biology hl and Sl
“Biology is the study of life. The first organisms appeared on the planet over 3 billion years ago and, through reproduction and natural selection, have given rise to the 8 million or so different species alive today. An interest in life is natural for humans; not only are we living organisms ourselves, but we depend on many species for our survival, are threatened by some and co-exist with many more.”
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, 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 characterises the sciences.
Biology is an intellectually demanding subject at IB and is a big step up from the demands of GCSE. We require students to have obtained at GCSE level a grade 7, 7 in the Combined Science Award or ‘7’ in the Biology Separate Science Award. The course builds upon the GCSE curriculum in terms of both depth and breadth. Students particularly notice the large quantity of material to be covered. Successful students are self-motivated and take responsibility for their learning.
The main aim of this course is to provide opportunities for scientific study and creativity within a global context which will stimulate and challenge students.
As one of the three natural sciences in the IB Diploma Programme, biology is primarily concerned with the study of life and living systems. Biologists attempt to make sense of the world through a variety of approaches and techniques, controlled experimentation and collaboration between scientists. At a time of global introspection on human activities and their impact on the world around us, developing and communicating a clear understanding of the living world has never been of greater importance than it is today.
Through the study of DP biology, students are empowered to make sense of living systems through unifying themes. By providing opportunities for students to explore conceptual frameworks, they are better able to develop understanding and awareness of the living world around them. This is carried further through a study of interactions at different levels of biological organisation, from molecules and cells to ecosystems and the biosphere. Integral to the student experience of the DP biology course is the learning that takes place through scientific inquiry. With an emphasis on experimental work, teachers provide students with opportunities to ask questions, design experiments, collect and analyse data, collaborate with peers, and reflect, evaluate and communicate their findings.
DP biology enables students to constructively engage with topical scientific issues. Students examine scientific knowledge claims in a real-world context, fostering interest and curiosity. By exploring the subject, they develop understandings, skills and techniques which can be applied across their studies and beyond.
IB Biology falls within group 4. You will be externally assessed at the end of the course on the following theory topics for the standard or higher course.
BIOLOGY SYLLABUS CONTENT OVERVIEW
* Topics with content that should only be taught to HL students
The IB has a strong focus on practical skills. Students at standard level are required to spend 40 hours, and students at higher level are required to spend 60 hours on practical work.
Students are assessed on a scientific investigation which they design, carry out and evaluate. This counts towards 20% of your final grade. We aim to take students on a field trip to support the ecology modules and as an opportunity to carry out coursework.
The IB programme also includes a collaborative sciences project which is an interdisciplinary science project addressing global issues. This typically takes 10 hours of timetabled time and results in a presentation of findings and self-reflection on your contribution to the process. The exercise should be a collaborative experience where the emphasis is developing skills in team building, negotiation and leadership.
- Ecology based fieldwork
- Senior Science Society
- Medicine Society
- Operating Theatre Live
- Biology Olympiad competitions
- Biology in Action
Many students take Biology-related degrees including Medicine, Veterinary science, biochemically-related degrees and a wide range of other Life Sciences courses.