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BSCS Biology: Understanding for Life

BSCS Biology: Understanding for Life

Introducing BSCS’s New Flagship Biology Program 

Teachers are being asked to do a lot in today’s science classrooms. That includes teaching the Next Generation Science Standards, which are challenging in both depth and breadth. BSCS has responded to this need by creating a brand new high school biology program that supports teachers in meeting these standards. But we didn’t stop there. 

Our new program, BSCS Biology: Understanding for Life, has a greater purpose. It is designed to prepare students for life in our complex, interconnected world.

The program includes four units, each centered around a 21st century societal challenge that we can no longer ignore, such as antibiotic-resistant infections. Students are challenged to investigate. They “figure out” rather than “learn about” scientific phenomena. This approach is different. It requires a different kind of work. And the unfamiliar can be frustrating, at first–especially for students who have learned to play the game of school by memorizing facts to get an A. 

However, as we’ve seen through field testing and initial program adoption in 2020-2021, this approach is powerful. And teachers believe this program is going to change the way students learn and use science throughout their lives. 

Key Program Features

  • Introduces BSCS’s new Anchored Inquiry Learning instructional model, which builds on the strengths of our globally-recognized 5E model, while drawing on contemporary research about the social, cultural, and emotional aspects of the learning process
  • Designed from the ground up to support teachers in meeting the Next Generation Science Standards
  • Specifically integrates supports for English language learners and students with below-grade-level literacy skills
  • Directly addresses societal challenges we can no longer ignore, while allowing students to investigate compelling and relevant phenomena that will keep them from ever asking, “Why do I need to know this?” 
  • Equips students with abilities and inclinations to act on what they’ve learned well beyond high school biology class and into their future personal, professional, and civic lives

Inside the Units 

BSCS Biology: Understanding for Life includes four units, each centered around a societal challenge. Students investigate an anchoring phenomenon while developing the knowledge, abilities, and inclinations to take positive action on behalf of themselves, their communities, and the natural world.

Unit 1: Infectious Diseases

How can bacterial infections make us sick, and why are they getting harder to treat? 

Key Concepts: 

  • Body systems & specialized cells
  • Homeostasis & feedback 
  • Natural selection

Unit 2: Hereditary-Genetic Disease

Why are some people at higher risk for heart disease than other people?

Key Concepts: 

  • DNA structure determines protein structure 
  • Meiosis & crossing over
  • Mitosis & differentiation
  • Environmental influence on traits

Unit 3: Matter and Energy

How can we sustainably feed our growing population a nutritious diet? 

Key Concepts: 

  • Photosynthesis & cellular respiration
  • Matter & energy flow
  • Trophic levels
  • Carbon cycle

Unit 4: Biodiversity and Humans

Why are coyotes expanding their range while so many other organisms are becoming endangered? 

Key Concepts: 

  • Ecosystem interactions & carrying capacity
  • Disturbance & anthropogenic change
  • Speciation, extinction, & evolution 
  • Biodiversity & ecosystem services

“The Infectious Diseases unit is very relatable to students because we’ve all experienced illness. I have not had one student ask why we need to know this. I actually had a student that went to a doctor who ran the same immune response tests we had learned about. My student felt good about understanding what the doctor discussed.”

-Faith Nelson, high school biology teacher in Illinois

Learn more about this new program on Kendall Hunt Publishing Company’s website HERE.