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Science & Nature

Middle School Life Science: Metabolic Reactions and System Interactions

In this six week course learners will explore a real case study of a middle school girl to understand metabolic reactions, how our body uses and transforms food and air and how our digestive, circulatory, and respiratory systems connect.
Malikai Bass
149 total reviews for this teacher
New class
45 minutes
per class
Twice per week
over 6 weeks
year olds
learners per class
per learner - per class

How does aMulti-Daycourse work?

Meets multiple times at scheduled times
Live video chats, recorded and monitored for safety and quality
Discussions via classroom forum and private messages with the teacher
Great for engaging projects and interacting with diverse classmates from other states and countries

How Outschool Works

Available Times

Pacific Time

Mon Sep 26

Sep 26 - Nov 2 (6 weeks)
Mo, We
6:15pm - 7pm
Don't see a time that works for you?


Class Experience

This unit builds toward the following NGSS Performance Expectations (PEs): 

    MS-LS1-3: Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells.
    MS-LS1-5: Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms.
    MS-LS1-7: Develop a model to describe how food is rearranged through chemical reactions forming new molecules that support growth and/or release energy as this matter moves through an organism.
    MS-PS1-1: Develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple molecules and extended structures.*
    MS-PS1-2: Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred.*
The current version of the unit expands students’ understanding of metabolic reactions, which include these Grade 6-8 DCI elements: 

LS1.A Structure and Function

    In multicellular organisms, the body is a system of multiple interacting subsystems. These subsystems are groups of cells that work together to form tissues and organs that are specialized for particular body functions.

LS1.B Growth and Development of Organisms

    The growth of an animal is controlled by genetic factors,* food intake, and interactions with other organisms, and each species has a typical adult size range.

LS1.C Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms 

    Within individual organisms, food moves through a series of chemical reactions in which it is broken down and rearranged to form new molecules, to support growth, or to release energy. 

PS3.D Energy in Processes and Everyday Life

    Cellular respiration in plants and* animals involves chemical reactions with oxygen that release stored energy. In these processes, complex molecules containing carbon react with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and other materials.   

This unit also develops the following scientific practices outlined by the NGSS
Developing and Using Models
Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
Analyzing and Interpreting Data
Engaging in Argumentation 
Asking Questions and Defining Problems
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

This unit incorporates the following "cross-cutting concepts" listed by the NGSS
Scale, Proportion and Quantity
Systems and System Models
Structure and Function
Cause and Effect
At East Tennessee State University I completed the following courses receiving near-perfect grades and completing all extension and academic work: 
Integrated Stem for Education Majors, which I applied to the development and teaching of this course through the inclusion of math, technology and engineering principles and which prepares me well to teach them. 
Concepts in Biology this course was designed for those wishing to teach Biology at a K-8 level and included teaching demonstrations, standards, and preparation for the K-6 Praxis exam for science concepts on which I scored in the 96%. 
Life in the Universe this course was an exploration of life science using an inquiry based model and which inspired my adaptation for this course. It covered a variety of life-science topics. Based on my performance in this course, I was nominated for nationally competitive research internships. 
Science Education: Wildife Conservation: As part of a science education track, I took an honor’s section of this senior course focusing on wildlife conservation which included a variety of life science skills and strategies for those teaching kindergarten through eighth grade. 
In terms of practical experience, I have been working in science-based museums doing curriculum, programming, and education for students in a variety of settings for over twelve years. I worked at the Creative Discovery Museum on a pilot program which involved biological science and dissections for home educated students. I served as a peer tutor for the biology class listed above and helped college level students with a variety of backgrounds and support needs obtain content mastery. 
 I led programming on a variety of inclusive science based summer camps including those partnering with the local zoo and aquarium. 
During my graduate degree, I worked on projects with the Seattle Aquarium and Burke Museum on science education concepts. I collaborated on the design of virtual field trips which supported concept standards in earth and life sciences and applied science through museum evaluation. 
I have been teaching science to students in grades k-8 online for over two years in a variety of settings and have seen significant success. Last year, many of my students achieved above the 90th percentile on nationally standardized tests. 
Students will have two homework assignments each week which will involve reading, writing, sharing their thoughts through virtual platforms, and completing activities. 
Learners will need a printed copy of the provided science notebook and appropriate note-taking and drawing tools. Learners who wish to use a microscope rather than a virtual simulation should purchase a prepared slide kit focusing on the human body including liver, cartilage, heart muscle, stomach, and adipose tissue.
In addition to the Outschool classroom, this class uses:
Students will be assessed at the mid-point and end of unit through projects. This allows students to have as much time as needed.  Students will also receive weekly progress reports. 
1 hour 30 minutes per week in class, and maybe some time outside of class.
Students will be discussing the digestive system which may include discussions of poop or gas. Students are expected to handle those with appropriate maturity. No imagery will be shown. 
Students will discuss the case study of a teenager experiencing symptoms of a digestive system related condition which includes weight loss. This is important for understanding the connections with the digestive system but weight loss will not be praised and students will be informed of and held to body-positive and safe discussion standards.  Calories will be briefly mentioned as we discuss how our bodies use food for energy. This class is not a medically focused class and does not provide any medical advice or diagnosis. Instead it uses this experience to draw students in and provide an advanced middle school understanding of the body systems and chemical reactions. 
Learners will use a variety of online tools: nearpod, and jamboard. Both will be accessible through clicking links provided to your learner. Your learner does not need a log-in and no private information is collected. Learners should only use first names or initials on these tools.
This course is based on an open source science curriculum which is licensed under creative commons attribution license for commercial use. This curriculum has won awards for it's alignment to the NGSS. It has been adapted by Malikai Bass for home learning and for neurodiverse and twice exceptional students including reading, writing, communication and fine motor supports. Additionally, the discussions on disability have been revised to come from an identity and human rights perspective and carefully reviewed with the understanding that students with disabilities will be present in the unit. 

"All OpenSciEd units are designed as open educational resources that are licensed as CC-BY-4.0. This license allows educators to use, modify, and reuse all of our resources to meet their students’ needs. This license does require appropriate attribution, which means you must give credit to the author, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made."

It was written by: 

    Tara McGill, Unit Lead, Northwestern University
    Michael Novak, Field Test Unit Lead, Northwestern University
    Kate Cook-Whitt, Writer, Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance
    Kathryn Fattalah, Writer, The Nora Project
    Emily Harris, Writer, BSCS Science Learning
    Lindsey Mohan, Writer, BSCS Science Learning
    Jamie Noll, Writer, Northwestern University
    Barbara Taylor, Writer, Charles A. Dana Center at University of Texas Austin
    Heather Galbreath, Pilot Teacher, Lombard Middle School
    Michael Clinchot, Teacher Advisor, John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science
    Nicole Vick, Reviewer, Abingdon-Avon High School
    Betty Stennett, Reviewer, BSCS Science Learning
    Katie Van Horne, Assessment Specialist
    Kelsey Edwards, Project Coordinator, Northwestern University
    Barbara Hug, Unit Advisory Chair, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The license can be found here: 

This class is not affiliated with or endorsed by the creators of this curriculum nor does it used their trademarks. 


Malikai Bass
Lives in the United States
Education as Unique as Your Learner
149 total reviews
120 completed classes

About Me

I am an autistic adult with a masters degree in museum and museum evaluation focusing on applying science to museums and museums as a place of informal learning for neurodiverse learners. In my undergraduate education, I elementary education,... 
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