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GCE Ordinary Level Biology (5090)

Scheme of Work Overview

Recommended Prior Knowledge
Since this syllabus involves a consideration of its topics very largely from first principles, very little, if any, prior knowledge is required. The course has been divided into
8 Units, with each Unit having a common thread and following a sequence close to the sequence followed in the syllabus. The order of topics as presented gives a
logical order for teaching, but teachers may wish to alter the suggested sequence, particularly in regions where marked seasonal variations restrict the availability of
specimens at certain times of the year.
Recommended Resources
A) Online resources
Online resources directed specifically at the O Level examination are extremely rare. The suggested references are intended to provide support for students (and in
some cases, for teachers) following the course. Teachers should therefore check all the suggested references before use since the information they contain may benefit
from a little careful editing before or during use. All sites have been chosen because they are thought to be relevant, helpful and interesting. (N.B. References are to
pages, not just to the general site URL. However, if navigation to the page fails, it may be worth re-entering the reference, but omitting information after the final forward
slash, or even after the final 2 [or 3] forward slashes. You may then be able to follow links from the general site URL to the desired page.)
B) Other resources
The text books mentioned have been written to accommodate this O Level Biology syllabus (though it is advisable to check text book content with syllabus before each
Unit, since the text may also contain some material relevant to another CIE syllabus). The three texts have been chosen since they all carry endorsement by CIE for
use with the O Level syllabus. References are given at the start of each Unit, but are relevant to all learning objectives within that topic.
Details of the text books:
Jones, G. & Jones, M. (2002). Biology International Edition for IGCSE and O Level. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Burtin, I. J. (2000). The Cambridge Revision Guide GCE O Level Biology. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Jones, M. (2003). O Level Biology. Karachi, Oxford University Press.
Reference is also made to a further CIE-endorsed text in the Cambridge University Press Professional Development for Teachers series:
Hayward, D. (2003). Teaching and Assessing Practical Skills in Science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
CIE produces both a CD and a book of past examination papers (GCE O Level Examinations Past Papers with Answer Guides Biology Foundation Books ISBN

Also a CD of prepared microscope slides is produced by CIE, called BIOSCOPE. (Resource references appear in the scheme of work)
Suggested proportion of teaching time to be spent on each Unit
(N/B: Unit 8 is the longest of the Units. Some teachers may feel more comfortable with splitting the unit into its two component parts, spending approximately half the
time on each)
Unit number


Content (syllabus reference)

% of Teaching Time

Unit 1

Cells and Cell Processes

1. Cell Structure and Organisation

1.1 Plant and animal cells
1.2 Specialised cells, tissues and organs
2. Diffusion and Osmosis
2.1 Diffusion
2.2 Osmosis
2.3 Active transport
3. Enzymes
3.1 Enzyme action
3.2 Effects of temperature and pH

15 %

Unit 2

Plant Nutrition and Transport

4. Plant Nutrition
6. Transport in Flowering Plants

15 %

Unit 3

Animal Nutrition

5. Animal Nutrition

15 %

Unit 4

Human Transport and Respiration

7. Transport in Humans
8. Respiration

11 %

Unit 5

Coordination, Response, Movement

and Homeostasis

9. Excretion
10. Homeostasis
11. Coordination and Response
12. Support Movement and Locomotion

11 %

Unit 6

Drugs, Microorganisms and


13. The Use and Abuse of Drugs

14. Microorganisms and Biotechnology


Unit number


Content (syllabus reference)

% of Teaching Time

Unit 7

Organisms and the Environment

15. Relationships of Organisms with One Another and

with the Environment


Unit 8

The Continuity of Life: (reproduction,

genetics and evolution)

16. Development of Organisms and Continuity of Life

17. Inheritance

17 %

UNIT 1 Cells and Cell processes

Recommended Prior Knowledge
Since this is a logical place to begin the course, no prior knowledge is essential. Nevertheless, it would be helpful if students were already familiar with the use of a
microscope and with standard, safe laboratory technique. They might also know the basic principles of diagram drawing sharp HB pencil, drawings as large as can be
fitted into the available space (with room for labels, in upper case, in pencil with ruled label lines). A simple understanding of chemical molecules and chemical
reactions, the kinetic theory, solutions and pH would also be helpful.
Cells are the building blocks of living organisms and basic physiological processes in which they are involved have a relevance throughout the syllabus.
Structural features common to and different in plant and animal cells are considered. Specific examples show how the basic cell structure may be modified for different
functions. The involvement of cells in the processes of diffusion, osmosis and active transport is explained as is the importance and mode of action of enzymes.

