Biology is the science of living organisms and their interactions with each other and the environment. The study of biology involves collecting and interpreting information about the natural world to identify patterns and relate possible cause and effect. Biological information is used to help humans improve their own lives and strive to create a sustainable world for future generations.
We focus on the applications of Biology using Scientific concepts to explain these, for example:
• students will learn how the heart functions; they will then explain how heart conditions are treated using operative procedures and implants
• students will investigate the effects of varying light intensity, the wavelength of light, carbon dioxide concentration and temperature on the rate of photosynthesis. They will analyse their data and use this to draw conclusions about the relationships of these factors to the graphical distribution of plants in different habitats.
Meet the team:
Mrs. G. Sutton Head of Science / Head of Biology
Ms C Heald Teacher of Science / Biology
Mr J Hillary Teacher of Science / Biology
Mrs D Dunn Biology Technician (PT)
Mrs K Volp Biology Technician (PT)
Year 12 students visit Chester Zoo where they develop their understating of the role of Zoo’s in conservation. Year 12 and 13 students attend a range of Biological and Medical based lectures. There are Field work opportunities in Years 10 and 13 where students develop their ecological fieldwork techniques. Undergraduate and Postgraduate Biological scientists deliver sessions to Year 10 students actively promoting a range of Biological Sciences career opportunities. Gifted and Talented Year 13 students participate in the Biology Olympiad completion. For the past three years our students also delivered a range of Biological activities to visitors at the Cheshire Show and Gardening club students have entered the Schools competition at the RHS show at Tatton Park.
We also run a range of opportunities for KS2 students to visit the school and work in the Science laboratories; this provides an opportunity for our older students to deliver activities and developing skills essential for their University UCAS application.
What will be taught?
Science is a knowledge and skills-based subject. The course is designed to build on the knowledge and skills developed at KS2 encouraging students to analyse trends and patterns in the scientific observations they make.
Science in Year 9 is taught as Separate Sciences by Biology specialists. Between September and December we finish the KS3 Curriculum before starting the GCSE Science curriculum in January. Students will sit an end of KS3 Examination in January.
The KS3 topics Digestion and Respiration are taught in term 1. We also cover GCSE ISA (Controlled assessment) skills.
KS4: (Core Science topics)
• Keeping Healthy: Diet and exercise, Obesity and the factors influencing this, Pathogens and disease, Immunity, Using drugs to treat disease, Growing and investigating bacteria, How we deal with disease
• Coordination and control: Hormones and the nervous system, Control of fertility, Hormones used to control plant growth
Year 10 Core Science unit
• Medicine and Drugs: Developing new medicines, How effective are medicines, Legal and illegal drugs, investigating the validity of the claims of the ‘gateway effect’ of hard drugs, Drugs in sport
• Adaptation for Survival: Adaptations in plants and animals, Competition in plants and animals, Measuring the impacts of environmental change, The impacts of environmental change
• Energy in Biomass: Pyramids of biomass, Energy transfers, Decay, The carbon cycle, Recycling organic waste
• Variation, Reproduction and New Technology: Inheritance, Types of reproduction, Genetic and environmental variation, Cloning, Genetic engineering, Making choices about the uses of new technology
• Evolution: Theories of evolution, Accepting Darwin’s ideas, Natural selection, Classification
Additional Science unit
• Cells, Tissues and Organs: Plant and animal cells, Bacteria and Yeast, Specialised Cells, Diffusion, Tissues and organs, organ systems
• Organisms in the environment: Photosynthesis, Limiting factors, How plants use glucose, Manipulating photosynthesis to optimise crop production, Ecological fieldwork
• Enzymes: Factors affecting enzyme action, practical skills development, Enzymes in digestion, Making use of enzymes in industry and the home
• We also complete a mock and full GCSE ISA in the summer term. We may need to alter the order we teach the Additional Science topics in order to complete the controlled assessment.
