Describe the scientific theory of cells (cell theory) and relate the history of its discovery to the process of science.
Subject Area: Science
Grade: 912
Body of Knowledge: Life Science
Standard: Organization and Development of Living Organisms -

A. Cells have characteristic structures and functions that make them distinctive.

B. Processes in a cell can be classified broadly as growth, maintenance, reproduction, and homeostasis.

C. Life can be organized in a functional and structural hierarchy ranging from cells to the biosphere.

D. Most multicellular organisms are composed of organ systems whose structures reflect their particular function.

Date Adopted or Revised: 02/08
Date of Last Rating: 05/08
Status: State Board Approved
Assessed: Yes


Describe how continuous investigations and/or new scientific information influenced the development of the cell theory. Recognize the contributions of scientists in the development of the cell theory.


  • Reporting Category: Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • Clarification :

    Students will describe and/or explain the cell theory.

     Students will describe how continuous investigations and/or new scientific information influenced the development of the cell theory.

    Students will identify ways in which a scientific claim is evaluated (e.g., through scientific argumentation, critical and logical thinking, and consideration of alternative explanations).

    Students will identify what is science, what is not science, and what resembles but fails to meet the criteria for science.

    Students will explain the development of a theory.

    Students will recognize the differences between theories and laws.

  • Content Limits :

    Items may assess how contributions of scientists such as Van Leeuwenhoek, Hooke, Schwann, Schleiden, and/or Virchow aided in the development of the cell theory but will not assess what each scientist contributed.

    Items assessing a scientific claim, the development of a theory, or the differences between theories and laws are limited to the cell theory.

  • Stimulus Attributes :
    None Specified
  • Response Attributes :
    None specified
  • Prior Knowledge :
    Items may require the student to apply scientific knowledge described in the NGSSS from lower grades. This benchmark requires prerequisite knowledge of SC.6.L.14.2, SC.8.E.5.10, SC.6.N.2.1, SC.6.N.2.2, SC.6.N.3.1, SC.6.N.3.2, SC.6.N.3.3, SC.7.N.1.7, SC.7.N.2.1, SC.7.N.3.1, SC.8.N.1.5, SC.8.N.2.1, SC.8.N.2.2, and SC.8.N.3.2.


  • Test Item #: Sample Item 1
  • Question: The cell theory was first proposed in 1838. Evidence obtained through additional scientific investigations resulted in the current cell theory. Which statement describes a component of the original cell theory that was removed because of the new scientific knowledge?
  • Difficulty: N/A
  • Type: MC: Multiple Choice