Ch 1: MCAS STE Biology: Chemistry of Life

About This Chapter

The video lessons in this chapter will help you review the chemistry of biological organisms so you can prepare for these kinds of questions on the MCAS STE Biology exam.

MCAS STE Biology: Chemistry of Life - Chapter Summary

Having an understanding of the chemistry of life will help you explain how organisms perform the functions involved in everyday living. By the end of this chapter, you will have reviewed:

  • Proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates and lipids
  • The six elements found in all biological organisms
  • Structure and function of carbohydrates
  • Design and activity of lipids
  • Arrangement and purpose of proteins
  • Amino acids, polymerization and peptide bonds involved in proteins
  • The four structures of proteins
  • Function and framework of the 20 amino acids
  • Structure of nucleic acids and phosphodiester bonds found in DNA
  • Adenine, guanine, cytosine, thymine and complementary base pairing in DNA
  • Difference between DNA and RNA and the different types of RNA

Each lesson has been developed to help you easily absorb and retain the information being covered. The lessons contain short videos along with transcripts to provide visual and text-based learning. Use the timeline below each video if you need to review a particular portion of the lesson. Take the self-assessment quiz at the end of each lesson to test your knowledge and get a preview of the types of questions you may see on the exam.

MCAS STE Biology: Chemistry of Life Chapter Objectives

The MCAS STE Biology exam is a standardized test taken by high school students in Massachusetts. The exam is one of four Science and Technology/Engineering exams taken by high school students and assesses students' level of proficiency in biology as decided by the Massachusetts Curriculum Framework. The exam focuses on five main areas of content. The material covered in this chapter will prepare you for questions related to biochemistry and cell biology, which account for 25% of the total score.

The MCAS STE Biology exam is comprised of 40 multiple-choice questions and 5 open-ended responses. Students need to pass one of the four MCAS STE exams with a score of 220 or higher to qualify for high school graduation.

12 Lessons in Chapter 1: MCAS STE Biology: Chemistry of Life
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Six Elements Common to Biological Organisms

1. Six Elements Common to Biological Organisms

All living things have six key elements in common. Here, we'll examine those six elements, describe their properties and find out why they're crucial to life.

Major Elements in Biological Molecules: Proteins, Nucleic Acids, Carbohydrates & Lipids

2. Major Elements in Biological Molecules: Proteins, Nucleic Acids, Carbohydrates & Lipids

Bacterial cells have complex macromolecules built from simple molecules. In this lesson, we will look at the major elements in the building blocks of proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, and lipids.

Structure and Function of Carbohydrates

3. Structure and Function of Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are found in many foods that we eat and may be found as sugars, starches, or fiber. Learn more about these three distinct types of carbohydrates, and how they are distinguished through their chemical structures in this lesson.

Structure and Function of Lipids

4. Structure and Function of Lipids

Molecules called lipids have long hydrocarbon chains that determine the way they act. They can be fats, oils, or hormones, and even exist in our cell membranes. Learn more about the chemical structure and biological function of various lipids in this lesson.

Proteins I: Structure and Function

5. Proteins I: Structure and Function

We need our proteins, not just as a major food group but for the many useful roles that they play in our bodies. In our introductory lesson to proteins, you'll learn about the many functions we rely on them to perform.

Proteins II: Amino Acids, Polymerization and Peptide Bonds

6. Proteins II: Amino Acids, Polymerization and Peptide Bonds

In this lesson, we'll take a deeper look at amino acids. You'll learn what makes a peptide, and what separates a protein from other kinds of amino acid bonds.

Proteins III: Structure and Characteristics of the 20 Amino Acids

7. Proteins III: Structure and Characteristics of the 20 Amino Acids

How do amino acids form the intricate polypeptide chains found in proteins? It's a matter of chemistry. Join glycine, a special amino acid, as she sizes up the other amino acids.

Proteins IV: Primary, Secondary, Tertiary and Quaternary Structure

8. Proteins IV: Primary, Secondary, Tertiary and Quaternary Structure

How is progressing through higher order protein structures like crafting an essay? In this lesson, you'll explore everything from quaternary structures to denaturation as we show how the different structures are intertwined.

DNA: Chemical Structure of Nucleic Acids & Phosphodiester Bonds

9. DNA: Chemical Structure of Nucleic Acids & Phosphodiester Bonds

In this lesson, you'll discover what nucleotides look like and how they come together to form polynucleotides. We'll also explore nucleic acids and focus on DNA in particular.

DNA: Adenine, Guanine, Cytosine, Thymine & Complementary Base Pairing

10. DNA: Adenine, Guanine, Cytosine, Thymine & Complementary Base Pairing

Learn the language of nucleotides as we look at the nitrogenous bases adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine. Armed with this knowledge, you'll also see why DNA strands must run in opposite directions.

DNA: Discovery, Facts, Structure & Function in Heredity

11. DNA: Discovery, Facts, Structure & Function in Heredity

This lesson will help you to navigate the twists and turns of DNA's structure. We'll also clue you in on the amazing discoveries that put this nucleic acid in the limelight as the molecule of heredity.

Differences Between RNA and DNA & Types of RNA (mRNA, tRNA & rRNA)

12. Differences Between RNA and DNA & Types of RNA (mRNA, tRNA & rRNA)

In this lesson, you'll explore RNA structure and learn the central dogma of molecular biology. Along the way, you'll meet the three types of RNA and see how the cell uses them most effectively.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

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