Biological Science

S3 BIOLOGY

COURSE DESCRIPTION

 The S3 Biology course is made up of a broad and up-to-date selection of topics reflecting the vital place of Biology in today’s world.  An experimental and investigative approach is used to develop knowledge and understanding of Biology. The course covers three units, detailed below.

Unit One:  Cell Biology

Unit 1 studies the building blocks of all forms of life – cells. It looks at the processes which keep all organisms alive and investigates the role of DNA alongside inherited diseases. Pupils carry out various experiments to examine how organisms can be useful to us in different industries. Pupils have opportunities to debate hot topics such as DNA profiling and genetic modification (GM).

Unit Two: Multicellular Organisms

Unit 2 studies reproduction in different forms of life, leading on to looking at growth and development. In particular, pupils will investigate what is required to lead healthy lives. Within the next section of inheritance, pupils will examine how features are passed down from parents to their offspring. The final part of the topic studies how the body controls factors such as temperature and sugar levels, finishing off with a research project on diabetes.

Unit Three: Life on Earth

Unit 3 focuses on our environment, starting off by looking at different regions of our planet. Much of the learning will take place outside the classroom, examining and measuring both living and non-living parts of our surroundings. Pupils will investigate the problems which occur as a result of our human population increasing and carry out experiments to understand how to produce enough food for everyone. Pupils will also research what can be done to prevent these problems, including conservation of endangered species. The topic will finish off by looking at the different ways organisms have evolved over millions of years.

SKILLS DEVELOPMENT

During the course, pupils will be supported to design and carry out a range of experiments. This will allow them to collect and discuss results, helping to improve their calculations and analysis skills. Pupils will be expected to work in groups for many experiments and therefore will get the opportunity to develop team work skills. They will be involved in various debates and get the opportunity to develop and share their opinions on many different biology related topics. Pupil will also carry out a research project in each unit which will help them to develop the skills required to collect, process and present information.

ASSESSMENT

Evidence of progress will be judged on a combination of in class assessment, self and peer assessment, homework and a more formal end of unit test. During practical work in class, pupils will be assessed on their ability to carry out and write up experiments. During research projects, pupils will be assessed on their presentation produced.

S4 BIOLOGY

COURSE DESCRIPTION

The N4/5 course is made up of a broad and up-to-date selection of topics reflecting the vital place of Biology in today’s world.  An experimental and investigative approach is used to develop knowledge and understanding of Biology. The course covers three units:

Unit One:  Cell Biology

In this unit, pupils will focus on the biology of cells. The key areas covered are the basic cell structure and the role of the cell membrane in transport (N5) or the uses of micro organism cells (N4). This leads onto DNA, the production of proteins with a particular focus on the role of enzymes and the process of genetic engineering. Finally, pupils will examine how the process of respiration enables the cell to produce the energy it requires.

Unit Two: Multicellular Organisms

In this unit, pupils will look at living organisms on a larger scale. Pupils will examine how organisms produce new cells and the role of stem cells in growth and regeneration. This leads on to looking at the different ways the body can communicate through nerves and hormones and involve a case study on diabetes. After examining the process of reproduction in animals and plants, pupils will develop the skills to understand the topic of genetics and predict how inherited features are passed down from parents to their offspring. Finally, pupils at N5 will study different transport and absorption systems in plants and animals whilst N4s will investigate growth and development of different organisms.

Unit Three: Life on Earth

In this unit, pupils will study the environment and use outdoor learning to grasp some of the key factors which affect the natural world. Pupils will investigate different ecosystems and develop skills to measure different parts of the environment. After examining the process of photosynthesis, pupils will look at energy in an ecosystem, leading into a study of methods for providing sufficient food for the human population. Finally, pupils will examine the process of adaptations and evolution and discover the ways in which living organisms behave and adapt to changing environments.

SKILLS DEVELOPMENT

The purpose of the course is to encourage an interest and enthusiasm for Biology. The skills of scientific inquiry and investigation will be developed through the course by investigating how we use Biology in the world today. This will enable pupils to become a scientifically literate citizens, able to review the science-based claims they will meet in everyday life on TV, in magazines and online.

During the course, pupils will be supported to design and carry out a range of experiments. This will allow them to collect and discuss results, helping to improve their calculations and analysis skills. Pupils will be expected to work in groups for many experiments and therefore will get the opportunity to develop team work skills. They will be involved in various debates and get the opportunity to develop and share their opinions on many different biology related topics. Pupil will also carry out a research project which will involve them demonstrating the skills of collating and summarising information along with processing, presenting and summarising data. This will be assessed as an AV unit (N4) or an assignment (N5).