Year 11 (Additional Science unit continued)
• Energy from Respiration: Aerobic and anaerobic respiration, The effects of exercise on respiration rate
• Simple inheritance in plants and animals: DNA structure, Mitosis and Meiosis, Stem cells, The work of Mendel and Monohybrid inheritance, Genetic conditions affecting humans, Stem cells and embryos – Science and ethics
• Old and New Species: The origins of life on Earth, Fossil evidence, Extinction, Evolution
Further Science unit (Triple Science Option Students only) – this unit requires students to apply knowledge and understanding from other areas of the course (making synoptic links)
• Exchange of materials: Osmosis, Active transport, Gas and nutrient exchange in plants and animals, Transpiration in plants, Artificial breathing aids
• Transporting materials: Heart and circulation, Transport into and out of the blood, Transport systems in plants, The development of artificial blood
• Homeostasis: The kidney, Dialysis and kidney transplants, controlling body temperature and blood glucose levels, Treating diabetes
• How humans can affect the environment: Land, air and water pollution, deforestation and peat destruction, Global warming, Biofuels and Biogas generation, Efficient and sustainable food production, Environmental issues
How will Students be assessed at KS3 and 4?
Pupils are assessed by marked homework, termly common assessments, project tasks and Unit mock examinations.
Key 5 (2014 – 2016)
The AS Biology course content:
Unit 1: Lifestyle, transport, genes and health (Examined in January of the AS year)
Topic 1: Heart disease is one of the UK’s biggest killers — what makes it so common? You will learn more about the circulatory system and the kinds of lifestyle choices, such as diet and exercise, that put you more, or less, at risk of suffering from heart disease.
You will find out how some parts of the body work, for example, about the lungs and how materials are transported around the body, and the role of enzymes.
Topic 2: You will also learn about genetics and what can happen if errors occur during the replication of DNA, considering the social and ethical issues raised by genetic screening and gene therapy.
Unit 2: Development, plants and the environment (Examined in May of the AS year.
Topic 3: Do you know how you came to have your natural hair colour? You will learn that your physical characteristics have been determined by your genetic makeup and influenced by the environment. In doing so, you will learn some cell biology, about the two main types of cell division and the purpose of each type, and about sexual reproduction.
Topic 4: Have you also ever wondered how there came to be so many different types of organisms in the world, ranging from microscopic organisms such as viruses to huge mammals such as whales? This unit explains the term biodiversity, and also the concept of natural selection and how it can lead to adaptation which drives evolution.
In this unit you will also learn about plants and their structure, and how the properties of some plants may be used to tackle issues such as sustainability.
How will I be assessed at A level?
Assessment at AS Level
Units 1 and 2 are externally assessed written examination papers, each lasting 90 minutes. The papers will contain objective questions, short questions and longer questions.
Unit 3 is externally assessed. During the course your teacher will observe you carrying out practical work for which you will receive an overall mark. You will also receive a mark for producing a report on an application of biology seen during a visit or an area of personal interest. This is worth 20% of the overall course marks at AS and 10% of the A2 marks.
A2 Biology Course Content
Unit 4: The Natural environment and species survival
Global warming and climate change are buzzwords that appear in media headlines and have been the source of much controversy and political divide. So which side are you on and why? You will learn about the different types of evidence for global warming and the possible causes of it, and the effect it will have on animals and plants. You will also learn about ecology, photosynthesis and speciation.
This unit covers the fascinating area of immunology — the war that goes on between our immune system and pathogens. You will learn what defences the body has against invading pathogens and how some micro-organisms, such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, can get the better of us by attacking our defences.
You will have the opportunity to look into the world of the forensic scientist and appreciate the application of scientific knowledge in this context.
Unit 5: Energy, exercise and coordination
All mammals, including humans, have similar physiologies that facilitate movement. Why is it rare to find an athlete who is both a sprinter and a marathon runner? In this unit you will build on your knowledge about joints and movement, and learn more about the precise mechanism of skeletal muscle contraction, respiration and homeostasis in the context of exercise.
The brain is the most complicated, and probably least understood organ in the body. It has the complex task of coordinating our bodily functions and movement, making sense of all the sensory information it receives, as well as storing our thoughts, emotions and memories. As the brain is such a complicated and vital organ, there is a lot of potential for it to go wrong which can have drastic effects on the health of the person. You will also look at the effects of disease and drugs on the brain and how these effects, in turn, affect the body and the mind.
How will I be assessed?
