Biology

The Biology Department aims to provide students with an appreciation and enjoyment for Biology and establishes how this branch of science affects their everyday lives.

Biology is of value in a variety of careers such as: medicine, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, zoology, botany, horticulture, farming, science education, biotechnology, the environment, and scientific research.

 

S2 CfE Third Level Biology

Biology in S2 covers what we believe to be some of the most important and essential aspects of Biological Science. The course is designed to allow all pupils to have a greater understanding and appreciation of the world in which they live. Pupils who choose not to continue their studies in Biology further will still have the knowledge and ability to form a reasoned argument and be able to discuss and comment on current biological events in the news and media. They will also have a sound knowledge of the human body, which is an important aspect of health and wellbeing.

The course will be delivered in a style akin to National 4/5 teaching so that pupils become comfortable with the pace, difficulty and expectations of work in their exam years. Pupils are engaged in a combination of outdoor learning where they will complete fieldwork and classroom based activities. The year consists of two topics; Environmental Biology and Body System. In these contexts we will develop pupils’ skills, knowledge and confidence in Biology.

 

S3/4 National 5 Biology

The study of living organisms plays a crucial role in our everyday existence, and is an increasingly important subject in the modern world.  Advances in technologies have made this varied subject more exciting and relevant than ever. Biology affects everyone and aims to find solutions to many of the world’s problems. It explores the use of genetic modification to produce new plants and drugs, devising fertility treatments, curing genetic diseases, and developing new sources of food.

The Course aims to:

  • Develop scientific and analytical thinking skills in a biological context
  • Develop understanding of biological issues
  • Acquire and apply knowledge and understanding of biological concepts
  • Develop understanding of relevant applications of biology in society

The Course has three mandatory units:

Unit 1: Cell Biology

In this unit students will study cell structure; transport in a cell; DNA; production of proteins; chemical energy; respiration; photosynthesis; enzyme reactions and metabolic pathways.

Unit 2: Multicellular Organisms

In this unit students will study tissue structure; organs; control of biological processes; health and disease control; the digestive system; the circulation system; the breathing system; reproduction; reflex actions and inheritance.

Unit 3: Life on Earth

In this unit students will study biodiversity; distribution of life; ecosystems; energy flow; the nitrogen cycle; predator and prey interactions; adaptation; natural selection; animal behaviour and farming techniques.

Assessment

All Units are internally assessed on a pass/fail basis as follows: –

Component 1: Question Paper

The purpose of the Question paper is to provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate knowledge and understanding and the ability to solve problems in Biology. The question paper is worth 80% of the total mark.

Component 2: Assignment

The purpose of the Assignment is to demonstrate skills in scientific enquiry and the ability of the student to communicate their findings. The assignment is worth 20% of the total mark.

Progression

This course can lead to further study of Biology at Higher (leading to Advanced Higher in the following year) or to the study of National 5 in another science subject.

 

S5 Higher Biology

The Course develops scientific understanding of biological issues and aims to develop students’ interest in and enthusiasm for biology, by using a variety of approaches, with an emphasis on practical activities.
The Course aims to:

  • Develop scientific and analytical thinking skills in a biological context
  • Develop understanding of biological issues
  • Acquire and apply knowledge and understanding of biological concepts
  • Develop understanding of relevant applications of biology in society

The Course has three mandatory units:

DNA and the Genome

In this Unit, learners will develop knowledge through study of DNA and the genome. The Unit covers the key areas of structure of DNA; replication of DNA; control of gene expression; cellular differentiation; the structure of the genome; mutations; evolution; genomic sequencing. This Unit explores the molecular basis of evolution and biodiversity, while the unity of life is emphasised in the study of gene expression. This approach enables the development of both analytical thinking and problem solving skills in context. An understanding of gene expression, at the cellular level, leads to the study of differentiation in organisms. In addition, the Unit covers the evolution and structure of the genome and genomics, including personal genomics.

Metabolism and Survival

In this Unit, learners will develop knowledge by investigating the central metabolic pathways of ATP synthesis by respiration and how control of the pathways is essential to cell survival. The Unit covers the key areas of metabolic pathways and their control; cellular respiration; metabolic rate; metabolism in conformers and regulators; metabolism and adverse conditions; environmental control of metabolism; genetic control of metabolism; ethical considerations in use of microorganisms, hazards and control of risks. Analytical thinking and problem solving skills will be developed in context, through investigation of how cellular respiration is fundamental to metabolism and by examining the stages of respiration. In whole organisms, it considers adaptations for the maintenance of metabolism for survival. In addition, it examines the importance of the manipulation of metabolism in microorganisms, both in the laboratory and in industry, including ethical considerations.

