SC.8.L.18.4

Cite evidence that living systems follow the Laws of Conservation of Mass and Energy.
General Information
Subject Area: Science
Grade: 8
Body of Knowledge: Life Science
Idea: Level 3: Strategic Thinking & Complex Reasoning
Big Idea: Matter and Energy Transformations -

A. Living things all share basic needs for life.

B. Living organisms acquire the energy they need for life processes through various metabolic pathways (photosynthesis and cellular respiration).

C. Matter and energy are recycled through cycles such as the carbon cycle.

Date Adopted or Revised: 02/08
Date of Last Rating: 05/08
Status: State Board Approved
Assessed: Yes
Test Item Specifications
  • Item Type(s): This benchmark may be assessed using: MC item(s)
  • Also Assesses
    SC.8.L.18.1
    Describe and investigate the process of photosynthesis, such as the roles of light, carbon dioxide, water and chlorophyll; production of food; release of oxygen.

    SC.8.L.18.2 Describe and investigate how cellular respiration breaks down food to provide energy and releases carbon dioxide.

    SC.8.L.18.3 Construct a scientific model of the carbon cycle to show how matter and energy are continuously transferred within and between organisms and their physical environment.

  • Clarification :
    Students will explain that living systems obey the Law of Conservation of Mass and the Law of Conservation of Energy.

    Students will describe and/or explain the general processes of photosynthesis or cellular respiration.

    Students will describe how matter and energy are transferred in the carbon cycle.

    Students will describe the role of light, carbon dioxide, water, and/or chlorophyll in the process and products of photosynthesis.
  • Content Limits :
    Items will not address or assess the stages of photosynthesis or cellular respiration.

    Items may not assess the interrelatedness of photosynthesis and cellular respiration.

    Items will not use the term reactant.

    Items will not use the term ATP.

    Items will not assess the function of organelles related to the processes of cellular respiration or photosynthesis.

    Items will not assess anaerobic respiration.

    Items referring to the carbon cycle may include carbon reservoirs, such as the atmosphere, organisms, fossil fuels, sediments, and oceans/water.
  • Stimulus Attributes :
    Scenarios may use word equations for photosynthesis or cellular respiration; chemical equations may not be used.
  • Response Attributes :
    None specified
  • Prior Knowledge :
    Items may require the student to apply science knowledge described in the NGSSS from lower grades. This benchmark requires prerequisite knowledge from SC.3.L.17.2, SC.4.L.17.2, and SC.4.L.17.3.
Sample Test Items (1)
  • Test Item #: Sample Item 1
  • Question: A diagram of the carbon cycle is shown below.

    Each arrow represents a process in the cycle. Which of the following best describes the process that occurs at arrow x?
  • Difficulty: N/A
  • Type: MC: Multiple Choice

Related Courses

This benchmark is part of these courses.
2002100: M/J Comprehensive Science 3 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2002110: M/J Comprehensive Science 3, Advanced (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2000010: M/J Life Science (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2000020: M/J Life Science, Advanced (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
7820017: Access M/J Comprehensive Science 3 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2018, 2018 and beyond (current))
2002085: M/J Comprehensive Science 2 Accelerated Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2000025: M/J STEM Life Science (Specifically in versions: 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))

Related Access Points

Alternate version of this benchmark for students with significant cognitive disabilities.
SC.8.L.18.Pa.2: Recognize that food provides energy.
SC.8.L.18.In.4: Identify the flow of energy from the Sun as it is transferred along a food chain.
SC.8.L.18.Su.4: Recognize that plants get energy from the Sun and that energy is transferred to the animals that eat the plants.

Related Resources

Vetted resources educators can use to teach the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

Lesson Plans

Modeling the Law of Conservation of Mass in the Environment:

This lesson provides a PowerPoint on the four main cycles of matter and how they follow the Law of Conservation of Mass. The instruction is followed by time for the student to build their own models and explain how they demonstrate the Law of Conservation of Mass.

Type: Lesson Plan

Energy Conservation in an Ecosystem:

This activity is a lab exercise where students look at the passing of water in cups and compare it to the available energy in an ecosystem. During this activity, students will be actively engaged in modeling energy transfer. Students will collect data, graph it and respond to reflection questions to connect the data to what happens in an ecosystem. Once complete, students will apply their observations to food chains and the Law of Conservation of Mass and Energy. This activity is a great way to lead into a discussion of local ecosystems and native species.

Type: Lesson Plan

Lots of Fish in the Sea?:

So many fish in the sea? How does our changing climate bear on marine life and the carbon balance on our planet? Students will examine applications of the Laws of Conservation of Mass and Energy and determine how all the pieces fit together. Students will learn about attempted solutions to the problem of increased carbon dioxide and evaluate effectiveness.

Type: Lesson Plan

Law of Conservation of Mass and Living Systems:

The students will explore using open and closed systems can be used to explain the Law of Conservation of Mass. The students will also observe a chemical reaction to determine if mass is conserved. The student will also perform research to understand that living systems follow the Law of Conservation of Mass.

Type: Lesson Plan

What if ….you never saw another shell?:

This lesson connects the Carbon Cycle with the elevation of global temperatures causing dissolution of carbon-containing substances and rise in acidity. Students conduct a simulation experiment and model carbon loss due to temperature changes lowering pH.

Type: Lesson Plan

Original Student Tutorial

Conservation of Mass and Energy in Living Systems:

Learn how to identify explicit evidence and understand implicit meaning in a text. You should be able to describe how matter and energy are continuously transferred within and between organisms and their physical environment; and cite evidence that living systems follow the Laws of Conservation of Mass and Energy.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Problem-Solving Task

Learning in Florida's Environment (LIFE)- The Fallen Log:

This outdoor lab activity deals with the nutrient cycle, specifically decomposition. Students will observe two fallen logs in different states of decomposition, and record and explain the roles of the different decomposers that they find.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Original Student Tutorials Science - Grades K-8

Conservation of Mass and Energy in Living Systems:

Learn how to identify explicit evidence and understand implicit meaning in a text. You should be able to describe how matter and energy are continuously transferred within and between organisms and their physical environment; and cite evidence that living systems follow the Laws of Conservation of Mass and Energy.

Student Resources

Vetted resources students can use to learn the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

Original Student Tutorial

Conservation of Mass and Energy in Living Systems:

Learn how to identify explicit evidence and understand implicit meaning in a text. You should be able to describe how matter and energy are continuously transferred within and between organisms and their physical environment; and cite evidence that living systems follow the Laws of Conservation of Mass and Energy.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Parent Resources

Vetted resources caregivers can use to help students learn the concepts and skills in this benchmark.