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Biology

subject overview

We follow the AQA syllabus in Biology. The course is split in three units at both AS and A2 stages.

Learners will take their terminal examination in June. They will study the following units at AS:

•Unit 1: Biology and Disease

•Unit 2: The Variety of Living Organisms

•Unit 3: Practical and Investigative Skills (20% of total AS marks, 10% of total A Level marks)

 

The learners will study the following units during the A2 units:

•Unit 4: Populations and Environment

•Unit 5: Control in Cells and in Organisms

•Unit 6: Practical and Investigative Skills (10% of the total A Level marks)

unit overview - autumn term

Subject:

Skills

Students could develop understanding of population and gene pools

Analyse information and apply knowledge to work out allele frequencies

Students could use percentages and decimals.

Students couldstudents should be able to calculate allele, genotype and phenotype frequencies from appropriate data using the Hardy–Weinberg equation

Translate information between numerical and algebraic forms

Collect data about the frequency of observable phenotypes within a single population

Select and use an appropriate statistical test.

Understand and calculate standard deviation and range

Develop knowledge of variation and its causes

Apply knowledge to identify types of variation and causes from experimentally derived data

Calculate mean, median and mode for measured values.

Develop knowledge of natural selection and selection pressures, and application to data

Use computer programs to model the effects of natural selection.

Develop understanding relating to forms of natural selection and their effect on allele frequencies and species diversity

Apply knowledge of sampling to the concept of genetic drift.

Develop understanding relating to forms of natural selection and their effect on allele frequencies.

Develop understanding relating to mark-release-recapture, the ethical issues surrounding it, and its assumptions/limitations.

Use appropriate apparatus and sampling techniques in fieldwork

Apply scientific knowledge to design a sampling investigation, identifying key variables

Plot the experimental data on a scatter graph.

Apply knowledge to, and interpretation of, scientific data and evidence to form reasoned arguments.

Students will develop the knowledge and understanding of key terms and concepts relating to inheritance.

Students will use the χ2 test to investigate the significance of differences between expected and observed phenotypic ratios.

Students could develop knowledge relating to IAA and tropisms in plants.

Students could interpret scientific data and apply knowledge of the effects of IAA to explain it.

Students could design and carry out an investigation into the effect of a named variable on human pulse rate.

Students could develop understanding of motor neurone structure, resting potentials and action potentials.

Knowledge

Define what is meant by the term population.

Explain what is meant when we refer to allele frequencies and a gene pool.

Describe and explain the mathematical equations used to express allele and genotype frequencies.

Apply knowledge of the Hardy-Weinberg equation to the data given in a question to calculate the frequency of an allele or genotype.

Describe variation based on trends in graphs and link this to the causes of variation.

Explain what is meant by selection.

Explain how natural selection is linked to inheritance of alleles by the next generation and adaptation.

Explain what is meant by allopatric and sympatric speciation.

Explain how natural selection and isolation may result in change in the allele and phenotype frequency and lead to the formation of a new species by allopatric speciation and sympatric speciation.

Explain the process of genetic drift and its impact on allele frequencies.

Explain how genetic drift differs from natural selection.

Explain why genetic drift is important only in small populations.

Define the terms community, biotic, abiotic, ecosystem and niche.

Explain what is meant by the carrying capacity of a population, and the biotic and abiotic factors which determine population size.

Explain how some common abiotic factors could be measured.

Explain why no two species have exactly the same niche.

Describe and explain the techniques of sampling at random using quadrats, and systematic sampling using transects.

Explain the technique of mark-release-recapture and when it would be appropriate to use this technique.

Explain how succession causes changes to ecosystems over time.

Explain the impact of environmental changes on biodiversity.

Explain the meaning of the key terms: gene, chromosomes, alleles, genotype, and phenotype.

Explain phototropism and gravitropism, and by positive and negative tropisms.

Describe where IAA is produced.

Describe the effect of different IAA concentrations on root/shoot growth.

Explain taxes and kineses and how they differ.

Explain how taxes and kineses aid survival.

Explain the roles of the SAN, AVN and bundle of His.

Explain the role of reflexes and why they are important.

Explain the role of sensory, intermediate and motor neurones in a reflex arc.

Explain the events which take place during the cardiac cycle to produce and transmit a wave of electrical activity to make the heart beat.

Explain why individuals within a population of a species may show a wide range of variation in phenotype.

Describe variation based on trends in graphs and link this to the causes of variation.

Required practical 10:

Investigation into the effect of an environmental variable on the movement of an animal using either a choice chamber or a maze.

Required practical 12: Investigation into the effect of a named environmental factor on the distribution of a given species.

Rationale

Students could analyse information and apply knowledge to work out allele frequencies.

Students investigate the frequency of observable phenotypes within a population

Students could use information to represent phenotypic ratios in monohybrid and dihybrid crosses.

Students could apply their knowledge of sampling to the concept of genetic drift.

Students could use computer programs to model the effects of natural selection and of genetic drift.

Students could use the mark-release-recapture method to investigate the abundance of a motile species.

Students could investigate the distribution of organisms in a named habitat using randomly placed frame quadrats, or a belt transect use both percentage cover and frequency as measures of abundance of a sessile species

Students could devise an investigation to mimic the effects of random sampling on allele frequencies in a population.

Students could collect data about the frequency of observable phenotypes within a single population.

Students could calculate allele, genotype and phenotype frequencies from appropriate data using the Hardy–Weinberg equation.

Students could set up an experiment to study Drosophila crosses and investigate ratios from genetic crosses eg dihybrid ratios.

Students could show understanding of the probability associated with inheritance.

Students could use the test to investigate the significance of differences between expected and observed phenotypic ratios.

Students could apply their knowledge of sampling to the concept of genetic drift.

Students could develop understanding of dominant and recessive alleles, and their inheritance

knowledge organisers

A knowledge organiser is an important document that lists the important facts that learners should know by the end of a unit of work. It is important that learners can recall these facts easily, so that when they are answering challenging questions in their assessments and GCSE and A-Level exams, they are not wasting precious time in exams focusing on remembering simple facts, but making complex arguments, and calculations.

We encourage all pupils to use them by doing the following:

  • Quiz themselves at home, using the read, write, cover, check method.
  • Practise spelling key vocabulary
  • Further researching people, events and processes most relevant to the unit.