Explain how the process of cellular respiration is similar to the burning of fossil fuels (e.g., both processes involve combustion of carbon-containing compounds to transform chemical energy to a different form of energy).
Structures and Functions of Living Organisms
In prior grades students learned that all living systems are composed of cells which make up tissues, organs, and organ systems. In grades 9-11 students learn that cells have complex molecules and structures that enable them to carry out life functions such as photosynthesis and respiration and pass on their characteristics to future generations. Information for producing proteins and reproduction is coded in DNA and organized into genes in chromosomes. This elegant yet complex set of processes explains how life forms replicate themselves with slight changes that make adaptations to changing conditions possible over long periods of time. These processes that occur within living cells help students understand the commonalities among the diverse living forms that populate Earth today.
The gradual combustion of carbon-containing compounds within cells, called cellular respiration, provides the primary energy source of living organisms; the combustion of carbon by burning of fossil fuels provides the primary energy source for most of modern society.