ASSESSMENT

 N4

There is no end of year exam for N4. An assessment exists at the end of each unit which all pupils must pass. Pupils will also have to pass an ‘Outcome 1’ assessment where they plan, carry out and write up an experiment from part of the course. In addition, pupils must also pass a research project (Added Value-AV unit)

N5

An end of unit assessment exists at the end of each unit. For National 5, the final course assessment consists of 80% through an SQA exam and 20% through an externally marked assignment. The assignment will be researched and prepared in class and then written up under exam conditions.

This Biology course can lead to a wide variety of STEM jobs; from vet, dentistry and medicine through laboratory work in hospitals, forensic science, archaeology, biotechnology, brewing / distilling, beauty therapy, sports science, farming and forestry to business and management, where Biology is seen as an excellent “all round” qualification.

USEFUL WEBSITES

BBC bitesize National 4 Biology:                        www.bbc.com/bitesize/subjects/z3ykjxs

BBC bitesize National 5 Biology:                        www.bbc.com/bitesize/subjects/zync87h

Oronsay Biology (National 5)                             www.oronsay.org/Nat5.htm

 

 HIGHER BIOLOGY

COURSE DESCRIPTION

The Higher course is designed to build on the work covered in the N5 course. Within each of the three units, the scale of topics ranges from molecular through to whole organism and beyond, including the most relevant applications of current biological understanding. The course covers three units:

Unit 1: DNA and the Genome

In this unit, you will focus on study of DNA and the genome. The unit covers the key areas of DNA structure and replication followed on by the process of protein synthesis and its control. The process of cellular differentiation is introduced, leading onto the structure of the genome and genomic sequencing; mutations and their effects and the process of evolution.
Unit 2: Metabolism and Survival

This unit includes the detailed study of the processes essential to cell survival. The unit covers the key areas of chemical pathways and their control, leading onto detailed analysis of cell respiration. The measurement of metabolic rate and differences seen in various organisms are examined alongside the ability of organisms to survive in adverse conditions. Control of growth of different microorganisms is studied, followed on by the hazards and control of risks associated with growing microorganisms.

Unit 3: Sustainability and Interdependence

In this unit, you will investigate how humans depend on sufficient and sustainable food production from a narrow range of crop and livestock species. You will focus in on areas such as food supply, photosynthesis and plant growth, plant and animal breeding, crop protection and animal welfare. The second section of this unit focuses on relationships between organisms, including primate behaviour, leading onto investigation of mass extinction and threats to biodiversity.

SKILLS DEVELOPMENT

 The purpose of the course is to continue to encourage an interest and enthusiasm for Biology. The skills of scientific inquiry and investigation will be further developed through the course by investigating how we use Biology in the world today at a Higher level. This will enable pupils to become a scientifically literate citizens, able to review the science-based claims they will meet in everyday life on TV, in magazines and online.

Pupils will be expected to complete more in depth problem solving including predicting, selecting, processing and analysing detailed information and complex data. Pupils will further develop team work through experimentation of a more independent nature. Pupils will be involved in various debates and get the opportunity to develop and share their opinions on Higher level related controversial topics. Pupil will also carry out a research project, similar to that found at N5 but of a more complex nature.

 ASSESSMENT

 An end of unit assessment exists at the end of each unit. For Higher Biology, the final course assessment consists of 80% through an SQA exam and 20% through an externally marked assignment. The assignment will be researched and prepared in class and then written up under exam conditions.

 USEFUL WEBSITES

BBC bitesize Higher Biology:                 www.bbc.com/bitesize/subjects/zm6tyrd

SCHOLAR                                             https://scholar.hw.ac.uk/

 HIGHER HUMAN BIOLOGY

COURSE DESCRIPTION

This course is designed to build on the work covered in the N5 course, focusing on the understanding of the human body. Within each of the units, the topics range from cellular through to whole organism and beyond, including the most relevant applications and technology associated with health and disease.

There are three units:

Unit 1: Human Cells

This unit examines how cells are built up into human organs and systems, enzymes and their importance, the process of respiration, DNA and its importance to the cell and finally moral issues associated with DNA technology

Unit 2: Physiology and Health

This unit studies human reproduction, pregnancy and health technology, the cardiovascular system and common diseases such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes and strokes.

Unit 3: Neurobiology and Immunology

The first half of this unit investigates the human brain and nervous system, memory and learning, nervous system related diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and finally recreational drugs and their effects. The second half of this unit investigates the human defences against disease, issues surrounding infectious diseases and strategies available to prevent the spread of disease.

SKILLS DEVELOPMENT

 The purpose of the course is to continue to encourage an interest and enthusiasm for Biology. The skills of scientific inquiry and investigation will be further developed through the course by investigating how we use Biology in the world today at a Higher level. This will enable pupils to become a scientifically literate citizens, able to review the science-based claims they will meet in everyday life on TV, in magazines and online.

Pupils will be expected to complete more in depth problem solving including predicting, selecting, processing and analysing detailed information and complex data. Pupils will further develop team work through experimentation of a more independent nature. Pupils will be involved in various debates and get the opportunity to develop and share their opinions on Higher level related controversial topics. Pupil will also carry out a research project, similar to that found at N5 but of a more complex nature.

 ASSESSMENT

 An end of unit assessment exists at the end of each unit. For Higher Biology, the final course assessment consists of 80% through an SQA exam and 20% through an externally marked assignment. The assignment will be researched and prepared in class and then written up under exam conditions.

USEFUL WEBSITES

BBC bitesize Higher Biology:                 www.bbc.com/bitesize/subjects/zm6tyrd

(the first topic shares a significant amount of the same content as Higher Biology)

SCHOLAR                                             https://scholar.hw.ac.uk/

ADVANCED HIGHER

 COURSE DESCRIPTION

 Advanced Higher Biology is designed to build on the work covered in the Higher and Higher Human Biology course. The course provides pupils with the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the cell and the processes which control it. It also considers the major drivers of evolution and the techniques which can be used to observe and measure it.  The course finally provides a deeper understanding of the process of scientific investigation and enquiry.

The course consists of three units:

Unit 1: Cells and Proteins

This unit builds on understanding of the genome from Higher Biology. Pupils will develop knowledge and understanding of proteomics, protein structures; the various roles of proteins within the cell membrane; communication within a multicellular organism and control of cell division. The study of protein is primarily a laboratory-based activity, so the unit includes important laboratory techniques for biologists.

Unit 2: Organisms and Evolution

This unit builds on an understanding of natural selection, in the context of evolution.  Pupils will develop your understanding of evolution. This includes the role of sexual reproduction and parasitism in the evolution of organisms.  This unit covers suitable techniques for ecological field study. Methods of sampling and the classification and identification of organisms are introduced.

Unit 3: Investigative Biology

Pupils will develop a knowledge and understanding of the principles of investigative biology and scientific communication. The unit covers scientific principles and processes, experimentation and critical evaluation of biological research. Pupils will develop these skills through the key aspects of the scientific method.  The collection of experimental data will provide an opportunity to develop planning and organising skills. This unit is key in order to develop the skills required in the project.

In addition to three units, pupils are required to complete a project on the topic of their choice. This will be carried out with a significantly greater degree of autonomy and independent learning than previously experienced in Biology. Pupils will investigate a topic of their choice by designing, carrying out and writing up the experiment.

ASSESSMENT

 Each unit will be followed by an end of unit assessment which must be passed. Within the Investigative Biology unit, pupils will also have to design, carry out and write up an experiment of their choice. This will initially be on a small scale as a pilot study and then continued as part of your Advanced Higher Biology project. This must be passed in order to achieve an overall unit pass.

The overall course assessment consists of the project completed in school as well as the end of year SQA exam. Both of these are externally marked by the SQA and combined to award the final grade for the course.

 USEFUL WEBSITES

SCHOLAR                                             https://scholar.hw.ac.uk/

 

DYW – Scottish Baccalaureate in Science (S6 only)

The Scottish Baccalaureate in Science has been designed to provide a challenging and rewarding experience to provide a qualification which helps pupils stand out from the crowd when applying to university and to prepare them to excel in the international job market. It enables pupils to relate and apply their learning to real life contexts and is based on completion of an interdisciplinary project, which must link two STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects but whose topic is entirely chosen by the pupils. As well as linking subjects together, the pupil’s project must have a link to one of the following broad themes: employability, enterprise, citizenship, sustainable development or economic development. Pupils will be expected to work independently and to develop a range of links out with the school environment. Through completion of the project, pupils will be supported to extend your subject knowledge and helped to equip yourself with the generic skills, attitudes and independence and confidence necessary to make the successful transition into university and/or employment.

DYW – Practical Microbiology

This practical course offered through the Biology Department will introduce pupils to the skills needed to safely handle microbes in a lab. If successful, pupils will achieve an SQA SCQF level 5 unit: Working with Micro-organisms.

Pupils will learn about the different types of microbes that are handled in labs and develop skills that will allow them to handle these microbes safely in any lab around the world e.g. if a job or further study at college or university involves any microbiology.

This will involve activities including:

  • Understanding the principles of and practice in handling microbes safely.
  • Learning about growing media and pouring agar plates
  • Practicing techniques in transferring microbes
  • Learning how to assess their growth.
  • Study the growth of the microbes in more depth.
  • Understanding principles of and practice in observing microbes
  • Learn how to maintain laboratory notebook of work

Finding out about jobs/products produced locally that involve microbiology.

As this course seeks to develop a set of practical skills, there will be a number of opportunities to practice and when confident, the skills are assessed against the SQA standard. The background theory on microbes and their safe handling is assessed in a short written SQA test at the end of the unit.

 

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