molecules.
  • 5C/H8. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that a living cell is composed of a small number of chemical elements mainly carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorous, and sulfur. Carbon, because of its small size and four available bonding electrons, can join to other carbon atoms in chains and rings to form large and complex molecules.

11. Common Themes

11B. Models
  • 11B/M1*. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that models are often used to think about processes that happen too slowly, too quickly, or on too small a scale to observe directly. They are also used for processes that are too vast, too complex, or too dangerous to study.
  • 11B/M3*. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that different models can be used to represent the same thing. What model to use depends on its purpose.
  • 11B/M4** (BSL). By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that simulations are often useful in modeling events and processes.

Copyright
© Copyright The Concord Consortium

Record Link
<a href="">The Concord Consortium. Tree of Life. Concord: The Concord Consortium, 2010, September 23.</a>

AIP
Tree of Life (The Concord Consortium, Concord, 2010, September 23), WWW Document, (https://concord.org/).

AJP
Tree of Life (The Concord Consortium, Concord, 2010, September 23), WWW Document, (https://concord.org/).

APA
Tree of Life. (2010, September 23). Retrieved 2017, February 21, from The Concord Consortium: https://concord.org/

Disclaimer: The Concord Consortium offers citation styles as a guide only. We cannot offer interpretations about citations as this is an automated procedure.

Requirements

This activity requires the Java Runtime Environment version 5 (sometimes referred to as 1.5) or later with Java Webstart. You can download it at java.com.

The download for this activity will require 70 KB of disk space.

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This resource is a part of the Concord Consortium's project.

Grade Level
High School
Subject
Chemistry
Focus Area
Modeling and Simulation
Rating
0
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