VCE | Biology

 
 

Biology Pathways

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Unit 1 Biology

HOW DO LIVING THINGS STAY ALIVE?

In this unit you are introduced to some of the challenges to an organism in sustaining life. You will examine the cell as the structural and functional unit of life, from the single celled to the multicellular organism, and the requirements for sustaining cellular processes in terms of inputs and outputs.

You will analyse types of adaptations that enhance the organism's survival in a particular environment and consider the role homeostatic mechanisms play in maintaining the internal environment. You will investigate how a diverse group of organisms form a living interconnected community that is adapted to and utilises, the abiotic resources of its habitat. The role of a keystone species in maintaining the structure of an ecosystem is explored. You will consider how the planet's biodiversity is classified and the factors that affect the growth of a population.

VCAA Biology Study Design

PREREQUISITES

Year 10 Chemistry + Year 10 Forensics or Genetics and Evolution are recommended.

AREAS OF STUDY

  1. How do organisms function?

  2. How do living systems sustain life?

  3. Practical investigation

In the first area of study, you will learn how to design, conduct and report on a practical investigation associated with the structure of cells or their organisation and processes.

In the second area of study, you will learn how to describe and explain the relationship between features of living organisms and what they require to function correctly. You will investigate how these organisms are classified.

UNIT ASSESSMENT

Assessment for Outcomes 1 and 2 may include: a report of a fieldwork activity; annotations of a practical work folio; a bioinformatics exercise; a media response; problem-solving; data analysis; learning blog or a test.

Outcome 3 will be assessed by a report of a student designed or adapted investigation related to the survival of an organism or a species using a scientific poster, practical report, oral communication or digital presentation.

Pathways

Biology Units 1 and 2 will typically be studied in Year 11. Students undertaking acceleration may do these units in Year 10.

It is recommended that both Units 1 and 2 be taken before attempting Units 3 and 4 but students with strong results in Unit 2 who are prepared to catch-up on the relevant Unit 1 content in their own time will still be accepted into the Unit 3 & 4 course.

 

 
 
 
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Unit 2 Biology

How is continuity of life maintained?

OVERVIEW

You will learn that all cells are derived from pre-existing cells through the cell cycle, examine the process of DNA replication and compare cell division in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms.

Asexual and sexual reproductive strategies and the advantages and disadvantages of these two types of reproduction will be explored. The role of stem cells in the differentiation, growth, repair and replacement of cells in humans is examined, and their potential use in medical therapies is considered.

Chromosome theory and terminology from classical genetics will be used to explain the inheritance of characteristics, analyse patterns of inheritance, interpret pedigree charts and predict outcomes of genetic crosses. You will explore the relationship between genes, the environment and the regulation of genes in giving rise to phenotypes. You will consider the role of genetic knowledge in decision making about the inheritance of autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive and sex-linked genetic conditions. In this context, the uses of genetic screening and its social and ethical issues are examined.

A student-directed research investigation into, and communication of, an issue related to genetics and/or reproductive science is to be undertaken in Area of Study 3.

VCAA Biology Study Design

PREREQUISITES

Unit 1 Biology Recommended

AREAS OF STUDY

  1. How does reproduction maintain the continuity of life?

  2. How is inheritance explained?

  3. Investigation of an issue

UNIT ASSESSMENT

Assessment tasks for Outcomes 1 and 2 may include: a report on fieldwork; annotations of a practical work folio; a bioinformatics exercise; media response; data analysis; problem-solving; a learning blog or a test.

Outcome 3 will involve a report of an investigation into genetics and/or reproductive science using a digital presentation, oral communication or written report.

PATHWAYS

Biology Units 1 and 2 will typically be studied in Year 11. Students undertaking acceleration may do these units in Year 10.

It is recommended that both Units 1 and 2 be taken before attempting Units 3 and 4 but students with strong results in Unit 2 who are prepared to catch-up on the relevant Unit 1 content in their own time will still be accepted into the Unit 3&4 course.

 
 

 
 
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Unit 3 Biology

How do cells maintain life?

