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About This Sample Porfolio

The following portfolio materials were used by Joe Mahood's 1995-96 high school biology classes at Aragon High School in California. He developed and adapted materials from the Golden State Portfolio Project, the SESC group from Ohio, and ACT, an eleven state consortium working on assessment.

About last year's portfolio projects, Joe says, " One of the students' continuing problems is the esoteric grasp of what constitutes a concept in science. This year I'm going to help them see the applications and interconnections through the use of concept maps in 3D (a new experiment for me)."

Joe's working list of scientific concepts is adapted from the Golden State Exam Handbook. For interested users, he has included Themes in Science adapted from Addison Wesley .


Following is a list of questions that can be used to help students describe what theme, big idea or concept they are exploring. You may add more as they occur to you, please share them. Encourage tstudents to keep a journal of the different themes which appear in the different areas that you explore.


  • How are these items alike?
  • How are they different?
  • What role does energy play?
  • What is the source?
  • How has energy flowed through this system?
  • How is it similar/different to its predecessor?
  • How have advances in our knowledge/new discoveries led to change?
  • What patterns do you see in this process?
  • What patterns do you see in the way this item has changed within a certain period?
  • How is the shape of a structure related to its function?
  • What are the levels of organization in this system?
  • What is and isn't changing in the process or system we are studying?
  • What keeps the system from changing?
  • How do the parts of this system work together?
  • How would changing one part of this system affect the other parts?
[ source Addison-Wesley]

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