Biology A Level - Block C & D at Gravesend Grammar School
The Biology course aims to promote an interest in, and enjoyment of, the study of living organisms. This is carried out through the detailed study of the structure and functioning of the animal body, and the roles of plants and animals in ecosystems. Reference is made throughout to the social aspects and implications of modern biology and its relevance to everyday life. Particular attention is paid to the ever changing world of medical science and the moral, social and ethical issues that arise from new techniques. This is a content heavy course, especially suited to an ‘all-rounder’ who is confident mathematically, communicates effectively and enjoys practical work.
Lifestyle, Transport, Genes and Health.
We consider the structure and function of a number of biological molecules. The structure and function of the cardiovascular system, as well as ideas regarding risks to health. Also covered are cell membranes, gas exchange surfaces, protein synthesis, and the genetic code.
Development, Plants and The Environment.
We cover work on cell division, meiosis and the formation of gametes; stem cell research and gene expression. Also covered are cell structure and function, the relationship between plant tissue, and the importance of plant products to humans.
The Natural Environment and Species Survival
This topic covers photosynthesis and how ecosystems work, and global warming and the effect on the environment. Also covered is the role of the forensic pathologist and a variety of analytical techniques. Mechanisms for protection against disease are studied as well as the global effects of the disease.
Energy, Exercise and Co-ordination.
This unit explains muscle structure and function, respiration and how homeostasis is important in maintaining the body’s internal environment. Also covered is the response to stimulus in plants, the nervous system in mammals and animal behaviour/development. Moral and ethical issues linked with the Human genome Project are also considered.
Science practical endorsement: In addition to the formally examined section of the course, this further section will be internally assessed and moderated externally. Students will be required to complete a minimum of 12-18 identified activities in which they demonstrate practical competence in the skill listed. This may be recorded on the student’s examination certificate.
You are required to achieve:
- A Level 6 in GCSE Biology, or a Level 6 in the higher Physics paper if double award GCSE is studied.
If you want to study more than one science subject at A Level, a Level 7 in each GCSE will be required.
ADVICE AND RECOMMENDATIONS:
A high level in GCSE Mathematics is advisable due to the increased Mathematical demands of A Level Biology.
We strongly recommend students opt for A level Mathematics to study alongside Biology
This will be by means of three external assessed exam papers that will cover the core topics and also practical principles learned throughout the course. The syllabus is largely synoptic so the later, harder questions rely on understanding and knowledge from the previous questions. The third exam will include longer answer, synoptic questions that could cover the whole 2 year course. In all papers, 10% will take the form of mathematical and data analysis questions aimed at level 2, GCSE mathematical skills.
By the end of the course, the students will have gained an understanding of biological principles and concepts, and the application of these in fields of industry, medicine and everyday life. They should develop an appreciation of the beauties and complexities of the natural world, and demonstrate abilities in formulating hypotheses, devising experiments to test these, and interpreting experimental data. These are important skills in the modern world, which will enhance job, further education and career prospects.
As part of the course the Biology Department organises a fieldtrip, students find the fieldwork to be a valuable, enjoyable experience that enhances their understanding of the theories taught in class as well as learning essential ecological techniques that can be asked about in the examinations. These opportunities are also essential to fulfil the core practical elements of the course.
How to apply
If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Gravesend Grammar School directly.