Biology (GCSE and A-Level Only)
Biology is the study of life. Life occurs in many different forms, from microscopic bacteria to lifesaving Penicillium, to pathogenic Plasmodium, to photosynthesising Elodea, to Homo sapiens. At Kingswood, we encourage students to develop an interest in all of these forms and to understand how they fit together to comprise life on Earth.
The Biology department emphasises bringing the subject to life by giving pupils opportunities to learn through carrying out experiments, making observations and drawing conclusions. These experiences range from using microscopes to investigating the effect of acid rain on cress seedlings at KS4, to thin-layer chromatography and heart dissections in the Sixth Form. All students are encouraged to plan fair tests, record precise results, evaluate what they have done and suggest improvements for next time.
The Biology department is very well resourced, with three modern laboratories stocked with all the usual scientific materials as well as specialist equipment: in situ flexi-cameras to record live experiments, a spirometer, biotechnology electrophoresis kits and data-logging materials, including a wireless heart rate monitor. We also have a resources room that our Sixth Form students use for independent study.
We run regular ecology trips because we feel it is important that pupils gain first-hand experience with species in their natural environments; we believe this helps to foster a passion to conserve life on Earth.
As biologists, we recognise that our unique DNA makes us all different, and so, as far as possible, we tailor classroom resources to each individual. We use a range of teaching styles in lessons to accommodate the visual, auditory or kinaesthetic learner, and we make use of teacher-led, pair and group work activities, practical tasks and ICT-based assignments. We also have specific Assessment for Learning materials and encourage pupils to develop their own revision strategies.
Pupils at GCSE level follow the Edexcel specification and study the following modules:
- Nature and Variety of Living Things
- Structure and Function of Living Things
- Reproduction and Inheritance
- Ecology and Environment
- Use of Biological Resources
At A-Level, pupils follow the OCR specification and study the following modules:
- Development of Practical Skills in Biology
- Foundations in Biology (cell structure including membranes, cell division and biological molecules)
- Exchange and Transport (exchange surfaces and transport in animals and plants)
- Biodiversity, Evolution and Disease (including communicable disease, the immune system)
- Communication, Homeostasis and Energy (excretion, neuronal and hormonal control, plant and animal responses, photosynthesis and respiration)
- Genetics, Evolution and Ecosystems (cellular control, inheritance, cloning, populations and sustainability)