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Biology

A place of vibrant learning, inspired by the wonder and complexity of all living things.

Biology affects everyone and aims to find solutions to many of the world’s problems. This includes issues such as the use of genetic modification to produce new plants and drugs, devising fertility treatments, curing genetic diseases and developing new sources of food.

Biology is introduced initially as part of the Junior Science course in Transitus and First Year, before pupils in Second Year study it as a discreet science in a 10-week rotational block.

Our Junior Science curriculum is designed to enthuse pupils, nurturing their scientific curiosity about the world in which they live, and its future.

Our learners study a variety of topics between Transitus and Second Year, with a focus on developing knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts, as well as improving practical and investigative abilities, and other skills involved in the processing of scientific information and data, including scientific literacy.

All topics cover Third Level learning outcomes from the Curriculum for Excellence, while certain topics are extended to include some Fourth Level outcomes....

Topics covered in Transitus are 'Introducing Science', 'Separation and Purification', 'Energy and Forces', and 'Living Things'. This latter topic includes an investigative field trip during the summer term.

First Year learners study 'Model of Matter', 'Heat, Cells and Reproduction', 'Elements and Compounds', and 'Energy for Life'. These follow on from topics studied in Transitus, extending pupils' scientific knowledge and skills.

In Second Year, the final year of Junior Science, pupils study the three sciences - Biology, Chemistry and Physics - on a rotational basis. This gives pupils an idea of what to expect should they go on to study the different sciences at National 5 level.

The topics studied in Second Year Biology are 'Inheritance and DNA', 'Senses', and 'Microbiology'. At the end of the year, pupils take part in a mini-rotation for each subject, often involving cross-curricular links between the three sciences where they can integrate skills, knowledge and understanding.

Pupils who wish to develop their knowledge and understanding of the living world can go on to study Biology at National 5 level, learning about a broad selection of concepts and ideas relevant to the central position of life science within society. Within the three main topics of 'Cell Biology', 'Multicellular Organisms' and 'Life on Earth', pupils touch upon all of the major areas of biology - evolution and adaptation, structure and function, inheritance, life processes of living organisms, and interactions between organisms and their environment.

Our Higher course is a stimulating progression from National 5 Biology that continues to develop skills of scientific inquiry, investigation and analytical thinking in the context of three units: 'DNA and the Genome', 'Metabolism and Survival' and 'Sustainability and Interdependence'. The course explores fascinating aspects of biology, from the origins of life, all the way through to modern-day advances in genetic engineering.

Advanced Higher Biology covers key aspects of life science at the molecular level and extends to the biology of whole organisms, including aspects that are the major driving forces of evolution. The three units studied are: 'Cells and Proteins', 'Organisms and Evolution' and 'Investigative Biology'. The course develops sound theoretical understanding and practical experience of experimental and investigative work in biological science, providing a deeper understanding of laboratory and fieldwork techniques and giving pupils the opportunity to produce an extended piece of scientific work.

Why Study Biology?

Facilities

Our engaging and extremely popular courses stimulate and challenge pupils of all abilities, with their development of analytical and practical skills benefitting from large, purpose-built and well-equipped laboratories.

A large greenhouse allows a plentiful supply of plant material for experiments, while a dedicated Sixth Year Biology Laboratory allows Advanced Higher Biology pupils to conduct projects and practical work in a specialised environment, in their own time.

Technology

Our extensive use of iTunesU and other digital platforms enables all pupils to access materials and resources whenever and however they need them.

This has proven to be crucial in recent times, with pupils having spent significant periods of time learning from home.

Opportunities

Fieldwork is an important part of our Biology courses, with a residential three day trip offered to Advanced Higher pupils in Sixth Year and overseas trips having taken pupils to the Azores and Mexico in recent years.

The popularity of Biology within the school has also been demonstrated by the large numbers of pupils pursuing the topic at university, either as a subject in its own right, or as part of wider studies in fields such as Medicine, Dentistry, Marine Biology and Veterinary Medicine.

Where Next?

Chemistry

Natural Sciences

Studying the building blocks of life and the materials that make up our existence.

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Physics

Natural Sciences

Understanding the world around us, the world inside us and the world beyond us.

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