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Biology A Level *FEES PAYABLE* at Ashbourne Independent School

Course description

Biology is the study of life, from the single cell to the evolution and distribution of all living organisms – including you. You will begin to appreciate how the body works at a cellular level and how it copes with pressures like exams or disease.

You will discover how plants and animals respond to and interact with their surroundings, and examine the affects of environmental changes such as deforestation and climate on biodiversity and ecosystems around the world, and indeed what this means for all life on earth.

You will also need to consider ethical issues raised by advancements in science such as gene therapy and genetic engineering.

By exploring the complexities and wonders of nature you will find a whole world of employment awaits you in fields such as medicine, genetics, biochemistry, ecology, environmental science, agriculture, forensics, law, botany, veterinary medicine, sports training and therapy.

Biology is a highly respected subject and is considered by the Russell Group Universities as an excellent foundation for many of the courses they offer.

Course content

There are six modules in this course. AS level students study modules 1–4 and A level students study all modules, outlined below.

Module 1:

Development of Practical Skills in Biology

You will learn how to plan and carry out practical experiments and analyse and evaluate the results.

Module 2:

Foundations in Biology

All living organisms contain cells, each performing their own unique tasks from carrying oxygen around the body and defending against invading bacteria to sending messages, converting energy and making other cells. In this module you will examine, in microscopic detail, the structure, make up and function of cells in a variety of living organisms. Topics covered in this module are cell structure, biological molecules, nucleotides and nucleicacids, enzymes, biological membranes, cell division, cell diversity and cellular organisation.

Module 3:

Exchange and Transport

Organisms harness the materials around them to grow and survive. Plants absorb water and minerals which they convert to energy or food. Animals, including humans, exchange gases to breathe. This module examines the structure and function of gas exchange and transport systems in animals and plants, and how exchange surface area affects the efficiency of these exchanges. Topics covered in this module are exchange surfaces, transport in animals and transport in plants.

Module 4:

Biodiversity, Evolution and Disease

This is your introduction to ecology: how do organisms interact with their environment? You will discover just how diverse organisms are, find out how they are classified, examine how they have evolved and what mechanisms they have developed to fight disease. You will also discuss the importance of protecting the natural environment in order to maintain biodiversity. The topics covered in this module are biodiversity, classification and evolution, communicable diseases, disease prevention and the immune system.

Module 5:

Communication, Homeostasis and Energy

Plants and animals use internal chemical and electrical communication systems to respond to stimuli. Communication plays a vital role in homeostasis, which is how the body controls conditions like temperature and blood sugar level. For example, the pancreas releases the chemical insulin to control blood sugar levels. Topics in this module are communication and homeostasis, excretion as an example of homeostatic control, neuronal communication, hormonal communication, plant and animal responses, photosynthesis and respiration.

Module 6:

Genetics, Evolution and Ecosystems

This is where you delve into controversial topics such as genetic engineering of super crops and manipulating DNA to produce clones, like Dolly the sheep, or de-extincting dinosaurs or using stem cells to prevent illness. You will also consider how clearing rainforests to farm animals, producing unsustainable amounts of waste and overuse of natural resources may bring about further conflict as they affect the balance of ecosystems that support an ever growing human population. Topics in this module are cellular control, patterns of inheritance, the manipulation of genomes, ecosystems, cloning and biotechnology, and populations and sustainability.

Entry requirements

Ashbourne aims to attract students with good character and solid academic achievements. The college takes great care with admissions and interviews each applicant. The interview is friendly, informal and without obligation.

Future opportunities

Biology, as one of the traditional sciences, is a very well respected A level and opens the door to many courses and careers. It is an essential choice for students wishing to study medicine, pharmacology, dentistry and veterinary science but can also lead to degrees in biomedical science, natural sciences, environmental science, genetics and botany as well as areas of conservation and biodiversity.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Ashbourne Independent School directly.

Last updated date: 09 November 2016

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