Biology: Sustainability and Interdependence

In this Unit, learners will develop knowledge by investigating how humans depend on sufficient and sustainable food production from a narrow range of crop and livestock species, focusing on photosynthesis in plants. The Unit covers the key areas of food supply, plant growth and productivity; plant and animal breeding; crop protection; animal welfare; symbiosis; social behaviour; mass extinction and biodiversity. Analytical thinking and problem solving skills will be developed contextually within these topics. The importance of plant productivity and the manipulation of genetic diversity to maintain food security are emphasised. The Unit also covers interrelationships and dependence, through symbiosis and social behaviour. By studying biodiversity, the Unit attempts to measure, catalogue, understand and address the human impact, including mass extinction.

Course Assessment

The learner must pass all of the Units as well as the Course assessment. Course assessment will provide the basis for grading attainment in the Course award.

Component 1 — Question paper 100 marks

Component 2 — assignment 20 marks

Total marks — 120 marks

Entry to this Course is recommended to pupils with a National 5 B award or above, however learners with National 5 Biology Course or relevant component Units can consider taking the course over two years.

Progression

This Course or its units may provide progression to Advanced Higher Biology.

 

S6 Advanced Higher Biology
 


The Advanced Higher Biology Course is based on integrative ideas and unifying principles of modern biological science. The Course covers key aspects of life science at the molecular scale and extends to aspects of the biology of whole organisms that are among the major driving forces of evolution. Learners develop a sound theoretical understanding and practical experience of experimental investigative work in biological science. The Course has three mandatory units:

Biology: Cells and Proteins

This Unit builds on understanding of the genome from Higher Biology and Higher Human Biology. Learners will develop knowledge and understanding of proteomics, protein structure, binding and conformational change; membrane proteins; detecting and amplifying a stimulus; communication within multicellular organism and protein control of cell division. The study of protein is primarily a laboratory-based activity, so the Unit includes important laboratory techniques for biologists. This skills-based sequence covers health and safety considerations, through the use of liquids and solutions, to a selection of relevant separation and antibody techniques. In addition, much work on cell biology is based on the use of cell lines, so includes techniques related to cell culture and microscopy. These techniques could be delivered in an integrated manner within this Unit.

Biology: Organisms and Evolution

This Unit builds on understanding of selection in the context of evolution and immune response from Higher Biology and Higher Human Biology. Learners will develop knowledge and understanding of evolution; variation and sexual reproduction; sex and behaviour and parasitism. It covers the role of sexual reproduction and parasitism in the evolution of organisms. Biological variation is a central concept in this Unit and is best observed in the natural environment. This Unit covers suitable techniques for ecological field study. Methods of sampling and the classification and identification of organisms are introduced. Evolution is considered from the impact of drift and selection on variation. The study of sexual behaviour provides opportunities to use the techniques of ethology. There are many opportunities to explore the systems approach required for the understanding of parasite biology. In addition, there are many opportunities to explore wider ethical issues relating to the importance of scientific knowledge and its application in challenging social and economic circumstances.

Investigative Biology

This Unit builds on understanding of the scientific method from Higher Biology and Higher Human Biology. Learners will develop knowledge and understanding of the principles and practice of investigative biology and its communication. The Unit covers scientific principles and processes, experimentation and critical evaluation of biological research. Learners will do this through the key aspects of the scientific method, literature and communication and ethics; pilot studies, variables, experimental design, controls, sampling and ensuring reliability; evaluating background information, experimental design, data analysis and conclusions. The collection of experimental data will provide an opportunity to develop planning and organising skills. This Unit can be integrated across the other Units of the Course.

To gain the award of the Course, the learner must pass all of the Units as well as the Course assessment. Course assessment will provide the basis for grading attainment in the Course award.

Component 1 — Question paper 100 marks

Component 2 — Investigation 30 marks

Total marks — 130 marks

Entry to this Course is recommended to pupils with a Higher B award or above, however learners will be considered on an individual basis.

 

Useful links

BBC Bitesize

The pages below provide interactive learning opportunities for the topics studied at J5-7 and S1-2.

CfE Second Level (J5-7)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/subjects/zxtnvcw

CfE Third Level (S1-2)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/subjects/zq8myrd

National 4 to Advanced Higher Resource Guides for Biology.
These guides show the mandatory course topics from the SQA course and unit support notes. They include useful links and video clips explaining key concepts.

http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/resources/nq/b/nqresource_tcm4871360.asp?strReferringChannel=nationalqualifications&strReferringPageID=tcm:4-716555-64&class=l3+d150331

This page provides links to all documents relating to national qualifications in Biology:
http://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/45723.html

The pages below provide interactive learning opportunities for the topics studied at National 4/5 and Higher Biology:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/subjects/z3ykjxshttp://www.bbc.co.uk/education/subjects/zync87h
 
 http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/subjects/zm6tyrd http://www.oronsay.org/Biology.htm