from A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (page 149)
An organism’s ability to sense and respond to its environment enhances its chance of surviving and reproducing. Animals have external and internal sensory receptors that detect different kinds of information, and they use internal mechanisms for processing and storing it. Each receptor can respond to different inputs (electromagnetic, mechanical, chemical), some receptors respond by transmitting impulses that travel along nerve cells. In complex organisms, most such inputs travel to the brain, which is divided into several distinct regions and circuits that serve primary roles, in particular functions such as visual perception, auditory perception, interpretation of perceptual information, guidance of motor movement, and decision making. In addition, some of the brain’s circuits give rise to emotions and store memories. Brain function also involves multiple interactions between the various regions to form an integrated sense of self and the surrounding world.
from NGSS Appendix E: Disciplinary Core Idea Progressions
from A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (pages 149-150)
By the end of grade 2. Animals have body parts that capture and convey different kinds of information needed for growth and survival—for example, eyes for light, ears for sounds, and skin for temperature or touch. Animals respond to these inputs with behaviors that help them survive (e.g., find food, run from a predator). Plants also respond to some external inputs (e.g., turn leaves toward the sun).
By the end of grade 5. Different sense receptors are specialized for particular kinds of information, which may then be processed and integrated by an animal’s brain, with some information stored as memories. Animals are able to use their perceptions and memories to guide their actions. Some responses to information are instinctive—that is, animals’ brains are organized so that they do not have to think about how to respond to certain stimuli.
By the end of grade 8. Each sense receptor responds to different inputs (electromagnetic, mechanical, chemical), transmitting them as signals that travel along nerve cells to the brain. The signals are then processed in the brain, resulting in immediate behaviors or memories. Changes in the structure and functioning of many millions of interconnected nerve cells allow combined inputs to be stored as memories for long periods of time.
By the end of grade 12. In complex animals, the brain is divided into several distinct regions and circuits, each of which primarily serves dedicated functions, such as visual perception, auditory perception, interpretation of perceptual information, guidance of motor movement, and decision making about actions to take in the event of certain inputs. In addition, some circuits give rise to emotions and memories that motivate organisms to seek rewards, avoid punishments, develop fears, or form attachments to members of their own species and, in some cases, to individuals of other species (e.g., mixed herds of mammals, mixed flocks of birds). The integrated functioning of all parts of the brain is important for successful interpretation of inputs and generation of behaviors in response to them.
A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (pages 149-150)