Course Title: Concepts in biology

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2016

Course Code: BIOL5217

Course Title: Concepts in biology

School: 155T Vocational Health and Sciences

Campus: City Campus

Program: C3305 - Certificate III in Science

Course Contact: Namrita Kaul

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4309

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Rahel Leivenzon

9925 4723

Nominal Hours: 50

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

There are no pre-requisites for studying in this course

Course Description

This course covers the skills and knowledge required to investigate the major concepts in biology and their basic application.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VU20929 Concepts in biology


1 Explain the Basic Building blocks for Life

Performance Criteria:

1.1The characteristics of living and non-living things are compared
1.2 The structures within different types of cells are identified and their function described
1.3 The differences between plant and animal cells are explained
1.4 The process of cell reproduction is explained
1.5 The sources of energy and the processes cells use to obtain and use energy are explained


2 Explain the Classification of Living Things

Performance Criteria:

2.1 The characteristics of organisms within kingdom classifications are compared
2.2 The lower levels of classification are explained
2.3 Keys are used to classify living things


3 Describe the Interaction of Living Things

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Features of ecosystems are described
3.3 The relationships between members of ecosystems are described
3.4 The adaptations of living things to their surroundings is described

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course students will be able to:
• explain the structure and function of cells
• explain sources and use of energy
• explain the classification of living things
• explain functions of ecosystems

Details of Learning Activities

Practicals, posters, worksheets, class discussions

Teaching Schedule

             Classes will be delivered over 8 weeks for 3 hours per week.

Teaching Schedule

For the week beginning






Week 1


Life and cells

Week 2


Classification Theory

Week 3


Classification Practical

Week 4


Photosynthesis/Respiration Practical

Week 5


Food chains and webs

Week 6


Adaptations and Evolution

Week 7






Week 8




Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources


John and Hank Green on YouTube

Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course may include Worksheets, Practical reports, Assignments and Tests

Assessment Tasks

Assessment 1: Classification Practical data collection
Individually students will have to accurately record, label and interpret data in an experiment. All of this work will be done in class and so class attendance is mandatory.
This is worth 15% of the course grade.
Due in class 24th February

Assessment 2: Photosynthesis Practical participation and reporting
Students will work in teams to set up an experiment. They will be marked in class as satisfactory (S) or Not Yet satisfactory (NYS) for their experimental set up and so class attendance is mandatory..
Students will interpret the results of their experiment at home and compile a report. This is worth 25% of the course grade.
Competency grading to be done on 29th February and 2nd March
Report Due 11.59pm 16th March via Turnitin


Assessment 3: Food chain & web poster
Each student will create a poster of a unique food web and so class attendance is mandatory.
This is worth 10% of the course grade.
Poster due for presentation in class 16th March  

Assessment 4: Written exam
This is a closed book examination covering all material in the course. It is worth 50% of the course grade and so class attendance is mandatory.
This will be held in Week 8 (Date and Location to be advised)

Assessment Matrix

Other Information

Assessment information

This course is graded in accordance with competency-based assessment, but which also utilises graded assessment

CHD Competent with High Distinction (80 – 100%)
CDI Competent with Distinction (60 – 79%)
CC Competent with Credit (50 – 59%)
CAG Competency Achieved – Graded (0 – 49%)
NYC Not Yet Competent
DNS Did Not Submit for assessment

All assessment types must be passed (exams, prac, and assignments etc.). For example, if there are two tests you need to have an average of 50% to pass. You can’t make up marks from one type of assessment to another (e.g. pass the tests but fail the prac component).
Late work that is submitted without an application for an extension will not be corrected.
APPLICATION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME FOR SUBMISSION OF ASSESSABLE WORK- A student may apply for an extension of up to 7 days from the original due date. They must lodge the application form (available online at least 24 hours before the due date. The application is lodged with the School Admin Office on Level 6, Bdg 51, or emailed to the Coordinator (
Students requiring extensions longer than 7 days must apply for Special Consideration (see the ‘Help me’ link in blackboard, via myRMIT studies or For missed assessments such as exams - you (& your doctor if you are sick) must fill out a special consideration form. This form must be lodged online with supporting evidence (e.g. medical certificate), prior to, or within, 48 hours of the scheduled time of examination.
If you miss an assessment task due to unavoidable circumstances, you need to follow the procedure of special consideration and apply within the allowed time frame.    

Course Overview: Access Course Overview