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The article addresses the issue of the level of complexity of practical work in science curricula and is focused on the discipline of Biology and Geology for high school. The level of complexity is seen in terms of the emphasis and types of practical work and, most important, in terms of its level of conceptual demand as given by the complexity of scientific knowledge, the degree of inter-relation between knowledges and the complexity of cognitive skills. The study also analyzes recontextualizing processes that may occur within the official recontextualizing field. The study is psychologically and sociologically grounded, particularly on Bernstein’s theory of pedagogic discourse. It uses a mixed methodology.