OVERVIEW

In this unit, you will focus on the molecular basis for biological process including a deeper study of the structure of plasma membranes, biomolecules, photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Enzyme action, gene expression and gene regulation are also considered at a molecular level.

The second Area of Study looks at how cells communicate using signalling molecules. The processes of cell signalling and signal transduction are considered including the use of internal and external signalling pathways for apoptosis of cells. Cellular communication also allows for the regulation of the immune system in both plants and animals. The process of the innate and adaptive immune system are studied in great detail. The course looks at acquired immunity as a result of vaccination and the protective effect that has on individuals and communities. It also considers the ways that overreaction and under-reaction of the immune system leads to disease states.

You should be able to explain the dynamic nature of the cell in terms of key cellular processes including regulation, photosynthesis and cellular respiration, and analyse factors that affect the rate of biochemical reactions and be able to apply a stimulus-response model to explain how cells communicate with each other, outline human responses to invading pathogens, distinguish between the different ways that immunity may be acquired, and explain how malfunctions of the immune system cause disease.

VCAA Biology Study Design

PREREQUISITES

  • Unit 2 Biology

  • Year 10 Chemistry are advisable but not required by VCAA

AREAS OF STUDY

  1. How do cellular processes work?

  2. How do cells communicate?

UNIT ASSESSMENT

  • Unit 3 School assessed coursework (SAC's) 16%

  • Unit 4 School assessed coursework (SAC's) 24%

  • Unit 3 & 4 examination 60%

A minimum of two assessment tasks including a report on a number of practical tasks. The other task might be a data analysis, test, or media analysis

PATHWAYS

Biology Units 3 and 4 will typically be studied in Year 12. Students undertaking acceleration may do these units in Year 11. It is recommended that both Units 1 and 2 be taken before attempting Units 3 and 4 but students with strong results in Unit 2 who are prepared to catch-up on the relevant Unit 1 content in their own time will still be accepted into the Unit 3&4 course.

Biology is a valuable subject for further study towards careers in health science, nursing, biomedicine and nutrition.

 
 

 
 
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Unit 4 Biology

How does life change and respond to challenges over time?

overview

In this unit you will look at the evidence for species change over time. Speciation and evolution by natural selection is contrasted to artificial selection. A detailed study of the evidence for evolution including molecular tools such as DNA sequencing and molecular homology provide data for analysis. The new biological field of Evolutionary Development or EvoDevo is discussed.

Detailed understanding of genetic techniques such as PCR, Gel electrophoresis and bacterial transformation are studied and therefore the impact of genetic technology and other human interventions on the gene pool is explored. You must complete and publish a poster describing a scientific investigation which you designed and conducted.

You should be able to analyse evidence for evolutionary change, explain how relatedness between species is determined, and elaborate on the consequences of biological change in human evolution and be able to describe how tools and techniques can be used to manipulate DNA, explain how biological knowledge is applied to bio-technical applications, and analyse the interrelationship between scientific knowledge and its applications in society.

You should be able to design and undertake an investigation related to cellular processes and/or biological change and continuity over time, and present methodologies, findings and conclusions in a scientific poster.

VCAA Biology Study Design

prerequisites

  • Unit 3 Biology is required

areas of study

  1. How are species related?

  2. How do humans impact on biological processes?

  3. Scientific Investigation

UNIT ASSESSMENT

  • Unit 3 School assessed coursework (SAC's) 16%

  • Unit 4 School assessed coursework (SAC's) 24%

  • Unit 3 & 4 examination 60%

Assessment tasks for Outcome 1 may be in the form of a test or analysis document. Outcome 2 is based on gene investigation techniques using the facilities at a tertiary laboratory.

Outcome 3 requires students to design, implement and report on a scientific investigation.

PATHWAYS

Biology Units 3 and 4 will typically be studied in Year 12. Students undertaking acceleration may do these units in Year 11. It is recommended that both Units 1 and 2 be taken before attempting Units 3 and 4 but students with strong results in Unit 2 who are prepared to catch-up on the relevant Unit 1 content in their own time will still be accepted into the Unit 3&4 course.

Biology is a valuable subject for further study towards careers in health science, nursing, biomedicine and nutrition.