Assessment at A Level
Units 4 and 5 are externally assessed written examination papers each lasting for 90 and 105 minutes respectively. The papers will contain objective questions, short questions and longer questions. Unit 5 also contains synoptic questions and a Case study covering all of the units 1 to 5. Both of the A2 examination papers are sat in June of the A2 year.
Unit 6 is externally assessed. You will use the skills that you have gained throughout the course to plan an investigation and carry out an ecological studies investigation of your choice. Everybody will investigate different aspects of biology; this is a unique opportunity to undertake investigative research into a topic of your choice.
How can you help at home?
GCSE Biology. Resources available to you to support your independent study.
Your teachers will assess your progress in four ways:
• Your completion of tasks during lessons
• The responses you give in homeworks tasks
• Progress and topic test results
• Spot short tests on any of the topics already covered to check you are continually reviewing work
They will use the outcomes of these assessments to decide how to move forwards in topics and decide what knowledge or skill students need support in developing.
What do you need to be doing?
This is a linear GCSE course. You will sit three hours of examinations at the end of the course and will need to learn 2 ½ years of theory and skills per science subject. You will not be able to do this in the weeks or even the months on the run up to the examination. It is essential that you undertake sufficient independent study (and this will vary for different students). To truly rote learn all of the content off by heart you will need to revisit topics little and often. In Biology students need to relate detailed knowledge and understanding together to explain unfamiliar concepts.
To enable you to do this we have provided you will a range of resources:
Kerboodle: (accessed via the school website) this is an online resource used by the Science and Language Departments for GCSE students. Your teacher will provide you with a username and password (same for Science and MFL). On this Vle you will have access to the electronic versions of the Science AQA text books as well as numerous revision activities (eg interactive tests, podcasts, tests with answers etc). Your teachers will also be setting some activities for homework to encourage you to use this site.
How do I login to Kerboodle?
1) Google ‘Kerboodle login’ or
2) Google ‘Stretford Grammar School’ to access the school intranet from home. Then click on the ‘students’ tab at the top of the page and scroll down and click on ‘Interactive Learning’; find the Kerboodle icon and click on this.
3) Login using the password and user name your science teacher has given you. The organisation code is 5305. Click login.
4) Click on ‘Join a teaching group’ this is a black tab at the top of the page.
5) Find the name of your class eg 10TC Mrs Sutton and click on ‘join group’. Enter the group code (issued by your teacher).
6) Then click on the ‘Home’ tab and click on ‘My Courses’.
7) Click on ‘Biology GCSE for AQA’. You can now launch the Kerboodle text book and access the resources your teacher has allocated to you.
Moodle: this is the schools Vle and can be accessed from the schools website. If you go to my courses and click on Core Biology year 10 you will find all of the materials that Mrs Sutton uses in lessons. This is useful if you need look at a PowerPoint again or have lost a sheet. It is also useful if you are absent and need to see what was covered in the lesson you missed. You will also find past paper questions on each topic that you can use for independent study.
R-Drive: I have placed all of my lesson resources and past paper questions in the Yr 10 Student shared area – Biology folder.
AQA website: if you go to subjects, then click on science. Then click on Biology 4401. On the left hand side of the page you will find access to the full past papers.
If you have difficulty with your work the Biology teachers are available during lunchtime sessions, see notices on classroom doors for details.
What is independent study?
• Doing your homework
• Reading over class notes / topics already covered on a regular basis
• Using the resources listed above to test your learning of topic content
• Using past paper questions to learn how to answer questions
• Watching documentaries, reading round the subject to extend your understanding
How do I revise and learn work off by heart?
• Go over work little and often
• Make revision notes / diagrams / posters
• Use the online resources to test yourself
• Teach a younger sibling, carer or friend a topic
• Check your understanding by answering past paper questions; then use mark schemes to check how well you are doing
• Write questions and quiz your friends in school
A Level resources available to support your independent study:
A Level Biology resources
Students will need to access the school network (student shared / R drive) and the Vle (Moodle) to complete a lot of their work. They can do this from school and from home. Students are also advised to purchase a memory stick on which they can back up their work.
• From School: To access the school network from school you will require a log in and password from the IT network manager, change your password to something memorable. The School intranet page will open after you log on. You will be able to access the student shared area (R – Drive – Year 12 Folder – AS Biology Folder) which will contain all of the biology resources.