Science - Biology

Click to Return to What We Teach

RWSCurriculum Transparent

Intent and Vision

In Biology we have the Ravens Wood vision at heart of our curriculum planning, and it has informed the learning journey of our students. We want our students to be passionate about science and to develop their own curiosity for understanding the world around them.

Key Concepts that Underpin the Curriculum

  1. Understand how scientific methods and theories develop over time.
  2. Use a variety of models such as representational, spatial, descriptive, computational and mathematical to solve problems, make predictions and to develop scientific explanations and understanding of familiar and unfamiliar facts.
  3. Appreciate the power and limitations of science and consider any ethical issues which may arise.
  4. Explain every day and technological applications of science; evaluate associated personal, social, economic and environmental implications; and make decisions based on the evaluation of evidence and arguments.
  5. Evaluate risks both in practical science and the wider societal context, including perception of risk in relation to data and consequences.
  6. Recognise the importance of peer review of results and of communicating results to a range of audiences.

Key Features of Learning

We believe the best way of doing this is teaching students how to learn, problem solve and apply their knowledge to new and changing contexts.

How Does our Curriculum Shape Learners?

Our curriculum helps students to develop into global citizens by equipping them with the knowledge and skills needed to surmount the challenges their generation will likely face.

The Learning Journey: End Points for Each Academic Year

Year 13 By the end of Year 13, students will have had the opportunity to study some of the most fascinating principles in Biology. Building upon their knowledge of membrane structure and function in Year 12, the learn how membranes are capacitators and that this purpose can be exploited in respiration to release energy from glucose, a vital life process to all living organisms, and how this same property can be exploited in photosynthesis to build the glucose in photosynthesising plants. This property of membranes is in fact so vital, that it is responsible for the rapid and life-saving electrical communication via our nervous system. This rapid communication will have been compared to slower methods such as hormonal systems and key examples of homeostatic mechanisms will have been studied. Students will have also have the opportunity to build further on their knowledge of DNA by looking at predicting inheritance of certain traits in offspring and how the genetics of species can change under differing selection pressures. Students will have investigated populations, mutations and the causes of cancer along with cutting edge research on controlling genetic expression.
Year 12 By the end of Year 12, students will have understood how differing atomic arrangements give rise to a whole host of biological molecules which can be built up into fats, proteins and sugars. They will broaden this understanding by comparing these basic molecules to more complex molecules such as phospholipids, DNA and ATP. Once their knowledge of the molecule structure is secured, they can then review how complex molecules are synthesised. From here students will have developed an understanding of how cells are comprised of DNA and a variety of organelles and the function of cell membranes. With this new knowledge of the importance of membranes, they are better able to build upon GCSE knowledge and compare gas exchange in humans, fish and insects and discover the causes of various pathologies. Once oxygen uptake has been studied, students look at how intricate changes in protein structures allow oxygen to dissociate in varying amounts in the tissues that most require it. Students will also have studied how cells replicate and this knowledge will be further developed by looking at the interplay between membrane roles and cell division in the function of the immune system. Cell division will have been investigated further, with its purpose to create genetic variation through meiosis, focusing specifically on the context of natural selection and how this presents itself through ecosystems and their biodiversity.
Year 11 By the end of Year 11, students will have gained further insight into the intricate and delicate mechanisms that maintain the stable internal conditions of the body. They will have compared and contrasted the rapid response of the nervous system with the slower, longer lasting effects of the hormonal system. Students will have gained an understanding of how temperature, blood sugar and water content are controlled and what the consequences are when these systems fail. They will have then looked into how the menstrual cycle is controlled and how knowledge of this can be used to create contraceptives or fertility treatments. Triple students will have had the opportunity to contrast human and plant hormonal systems.Finally, students will have discovered how reproduction and fertilisation occurs in animals and plants and the importance of DNA to this role, taking us back to the starting point of the curriculum, that is variation. Now with a more rounded understanding of the topic, students will study the history of genetics and the different theories of how life arose by Evolution. From here they will discover how we historically classified organisms and how and why this has changed. Triple students will be able to explain how genetic mutations affect organisms at a cellular level and how research is looking to find novel treatments while all students will be able to predict inheritance of recessive and dominant diseases.
