Life is defined by characteristics of things accepted as "alive." Organization, metabolism, responsiveness and the maintenance of homeostasis, growth, and reproduction are considered by many to be necessary attributes for anything that is to be described as "alive." Be able to describe each and to use these criteria to argue that something is (or is not) alive. Be able to identify examples of molecules, macromolecules, organelles, cells, tissues, organs, organ systems, organisms, populations, species, communities, and ecosystems based on pictures or descriptions. Be able to place in order the taxonomic levels (e.g. kingdom, order and the others). Be able to classify common species using taxonomy and the binomial system (e.g. humans, zebras, white oak trees). Be able to identify the main observations that led to the theory of natural selection, and describe how natural selection drives evolution. The Scientific Method Be able to describe the criteria which must be met for an explanation to qualify as a scientific hypothesis. Be able to explain the major steps in the scientific method. Be able to explain the role of experimental controls. Be able to contrast a hypothesis with a theory. Be able to explain the difference between a scientist’s use of the words theory, hypothesis, and significant and the general public's use of these words. Be able to explain why the phrase, "I can't explain this observation," is sometimes required of good scientists. Be able to explain the relationship between generally accepted beliefs and the rigor with which conflicting claims must be tested. Be able to describe and contrast science with pseudo-science and scientific misconduct.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

1. Criteria to be 'alive': organization (at different levels, from simple to complex levels), metabolism (ability to break down food, generate energy and make new biomass), reproduction (ability to create new beings that are alike the parents), responsiveness (to changes in environment and other conditions), growth (changes in body size, rates and other physical characteristics), maintenance of homeostatis (maintenance of internal environment at almost uniform conditions), etc. you can think of all these characteristics and compare say, a dog and a plastic ball. A dog will display all these, while a ball will not reproduce, metabolize, grow or respond to changes in environment; and hence is not alive.

2. For this, you will need pictures and images of the listed entities.

3. There are seven taxonomic ranks:(from smallest to largest) species, genus, family, order, class, phylum, kingdom and domain.

4. Binomial name: genus followed by species, such as Homo sapiens and Escherichia coli. The names are always italicized, with genus name capitalized. 

5. Observations that lead to natural selection: were made during Charles Darwin's voyage. He observed overpopulation, constancy in numbers, variations in individuals within same population and like produces like.  Only the species that are naturally selected or favored by nature (through natural selection) will carry on and others will die out. Evolution of such species will take place over time in order to survive and adaptation will be their only option.  

6. A scientific hypothesis must be testable (one can test it), parsimonious, fruitful (has future applications for other works as well), has scope and is falsifiable (is open to testing and can be nullified by a single result).

7.Steps of scientific method: ask a question, do background research, formulate a hypothesis, test the hypothesis, data analysis, conclusion and communication of results.

8. Experimental controls help to compare the data of a situation with or without change and serves as base case. 

9. Hypothesis is a suggestion that is up for testing, theory is already tested (substantiated) and is an explanation for a set of verified hypothesis.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial