What will I learn?
Pupils study science in Year 7 and Year 8. From Year 9, as with the other sciences we follow the AQA GCSE specification. This qualification is linear and learners will sit all their exams at the end of the course. Some pupils will study AQA GCSE biology; other pupils will study AQA GCSE combined science.
Pupils will study seven topic areas in biology:
- Cell biology
- Infection and response
- Homeostasis and response
- Inheritance, variation and evolution
Pupils carry out a range of practical activities throughout the GCSE course to allow opportunities for choice, and use of appropriate laboratory apparatus for a variety of experimental problem-solving and/or enquiry-based activities. These include:
- Use of appropriate apparatus to make and record a range of measurements accurately, including length, area, mass, time, temperature, volume of liquids and gases, and pH.
- Safe use of appropriate heating devices and techniques including use of a Bunsen burner and a water bath or electric heater.
- Use of appropriate apparatus and techniques for the observation and measurement of biological changes and/or processes.
- Safe and ethical use of living organisms (plants or animals) to measure physiological functions and responses to the environment.
- Measurement of rates of reaction by a variety of methods including production of gas, uptake of water and colour change of indicator.
- Application of appropriate sampling techniques to investigate the distribution and abundance of organisms in an ecosystem via direct use in the field.
- Use of appropriate apparatus, techniques and magnification, including microscopes, to make observations of biological specimens and produce labelled scientific drawings.
Maths skills are included in the assessment of biology; a minimum of 10% of the marks in biology assess mathematical skills.
AQA GCSE biology and AQA GCSE combined science are both good routes to study biology at A level in the Sixth Form.