smart AGRICULTURE targets learning in Science 9 Unit A Biological Diversity.

Find student learning sources and competency-based activities by scrolling down to the smart AGRICULTURE banner on the LEARN webpage. This topic can be implemented through a project-based approach or by implementing the learning sources in each carousel slide as one-to-two class activities. The specific learning outcomes listed below are supported in smart AGRICULTURE. Find a correlation of relevant outcomes to each activity in the Project and Activity Teaching Guide.



1.Investigate and interpret diversity among species and within species, and describe how diversity contributes to species survival

  • Observe variation in living things, and describe examples of variation among species and within species (e.g., observe and describe characteristics that distinguish two closely related species)
  • Identify examples of niches, and describe the role of variation in enabling closely related living things to survive in the same ecosystem (e.g., investigate different bird species found in a local park ecosystem, and infer how each is adapted to life within that ecosystem)
  • Identify the role of variation in species survival under changing environmental conditions (e.g., resistance to disease, ability to survive in severe environments)

3. Describe, in general terms, the role of genetic materials in the continuity and variation of species characteristics; and investigate and interpret related technologies

  • Describe, in general terms, the role and relationship of chromosomes, genes and DNA
  • Compare sexual and asexual reproduction, in terms of the advantages and disadvantages (e.g., recognize that asexual reproduction provides an efficient means of transmitting characteristics and that sexual reproduction provides an opportunity for recombination of characteristics)
  • Distinguish between, and identify examples of, natural and artificial selection (e.g., evolution of beak shapes in birds, development of high milk production in dairy cows)
  • Describe, in simple terms, some genetic technologies (e.g., cloning and genetic engineering); and identify questions and issues related to their application

4. Identify impacts of human action on species survival and variation within species, and analyze related issues for personal and public decision making

  • Describe ongoing changes in biological diversity through extinction and extirpation of native species, and investigate the role of environmental factors in causing these changes (e.g., investigate the effect of changing river characteristics on the variety of species living in the river; investigate the effect of changing land use on the survival of wolf or grizzly bear populations)
  • Evaluate the success and limitations of various local and global strategies for minimizing loss of species diversity (e.g., breeding of endangered populations in zoos, development of seed banks, designating protected areas, development of international treaties regulating trade of protected species and animal parts)
  • Investigate and describe the use of biotechnology in environmental, agricultural or forest management; and identify potential impacts and issues (e.g., investigate issues related to the development of patented crop varieties and varieties that require extensive chemical treatments; identify issues related to selective breeding in game farming and in the rearing of fish stocks)

Appreciate that scientific understanding evolves from the interaction of ideas involving people with different views and backgrounds (e.g., show awareness that the scientific study of changing animal and plant populations can arise from a variety of global needs, involving many individuals and organizations)

Seek and apply evidence when evaluating alternative approaches to investigations, problems and issues (e.g., strive to assess a problem accurately by careful analysis of evidence gathered; critically consider ideas and perceptions, recognizing that the obvious is not always right)

Work collaboratively in carrying out investigations and in generating and evaluating ideas (e.g., choose a variety of strategies, such as active listening, paraphrasing and questioning, in order to understand other points of view; accept various roles within a group, including that of leader)

Demonstrate sensitivity and responsibility in pursuing a balance between the needs of humans and a sustainable environment (e.g., consider implications of changing land use on the welfare and survival of living things; identify potential conflicts between attempting to meet the wants and needs of humans and, at the same time, providing life-supporting environments for all living things; minimize environmental impact during studies by avoiding sampling that will affect an animal or plant population)


Ask questions about the relationships between and among observable variables, and plan investigations to address those questions

  • Identify science-related issues (e.g., identify issues related to loss of species diversity)
  • Identify questions to investigate arising from science-related issues (e.g., “what factors affect the ability of organisms to survive and reproduce in this ecosystem?”)
  • State a prediction and a hypothesis based on background information or an observed pattern of events (e.g., predict changes to an area of local parkland that is subject to intense use; hypothesize means of impact, such as soil compaction and disturbance of nest sites)

Conduct investigations into the relationships between and among observations, and gather and record qualitative and quantitative data

  • Observe and record data, and prepare simple line drawings (e.g., compare two related plants by measuring, describing and drawing them)
  • Estimate measurements (e.g., estimate the population of a given plant species within a study plot)
  • Research information related to a given issue (e.g., conduct an electronic search for information on factors that affect the reproduction and survival of wood frogs)

Analyze qualitative and quantitative data, and develop and assess possible explanations

  • Identify strengths and weaknesses of different ways of displaying data (e.g., compare different ways of recording and displaying data on plant variation in a study plot)
  • Interpret patterns and trends in data, and infer and explain relationships among the variables (e.g., interpret data on changing animal populations, and infer possible causes)
  • Apply given criteria for evaluating evidence and sources of information (e.g., evaluate sources based on their currency, credibility and the extent to which claims are supported by data)
  • Identify new questions and problems that arise from what was learned

Work collaboratively on problems; and use appropriate language and formats to communicate ideas, procedures and results

  • Communicate questions, ideas, intentions, plans and results, using lists, notes in point form, sentences, data tables, graphs, drawings, oral language and other means (e.g., illustrate and compare methods of reproduction in sample organisms studied)
  • Evaluate individual and group processes used in investigating an issue and evaluating alternative decisions (e.g., evaluate strategies for locating information, such as the use of particular key words or search tools; evaluate approaches for sharing work on a given research task and for synthesizing the information found)
  • Defend a given position on an issue, based on their findings (e.g., defend a position on a proposed measure to protect a particular plant or animal population)

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