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Life Science

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Eligibility: CTY-level or Advanced CTY-level math score required

Prerequisites: Completion of grade 5 math

Course Format: Individually paced

Course Length: Typically 3 months

Recommended School Credit: One-half academic year

Course Code: LIF

Course Description


CTY Online Programs’ middle school science series includes individually paced Life Science, Physical Science, and Earth and Space Science courses. Students who are interested in scientific inquiry, problem solving, and critical thinking are engaged through a vibrant online environment with graphics, animations, video, real-time feedback, activities, projects, and tests. Students apply knowledge and reinforce concepts learned in the lessons with “real world” interactive applications that build critical thinking and reinforce skills. The content in the middle school science series correlates to state and national curriculum standards and draws on software provided by Edmentum.

The first three units of the course deal with the study of all types of living organisms, such as microorganisms, plants, animals, and humans. The field focuses on their organization and life processes. It begins with the basic unit of life—the cell. Students discover how cells build up tissues, organs, and systems. In addition, they study the growth and development processes of different organisms and see how genes are responsible for the traits of organisms. They also explore natural selection and artificial selection and their effects on the genetic traits of organisms. In the last three units of the course, students learn how life evolved on Earth. They analyze fossil data to determine the evidence it provides about evolution; they study ecosystems, the flow of energy in an ecosystem, and the various relationships in an ecosystem. In addition, students discover the interdependence that is present in all ecosystems.

  • Unit 1: Cells
  • Unit 2: The Life Cycle
  • Unit 3: Genes
  • Unit 4: Evolution
  • Unit 5: Energy Flow in Ecosystems
  • Unit 6: The Interdependence of Ecosystems

This course does not have any synchronous class meetings, but students may schedule one-on-one virtual meetings directly with the instructor to answer questions or concerns.

Videos from YouTube or other web providers may be present in this course. Video recommendations or links provided at end of videos are generated by the video host provider and are not CTY recommendations.

Materials Needed

This course includes two hands-on projects, but the materials needed will be dependent upon which project options are chosen.

Detailed Course Information

  • Use the steps of the scientific method to plan an investigation, use evidence to explain that living things are made up of cells, and create a model that shows cellular organelles.
  • Conduct an investigation of cells and use evidence to argue that the human body is made up of tissues, organs, and systems.
  • Use life cycle models to compare and contrast the growth and development of different organisms.
  • Perform an experiment and use the results to predict whether a cabbage plant will be genetically identical or different from its parents, and identify the reproductive parts of a flower.
  • Develop an argument that explains how animal behaviors and special plant structures affect an organism’s chances for reproduction.
  • Create a Venn diagram to compare the characteristics of different types of organisms.
  • Evaluate your own genetic characteristics, investigate different patterns of inheritance, and identify the causes and effects of genetic mutations
  • Construct an explanation that describes how some traits increase an individual’s probability of surviving.
  • Explain why genetic diversity allows a species to adapt to its environment, and create an explanation to show the causes and effects of shifting genetic diversity.
  • Model the geological process that makes fossils from leaves.
  • Explain how the characteristics of living and extinct organisms can be used to construct an evolutionary lineage.
  • Classify organisms based on their shared characteristics, and explain why embryos and anatomical similarities of different species provide evidence of evolution.
  • Explain the role of photosynthesis in the cycling of matter and flow of energy, and develop a model that shows how organisms use food to create energy for growth and development.


Technical Requirements

This course requires a properly maintained computer with high-speed internet access and an up-to-date web browser (such as Chrome or Firefox). The student must be able to communicate with the instructor via email. Visit the Technical Requirements and Support page for more details.

Zoom online virtual classroom
This course uses an online virtual classroom which can be used for instructor-student communication if the student has any questions about the course or curriculum. The classroom works on standard computers with the Zoom desktop client and also tablets or handhelds that support the Zoom Mobile app. Students will need a computer with the Zoom desktop client installed to watch any recorded meetings. The Zoom desktop client and Zoom Mobile App are both available for free download.

This course uses Respondus LockDown Browser proctoring software for designated assessments. LockDown Browser is a client application that is installed to a local computer. Visit the Respondus website for system requirements.

While Chromebook can be used to progress through the course, all exams must be completed on a PC or Mac.



CTY Online Programs Science - Comments and Feedback from Students, Parents, and Teachers



"Fabulous course! The content is informative and appropriately challenging for this age level, well-organized and interesting. I think my daughter liked the experiments the best. I anticipate that she will also take the Biology and Chemistry courses in the future. Thank you!"

"The instructor was extremely positive and attentive. We especially loved her interactive 'question of the week' which challenged my son to do his own scientific research and inspired discussions about how science is applied to real life at our dinner table. Excellent course."

"The instructor is truly outstanding. She had a tremendously positive impact on my son. In addition to helping him build a richer understanding of the course material, she helped him to further develop self-confidence and determination."