NCEA L3 Biology - Mātauranga Koiora

Course Description

Teacher in Charge: Dr E. Attridge

Recommended Prior Learning

12 credits in Biology at Level 2 or higher. The majority of Biology exams at Level 2 must have been passed.

The study of life itself, level 3 Biology builds upon level 2 exploring the theories and principles involved in living systems, in all their intricate beauty.  Topics you will learn about include: plant and animal responses and genetic variation and evolution, as well as practical biology and research skills.  By the end of the course you will know about the principles of genetics, computational biology, natural selection, evolutionary theory, phylogenetics, animal behavioural responses to zeitgebers, how plants respond to environmental triggers  and more.

You will gain an understanding of how society makes decisions about scientific issues, as well some of the ways in which the scientific community contributes to the success of the economy and society.

If you are interested in recent developments in genetic engineering or disease prevention, understanding how we evolved, finding out how about animal and plant interactions as well as care and conservation programmes, to name a few, then this is your subject.

All students go to Mistletoe Bay at the end of term 2 to carry out a practical investigation and learning about some of the wonderful flora and fauna of the marine environment of Te Wai Pounamu. 

Course Overview

Term 1
Students sit two externals in this course. Term 1 starts with the most wide ranging external which involves understanding how plants and animals respond to external triggers. This leads to the first internal which involves students researching various homeostatic mechanisms under severe stress in humans.

Term 2
The focus at the start of term 2 is learning bigger picture animal behaviour - including social groupings, animal interactions such as predator - prey, commensalism and parasitism. They learn about sexual selection and large scale animal migration. Midway through the term we learn about biological statistics and investigation skills to prepare for the biology field trip to Mistletoe Bay. This involves students carrying out individual research on marine organisms.

Term 3
The external preparation concludes with looking at plant growth regulators and response to light levels. The students then start the final external on genetics and evolution. The boys learn about the geological history of Aotearoa and the impact on the evolution of native flora and fauna. They learn about the different reproductive isolating mechanisms and how to interpret phylogenetic trees. We will also use computational biology tools, such as Mega X to create phylogenetic trees using mitrochondrial DNA sequences. This leads to the final internal assessment on genetic manipulation techniques.

Term 4
The first few weeks of the term are used for revision to prepare for the external exams in November.

Learning Areas:

NCEA Level 3, Science - Pūtaiao

Career Pathways

Massage Therapist, Ship's Master, Medical Laboratory Technician, Radiation Therapist, Nursery Grower/Worker, Occupational Therapist, Optometrist, Osteopath, Physiotherapist, Phlebotomist, Quarantine Officer, Radiation Oncologist, Brewer, Mechanical Engineer, Speech-Language Therapist, Sterilising Technician, Fishing Skipper, Water/Wastewater Treatment Operator, Clinical Physiologist, Physician, Pet Groomer, Surgeon, Midwife, Dental Assistant, Science Technician, Podiatrist, Chiropractor, Medical Laboratory Scientist, Clinical Coder, Dental Technician, Community Karitāne, Pharmacist, Dairy Farmer, Crop Worker, Crop Farmer/Manager, Oral Health Therapist, Acupuncturist, Dentist, Medical Imaging Technologist, Diagnostic Radiologist, Dietitian, Personal Trainer/Fitness Instructor, Dispensing Optician, Registered Nurse, Agricultural/Horticultural Scientist, Forensic Scientist, Agricultural/Horticultural Consultant, General Practitioner, Gynaecologist/Obstetrician, Psychiatrist, Dog Trainer, Paramedic, Anaesthetist, Anaesthetic Technician, Geologist, Environmental Scientist, Pathologist, Veterinary Nurse, Zoologist, Beekeeper, Chemist, Aquaculture Farmer, Zookeeper, Environmental/Public Health Officer, Marine Biologist, Arborist, Ranger, Medical Physicist, Food Technologist, Professional Sportsperson, Audiologist/Audiometrist, Forest Manager, Forestry Scientist, Pest Control Technician, Microbiologist, Landscaper, Gardener, Beauty Therapist, Farmer/Farm Manager, Agricultural/Horticultural Field Representative, Biochemist, Health and Safety Adviser, Biomedical Engineer, Health Promoter, Biomedical Technician, Biotechnologist, Biosecurity Officer, Health Care Assistant, Naturopath, Veterinarian

Contributions and Equipment/Stationery

This course will have a trip cost. The cost will cover the cost of food, transport and accommodation for the camp/trip. All curriculum costs will be covered by the school.

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