Course Title: Concepts in biology

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 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

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:


The characteristics of living and non-living things are compared


The structures within different types of cells are identified and their function described


The differences between plant and animal cells are explained


The process of cell reproduction is explained


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:


The characteristics of organisms within kingdom classifications are compared


The lower levels of classification are explained


Keys are used to classify living things



3 Describe the Interaction of Living Things

Performance Criteria:


Features of ecosystems are described


The flow of energy through ecosystems is described


The relationships between members of ecosystems are described


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


The planned learning activities of this course aimed at developing content knowledge and learning skills include:

  • Attending lectures and preparing notes
  • Participating in classroom activities and completing the associated tasks
  • Participating in and reporting on laboratory practicals
  • Building and interpreting dichotomous keys
  • Preparing answers to class exercises
  • Completing required assessment tasks
  • Accessing online material provided on the Learning Hub
  • Participating in group discussions
  • Using technology to support all learning activities


Teaching Schedule


Teaching Schedule


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

The topics/activities covered during this time will be as follows:


Week 1           

6 July

Life and cells

Week 2

13 July

Classification Theory

Week 3

20 July

Classification Practical

Week 4

27 July

Photosynthesis/Respiration Practical

Week 5

3 Aug

Food chains and webs

Week 6

10 Aug

Adaptations and Evolution

Week 7

17 Aug


Week 8

24 Aug





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


To pass this course students must achieve an overall grade of 50% or higher in all assessment tasks.


Assessment 1: Week 3

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 21st July


Assessment 2: Week 4          

Photosynthesis Practical participation and reporting

Students will work in teams to set up an experiment. They will be marked in class as competent (C) or Not Yet competent (NYC) 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 28th July

Report Due 4th August via Turnitin


Assessment 3: Week 6

Food chain & web poster

Each student will create a poster of a unique food web in class and so class attendance is mandatory.


This is worth 10% of the course grade.

Poster due for presentation in class 11th August


Assessment 4: Week 8          


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 August (Location to be advised)




Assessment Matrix

Other Information


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

• To pass the course you need to pass, on average, each type of assessment (exams, pracs, and assignments etc.) For example, if there are two exams you need to have an average of 50% to pass and you also need to have passed the other assessment types. You can’t make up marks from one type of assessment to another (e.g. pass the exams but fail the prac component).

• Late work that is submitted without an application for an extension (see below) 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 and email to the coordinator Namrita Kaul ( The application may also lodged with the School Admin Office on Level 6, Bdg 51. Students requiring longer extensions must apply for SPECIAL CONSIDERATION.

• 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 prior to, or within, 48 hours of the scheduled time of examination


Course Overview: Access Course Overview