THE NATURE OF THE SUBJECT
The vast diversity of species makes biology both an endless source of fascination and a considerable challenge. Biologists attempt to understand the living world at all levels from the micro to the macro using many different approaches and techniques. Biology is still a young science and great progress is expected in the 21st century. This progress is important at a time of growing pressure on the human population and the environment.
By studying biology in the DP students should become aware of how scientists work and communicate with each other. While the scientific method may take on a wide variety of forms, it is the emphasis on a practical approach through experimental work that characterizes the sciences. Teachers provide students with opportunities to design investigations, collect data, develop manipulative skills, analyse results, collaborate with peers and evaluate and communicate their findings.
PROGRAMME OF STUDY
Through the overarching theme of the nature of science, the aims of the DP biology course are to enable students to:
1 Appreciate scientific study and creativity within a global context through stimulating and challenging opportunities
2 Acquire a body of knowledge, methods and techniques that characterise science and technology
3 Apply and use a body of knowledge, methods and techniques that characterise science and technology
4 Develop an ability to analyse, evaluate and synthesise scientific information
5 Develop a critical awareness of the need for, and the value of, effective collaboration and communication during scientific activities
6 Develop experimental and investigative scientific skills including the use of current technologies
7 Develop and apply 21st century communication skills in the study of science
8 Become critically aware, as global citizens, of the ethical implications of using science and technology
9 Develop an appreciation of the possibilities and limitations of science and technology
10 Develop an understanding of the relationships between scientific disciplines and their influence on other areas of knowledge.
All students follow a common core and Higher Level students then go over many of the same topics but in greater detail. At both levels, this is supplemented by the study of one option chosen by the teacher. Topics covered include cells, genetics, ecology, evolution, human health and physiology, cell respiration, photosynthesis and plant science.
External Assessments take place at the end of two years: students are examined using multiple choice questions as well as data-based, short answer and long answer questions. Weighting: 80% at Higher and Standard Level.
Standard Level students have to complete 40 hours and Higher Level students have to complete 60 hours of Internal Assessment, including 10 hours on a collaborative interdisciplinary project with other Group 4 Sciences. Students are expected to design experiments, carry out experiments, analyse results and come to conclusions supported by the data. Weighting: 20% at Higher and Standard Level.