Connecticut Content Standard 5: Relationships Of Structure And Function

Students will understand the classification and physiology of the great diversity of organisms and identify relationships of structure and function.

Grades K - 4

Educational experiences in Grades K - 4 will assure that students:

  • identify (in Grades K-2) the structures (e.g., stems, petals, legs, beaks) found in a variety of organisms;
  • show (in Grades K-2) how living and nonliving things can be grouped using the characteristics they share;
  • organize, compare and categorize (in Grades K-2) similarities and differences among organisms;
  • describe (in Grades K-2) features that help organisms to survive in different environments (e.g., fur, coloration, thorns, webbed feet);
  • employ different ways of classifying organisms into groups, using a variety of common features (e.g., presence of feathers, pointy vs. smooth leaves, whether they make their own food or get it from other sources);
  • identify anatomical and behavioral adaptations which allow organisms to survive in specific environments;
  • explain that the features of living things (e.g., trunks, tails, webbed feet) can be good indicators of their roles and places in an ecosystem;
  • recognize that living things often have specialized sensory organs that help them gather information about their environments; and
  • recognize that living things contain systems (such as digestion and respiration) that enable them to carry out basic life processes.

Grades 5 - 8

Educational experiences in Grades 5 - 8 will assure that students:

  • describe the major distinctions among the kingdoms of living things (e.g., prokaryotic/eukaryotic, nucleated/non-nucleated, heterotrophic/autotrophic);
  • describe ways in which internal and external structures, organ systems and body plans contribute to organisms being able to carry out life functions or processes (e.g., reproduction, response to stimuli, production and/or digestion of food, and production of energy, circulation, excretion, homeostasis);
  • describe and analyze ways in which scientists determine the relatedness of organisms;
  • explain the effects of disease on the inability of organisms to carry out essential life functions;
  • understand the complementary nature of structure and function; and
  • describe how different life functions (e.g., digestion, reproduction) are carried out by different organisms.

Grades 9 - 12

Educational experiences in Grades 9 - 12 will assure that students:

  • understand that the present diversity of life is a result of natural selection and other evolutionary processes that have been at work for long periods of time;
  • explain how representative organisms in different phyla are able to maintain a stable internal environment (homeostasis);
  • describe why diversity in a species is important for its survival in a changing environment;
  • explain how evolutionary relationships among organisms can be inferred from DNA and protein sequences;
  • given a classification key, classify a given organism; and
  • design a classification key which can be used by others to group organisms.


The following GEMS Guides address this Standard:

Hide A Butterfly Grades PreK-K

Ant Homes Under the Ground
Grades PreK-1

Eggs Eggs Everywhere
Grades PreK-1

Elephants and Their Young
Grades PreK-1

Grades PreK-1

Mother Opossum and Her Babies Grades PreK-1

Penguins and Their Young
Grades PreK-1

Buzzing A Hive
Grades K-3

Terrarium Habitats
Grades K-6

On Sandy Shores
Grades 2-4

Aquatic Habitats
Grades 2-6

Schoolyard Ecology
Grades 3-6

Microscopic Explorations
Grades 4-8

Life through Time
Grades 5-8

Environmental Detectives
Grades 5-8

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