Human life is unique, as far as we can tell, because humans have the capacity to design, plan, use history, imagine non-existent objects, and devise systems of laws and codes of behavior. We have power unknown in other life-forms. But we still share the most fundamental requirements with all other life-forms— nourishment, water, air, space, and suitable environment. Students must understand these facts so that they are prepared to assume responsibility for the well-being of the system of life on Earth.
The Structures of Life Module consists of four investigations dealing with big ideas in life science—plants and animals are organisms and exhibit a variety of strategies for life, organisms are complex and have a variety of observable structures and behaviors, organisms have varied but predictable life cycles and reproduce their own kind, and individual organisms have variations in their traits that may provide an advantage in surviving in the environment. Students observe, compare, categorize, and care for a selection of organisms. Students engage in science and engineering practices to investigate structures and behaviors of the organisms and learn how some of the structures function in growth and survival. Students look at the interactions between organisms of the same kind, among organisms of different kinds, and between the environment and populations over time.