In biology we aim to excite and inspire students as they learn about living organisms and their environments. Students are exposed to original research and are shown how to understand and evaluate the scientific process. We believe that students learn best through experiencing and investigating research. We provide opportunities for those who would like to go deeper into the subjects and support students where they need it.
WHY STUDY BIOLOGY AT CLSG?
In Biology we encourage an active approach to learning. Students develop a wide range of skills, including data analysis, critical evaluation, communication and collaboration.
With rapid developments in biology, we are faced with an increasing number of decisions. For example, advances in CRISPR gene technology present ethical dilemmas. Also, should embryonic stem cells or human-animal hybrid cells be used in medicine? Which genes should we test for in prenatal screening? We aim to teach students how to knowledgeably and wisely evaluate, discuss, and write about these issues.
YEARS 7 - 8
Year 7 students learn about cell structure and use microscopes to view a range of cell types. They enjoy learning about stem cells and their potential uses. Students explore reproduction in animals and plants and discuss cloning. There is a strong emphasis on developing ‘scientific method’ skills throughout year 7. This includes forming hypotheses, observing, planning experiments, recording and analysing results and finally reaching conclusions.
Year 8 students learn about the energy dynamics of communities by studying food webs. They identify trophic levels, and calculate the transfer of energy between them. Next they explore the biochemistry and energy content of the food that we eat. This leads on to the use of bacteria and fungi in food production and then to microbes and disease.
YEARS 9 - 11
From year 9 students follow Edexcel's iGCSE specification. There is a fantastic range of topics to study, both inspiring students and ensuring that they are well prepared for A level.
Year 9 topics include: hormones, nervous coordination, the eye, DNA, cloning, stem cells, genetic screening, and plant nutrition.
Year 10 topics include: cells and cell transport, breathing, the heart and circulation, respiration, thermoregulation, blood glucose control, inheritance of alleles, evolution, selective breeding, and nutrient cycles.
Year 11 topics include: digestive enzymes, the immune system, kidneys, microbes in food production and energy in ecosystems.
We follow Edexcel’s specification at A level. We study biology through real life contexts rather than through theory alone. For example, most A level biology courses start with cell biology or biochemistry, we do not. We start with an account of Mark, a 15-year-old who had a stroke, and Peter, an adult who had a heart attack. We then study the biological principles needed to understand what happened to Mark and Peter and factors that make it more likely that any of us will suffer a stroke or heart attack.
Topic 1: Lifestyle, health and risk
- What is cardiovascular disease?
- What are the risk factors and how can they be reduced?
Topic 2: Genes and health
- How exactly does a disease like cystic fibrosis affect the body?
Topic 3: Voice of the genome
- How do genes control body development and how are they affected by the environment?
Topic 4: Biodiversity and natural resources
- Why are there so many species on earth and how might we use them? Should we use them?
Topic 5: On the wild side
- Is the climate really changing?
- Which species will adapt and which will die out?
Topic 6: Infection, immunity and forensics
- How can we use forensic evidence to determine time of death?
- How does the body respond to infection?
Topic 7: Run for your life
- What happens in the muscles to enable the body to move?
- What happens when athletes overdo it?
Topic 8: Grey matter
- How does the brain work and how do we make sense of what we see?
RECENT TRIPS/LEARNING ACTIVITIES
Students regularly attend lectures and conferences relating to biology. There is a great number to choose from in London and students make full use of these opportunities.
There is a field course for sixth form students which takes place in Pembrokeshire, Wales, and this is an excellent opportunity to take part in original research on shore organisms.
"Taking Biology at A Level has been the best decision I have made this year. It is always interesting, the lessons are interactive and really challenge me to think" Nadia
Head of Department: Ms N Brown