Year 10 By the end of Year 10, students will have built upon the fundamental knowledge of cells and how materials are moved around by delving further into mass transport around the body. As part of this they will study how oxygen and carbon dioxide are taken in and removed by the respiratory system, how food molecules are digested and absorbed and how the products of digestion and dissolved gasses are moved around the body in the circulatory system. They will have contrasted mammalian mass transport systems with those of plants.Once an understanding of how an organism carried outs its basic life functions are gained, we then look into how organisms remain well, focusing upon defence systems in animals and plants. We delve further into the non-specific and specific immune system of a human and ask how we can exploit this knowledge to create cutting edge vaccines and treatments such as antibody therapies, as well as an awareness of how common pathogens manifest themselves as illnesses; communicable and non-communicable.Towards the end of Year 10, students will have gained further insight into the relationship between animals and plants by studying the chemical reactions of respiration and photosynthesis and identifying that one is the reverse of the other and how they interlink. They will be introduced to the principles of homeostasis and how the nervous system enables the body to communicate with our environment before continuing this in Year 11.
Year 9 By the end of Year 9, students will have studied the relationships between different organisms and the importance of interdependence to maintain established food webs. They will have then looked at the recent human population expansion, the effects of deforestation and burning fossil fuels on the carbon cycle and review the ways we minimise these harmful effects and maintaining biodiversity for our food security. By the halfway point of Year 9, they will be building strong links between the three disciplines of Science, as they discover the evolution of the atmosphere in Chemistry and how renewable resources will lessen our dependence on fossil fuels in Physics.
Following on from ecosystems and how whole organisms interact with each other, students study cells, sub-cellular structures and the ways particles move into and out of cells, a fundamental principle in Biology underpinning how organisms transfer the materials required for life. They will finish the year by understanding how the respiratory and digestive systems are able to exchange and receive the molecules that are vital for supporting our life processes and how enzymes can help to catalyse these.
Year 8 By the end of Year 8, students will have deepened their understanding of organ systems developed in Year 7 by studying the respiratory system and its importance in gas exchange. Students build on their knowledge of sub-cellular organelles by learning that respiration occurs in mitochondria and is reliant on the respiratory system to provide and remove the gases required for this chemical reaction to occur. Remaining on bioenergetics, students will cover how plants produce glucose through the process of photosynthesis. Since respiration requires glucose, students will also have studied the digestive system, looking at the different food groups and how food is digested and absorbed. Students learn that a variety of diseases can be caused by malnutrition and how to ensure they have a balanced and varied diet. This topic also offers the opportunity to make poo, modelling the human gut, carry out food tests to determine which food groups are in which foods and burn different foods to identify the energy content of a variety of everyday foods. Towards the end of the year 8, students continue to build upon the variation topic learnt in Year 7 and study how DNA is inherited, including inherited diseases and how disease states manifest themselves before finally studying how genetic variation results in evolution over time.
Year 7 By the end of Year 7, students will have learnt how cells are the fundamental building blocks of life and about the functions of sub-cellular structures. They will have had the opportunity to use microscopy to investigate plant cells and multicellular live organisms. They would have built upon this knowledge on how cells build up to make tissues, organs and whole organ systems. They would have gone even further and looked at how the body as a whole works including how antagonistic muscles and skeletal system work together to conduct movement and how our body defends itself from pathogens. They will have learnt about how the variation within individuals arises from DNA in the nucleus and review how this variation has been subject to selective pressures that have resulted in evolution. Linked to this, students will have covered the key aspects of how reproduction takes place in humans and in plants, including their similarities and differences. Finally, they will review how difference species are dependent upon each other and the importance of biodiversity for ensuring stable food webs, which we and other organisms are reliant upon for food security.


Provision Maps

Biology - Y7 - Cells
Biology - Y7 - Human reproduction
Biology - Y7 - Interdependence
Biology - Y7 - Levels of organisation
Biology - Y7 - Plant reproduction
Biology - Y7 - Variation
Biology - Y8 - Breathing
Biology - Y8 - Digestion
Biology - Y8 - Evolution
Biology - Y8 - Inheritance
Biology - Y8 - Photosynthesis
Biology - Y8 - Respiration
Biology - Y9 - 1 - Cell structure and transport
Biology - Y9 - 2 - Cell Division
Biology - Y9 - 3 - Organisation & Digestive System
Biology - Y9 - 4 - Organising Animals and Plants
Biology - Y9 - 5 - Communicable Disease