Preparing for Subject Matter Examinations: General Science Content Standards, State of California, 2003

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Domain 1: Astronomy

Candidates for General Science understand that knowledge of the structure and composition of the universe can be learned from studying stars and galaxies and their evolution. They recognize that objects in the sky move in regular and predictable patterns. Candidates explain how and why the moon's appearance changes during the four-week lunar cycle. They understand how telescopes magnify the appearance of distant object in the sky, including the moon and the planets. They realize that the solar system consists of planets and other bodies that orbit the sun in predictable paths.

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Domain 2: Dynamic Processes of the Earth (Geosciences)

Candidates for General Science Subject Matter Exams understand the Earth's features can be explained by a variety of dynamic processes that have occurred in the past and continue to occur. They understand that plate tectonics account for most of the important features of Earth's surface and major geologic events. Candidates explain how surficial processes and agents such as waves, wind, water, and ice are slowly modifying Earth's land surface. They understand how weathering, transport, and deposition of sediment are related to this reshaping. Candidates are familiar with evidence from rocks that allows us to understand geologic history and the evolution of life on Earth. They can use observed properties of rocks and minerals to determine their process of formation. Candidates understand that most of the energy on Earth comes from the sun. They know that energy from the sun heats Earth unevenly, causing air movements that result in changing weather patterns. They use their understanding of heat to explain the many phenomena on Earth's surface that are affected by the transfer of energy through radiation and convection

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Click here to access THE ATMOSPHERE and ATMOSPHERIC EFFECTS

Domain 3: Earth's Resources

Candidates know there are many different natural energy and material resources including air, soil, rocks, minerals, petroleum, fresh water, wildlife, and forests, and know how to classify them as renewable or nonrenewable. They realize that sources of energy and materials differ in amounts, distribution, usefulness and the time required for their formation. Candidates understand that the utility of energy sources is determined by factors that are involved in converting these sources to useful forms and the consequences of conversion process. They know the natural origin of materials used to make common objects.

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Domain 4: Ecology

Candidates understand how organisms in ecosystems exchange energy and nutrients among themselves and with the environment. They can identify factors that affect organisms within an ecosystem, including natural hazards and human activity.

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Domain 5: Genetics and Evolution

Candidates understand that a typical cell of any organism contains genetic instructions that specify its traits. They can explain how biological evolution accounts for the diversity of species that developed through gradual processes over many generations. Candidates can describe evidence used to explain the evolution of life on the earth.

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Domain 6: Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

Candidates understand and apply the principles of chemistry that underlie the functioning of biological systems. They describe the properties of biochemical compounds that make them essential to life.

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Domain 7: Cell and Organismal Biology

Candidates understand that that all living organisms are composed of cells and explain important cellular processes. They describe and give exammples of how the anatomy and physiology of plants and animals illustrate the complementary nature of structure and function. Candidates demonstrate understanding of physical principles thatunderlie biological structures and functions. Then apply these principles to important biological systems.

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Domain 8: Waves

Candidates understand that all waves have a common set of characteristics properties. They apply their knowledge of these properties to describe and predict the behavior of waves, including light waves, sound waves and seismic waves. Candidates apply the simple principles of optics to explain how various lenses work.

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Domain 9: Forces and Motion

Candidates describe the motion of an object and understand the relationships among its velocity, speed, distance, time and acceleration. Candidates use Newton's laws to predict the motion of objects.

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Domain 10: Electricity and Magnetism

Candidates understand that electric and magnetic phenomena are related. They use knowledge of electricity and magnetism to explain many practical applications.

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Domain 11: Heat Transfer and Thermodynamics

Candidates explain how heat flows in a predicable manner. They understand that energy cannot be created or destroyed, although in many processes energy is transferred to the environment as heat. Candidates apply their knowledge to explain how many phenomena on Earth's surface are affected by the transfer of energy through radiation and convection currents.

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Domain 12: Structure and Properties of Matter

Candidates know that more than 100 elements of matter exist, each with distinct properties and a distinct atomic structure. They describe both macroscopic and microscopic properties of matter including intermolecular and intramolecular forces. They know that the organization of the periodic table is based on the properties of the elements and reflects the structure of atoms. Candidates understand how the periodic table is constructed and the periodic trends in chemical and physical properties that can be seen in the table. They recognize chemical reactions as processes that involve the rearrangement of electrons to break and form bonds with different atomic partners. Candidates demonstrate understanding of the principles of chemistry that underlie the function of biological systems.

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