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Students during a biology science lesson

Biology

Saving threatened species, studying microbes, growing organic plants for food, curing diseases? The 21st Century offers many challenges to a Biologist. Which ones are you interested in? New knowledge in areas such as genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, the environment and marine science have profound effects on human society and the environment which we inhabit. The world moves quickly and in order to move with it and participate fully people need to be ‘in the know’. Studying Biology at The Rochester Grammar School gives you the skills and opportunities to advance human knowledge and understanding in today’s world, in order to make a difference to tomorrow’s. Whether deciding on a career in psychology, medicine, genetics, forensics, pharmacy, vetinary medicine, biochemistry or journalism, a biological qualification gives you many skills and increases your career options so you can adapt to the world changing around you.

The course follows a spiral curriculum; always revisiting and building upon prior knowledge. In Key Stage 3, as part of the Science curriculum, the main concepts are introduced and students start to develop the skills needed to be a scientist. In Key Stage 4 the concepts are covered in more depth, with more challenging theories and questions. In the sixth form, you will become part of a very successful department with around one hundred students already studying for A’ level and IB Biology qualifications.

Studying Biology at A’ level has given me a real insight into the complexity of biological systems…
A year 13 student

Course Offerings

Course Title Qualifications Obtainable Awarding Body
Key Stage 4 Courses
GCSE AQA
Key Stage 5 Courses
A Level (Biology A) OCR
IB IBO

Year 9
Curriculum Content: B1 – Cell Biology

Students learn about cell structure and the use of microscopes, different cell types, cellular transport and cellular respiration.

B2 – Organisation

Students learn about the digestive system, enzymes, and the circulatory and gas exchange systems, including the effect of exercise.

B3 – Health and disease

Students learn about communicable and non-communicable diseases, including plant diseases, the body’s defences against disease and treatments for these diseases.

B4 – Plant biology

Students learn the structure of leaves, the process and role of photosynthesis, and transport in plants.

Students will develop their practical skills through a range of tasks.

 
Year 10
Curriculum Content: B5 – Homeostasis and response

Students learn about plant and human hormones. They study the control of body temperature, blood glucose levels and water balance.  Students learn about the menstrual cycle and fertility technologies.  They also learn about the brain and the nervous system, including reflex actions and the eye.

B6 – Ecology

Students learn about the structures of ecosystems, including element and energy flow and the role of decay. They study the feeding relationships within an ecosystem and the adaptations of the organisms in relation to abiotic and biotic factors.  Students study practical ecology techniques.  They also learn about the effect of pollution on biodiversity and also consider positive interactions humans can have in an ecosystem.

Students will develop their practical skills through a range of tasks.

 
Year 11
Curriculum Content: B7 – Inheritance, variation and evolution

Students study reproduction on a cellular level and the structure of DNA. They consider how proteins are made and the effect of mutations.  Students learn to predict inheritance theoretically and study the work of pioneers of inheritance and evolutionary theories.  They consider how variation links with natural selection and the evidence to support this theory.  Finally, students study biotechnologies.

Students will develop their practical skills through a range of tasks.

 
Year 12
Curriculum Content: 12 A Level Curriculum Content – Students will study a range of topics including:

  • Foundations in biology: cell structure, biological molecules, nucleotides and nucleic acids, enzymes, biological membranes, cell division, cell diversity and cellular organisation.
  • Exchange and transport: exchange surfaces, transport in animals, and transport in plants.
  • Biodiversity, evolution and disease: communicable diseases, disease prevention, the immune system, biodiversity, classification and evolution.

Students will develop their practical skills through a range of tasks that must be completed into order to pass the practical aspect of the course, including microscopy work, biochemical reactions and ecological observations.

12 IB Curriculum Content – Students will study a range of topics including:

  • Cell biology
  • Molecular biology
  • Human physiology
  • Plant biology (HL)
  • Genetics (HL)
  • Nucleic acids (HL)
  • Metabolism, respiration and photosynthesis (HL)

Students will develop their practical skills through a range of tasks. They will also design and complete an independent investigation, as internal assessment

 
Year 13
Curriculum Content: 13 A level Curriculum Content – Students will study a range of topics including:

  • Communication, homeostasis and energy: communication (nerves and hormones), homeostasis, excretion, photosynthesis, and respiration.
  • Genetics, evolution and ecosystems: cellular control, inheritance, biotechnology, gene technologies, ecosystems, sustainability, and responding to the environment.

Students will develop their practical skills through a range of tasks that must be completed into order to pass the practical aspect of the course, including chromatography and physiological observations.

13 IB Curriculum Content – Students will study a range of topics including:

  • Genetics (SL)
  • Option topic – animal physiology (SL)
  • Ecology
  • Evolution and biodiversity
  • Option topic – neurobiology and behaviour (HL)
  • Human physiology (HL)

Students will develop their practical skills through a range of tasks.

Component SL HL
Paper 1 0h45, 20%

Multiple choice questions

1h00, 20%

Multiple choice questions

Paper 2 1h15, 40%

Data, short and extended questions on core material

2h15, 36%

Data, short and extended questions on core material

Paper 3 1h00, 20%

Short and extended questions on practical skills and option topic

1h15, 24%

Short and extended questions on practical skills and option topic

Internal assessment 20%

Independent investigation

20%

Independent investigation