Strand III
Use Scientific Knowledge from the Life Sciences in Real-World Contexts


Science/Strand III
Content Standard 2
All students will use classification systems to describe groups of living things; compare and contrast differences in the life cycles of living things; investigate and explain how living things obtain and use energy; and analyze how parts of living things are adapted to carry out specific functions. (Organization of Living Things)


Science/Strand III/Content Standard 2
High School


Science/Strand III/Content Standard 2/High School
Benchmark 3
Explain the process of food storage and food use in organisms.

Benchmark Clarification

Food contains organic compounds, which are needed to support life on Earth. Many different materials are consumed by organisms.

Students will:

  • Trace food energy from the Sun, by direct or indirect paths, to all organisms
  • Describe how food produced by photosynthesis is distributed to cells as a form of stored energy and then converted to a useful form of energy in a chemical reaction involving oxygen (aerobic respiration)
  • Describe how the energy in food can be stored by organisms and used for energy in the future

Key Concept / Real World Context / Instructional Example / Assessment Example / Resources


Science/Strand III/Content Standard 2/High School/Benchmark 3
Key Concept

  • cellular respiration
  • photosynthesis
  • oxygen
  • sunlight
  • carbon dioxide
  • carbohydrate
  • fat
  • protein
  • minerals
  • water

See Photosynthesis (SCI.III.2.MS.3).

See How organisms grow (SCI.III.1.HS.1).

See How plants store food (SCI.III.2.MS.3).

See How food and oxygen are distributed to cells (SCI.III.2.MS.4).

See The Sun as the ultimate source of energy for organisms (SCI.III.5.MS.2).

See Energy transformations (SCI.IV.2.MS.3).


Science/Strand III/Content Standard 2/High School/Benchmark 3
Real World Context
Food storage:

  • maple tree; maple sap
  • potato; starch
  • honeybee; honey
  • cow; beef, milk

Energy change:

  • weight gain and weight loss
  • change in respiration rates with exercise


Science/Strand III/Content Standard 2/High School/Benchmark 3
Instructional Example

Benchmark Question: How is food use in organisms related to food storage?

Focus Question: How much energy is stored in food molecules for future use by organisms?

The teacher will give each pair of students a simple calorimeter to measure the amount of heat energy contained in a variety of nuts (i.e., pecans, peanuts, walnuts, etc.).

  • Calories = [(* mass of water heated ) x (change in temperature)] ÷ (change in mass of the nut).

* 1 gram of water = 1 ml of water

Each pair of students will compare the calculated calorie values for the different nut samples. They should evaluate which type of nuts stores the most energy. As a class they should discuss how the plant uses this nut energy and how other organisms use the nut for energy.

Extension: Students can measure the calories contained in other common food sources in the same way.

Calorimeter example

Constructing: (SCI.I.1.HS.1), (SCI.I.1.HS.2), (SCI.I.1.HS.3).

Reflecting: (SCI.II.1.HS.1), (SCI.II.1.HS.2), (SCI.II.1.HS.3).


Science/Strand III/Content Standard 2/High School/Benchmark 3
Assessment Example

The teacher will give each pair of students ten or more labels from prepared foods. Students should find the total calories per serving and the mass of one serving on the label. Then students will divide the calories by the mass to get calories/gram. The students will evaluate which food has the most stored energy. Students should support their answers by ranking the foods in order from the most to the least stored energy.

(Give students rubric before activity.)

Scoring Rubric






Correctness of evaluation

Ranks correctly seven or fewer labels.

Ranks correctly eight to nine labels.

Ranks correctly ten labels.

Ranks correctly more than ten labels.


Science/Strand III/Content Standard 2/High School/Benchmark 3