1 a-e)

Learning Outcomes

Suggested Teaching and Learning Activities

Online Resources

Other resources

Examine under the microscope an

animal cell (e.g. from fresh liver) and a
plant cell (e.g. from Elodea, a moss,
onion epidermis, or any suitable, locally
available material), using an
appropriate temporary staining
technique, such as iodine or methylene

Whilst the ideal would be that students make good,

labelled drawings of the cells as they see them
under the microscope, this will be a very difficult
task for them at this stage. It would be better to
provide them with a drawing of each cell for them to
copy and label. Check on locally available plants for
leaves that display mesophyll cells adhering to the
peeled-off epidermis in order to demonstrate
chloroplasts not visible in onion cells.
(Cell structure Plants vs.
Animals: colourful, suitable
and user-friendly)

GCE O Level
Examinations Past Papers
with Answer Guides
(Biology) is produced by
CIE (Foundation Books)
CIE also produces the
same material on CD.

Draw diagrams to represent

observations of the plant and animal
cells examined above.
Identify from fresh preparations or on
diagrams or photomicrographs, the cell
membrane, nucleus and cytoplasm in
an animal cell.

Construct a table of similarities and differences

between plant and animal cells.
Use microscopes to examine and compare and
identify structures in epidermal cells peeled from a
fleshy leaf of an onion bulb and stained with iodine
solution. and fresh liver cells stained with methylene

Mary Jones Unit 1 Cell

Ian J. Burton Topic 1
Cell structure and
M. & G. Jones 1 Cells

Identify from diagrams or

photomicrographs, the cell wall, cell
membrane, sap vacuole, cytoplasm,
nucleus and chloroplasts in a plant

Learning Outcomes

Suggested Teaching and Learning Activities

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Other resources

Explain why substances must be controlled and

invite suggestions for chemicals which might pass
in either direction through the membrane (and some
which may not pass through either because they
are needed within the cell or because they might
harm the cell).

Ian J. Burton Topic 2

Specialised Cells, Tissues
and Organs

Compare the visible differences in
structure of the animal and the plant
cells examined.


State the function of the cell membrane

in controlling the passage of
substances into and out of the cell.
State, in simple terms, the relationship
between cell function and cell structure
- absorption root hair cells*
- conduction and support xylem
- transport of oxygen red blood cells.*
Differentiate between cell, tissue, organ
and organ system.

Explain the importance of surface area to volume

ratios. Relate this to maximum rate and amount of
uptake in cells marked *.
Mention that xylem vessels are dead and should
not be called cells and that their walls are
strengthened for support. Since they have no
cytoplasm, they are simply hollow tubes for the
conduction of water and mineral ions.
(cell adaptation)

Bioscope CD Human
blood cells
(hierarchy of structure)

Explain that red blood cells are biconcave discs for

two reasons: (i) it provides a large surface area for
gas exchange; (ii) it makes the cell flexible enough
to pass through small capillaries. Give an indication
of size and its importance. Provide good diagrams
of a root hair cell and of a red blood cell (in surface
view and in longitudinal section) for students to
Explain the hierarchy of these structures and invite
students to supply both animal and plant examples
of each.
Observe, under microscope, prepared slides of root
hair cells, xylem vessels and red blood cells.

Learning Outcomes

Suggested Teaching and Learning Activities

Online Resources

Other resources


Ian J. Burton Topic 3

Diffusion and Osmosis
(active transport also

Mary Jones Unit 2

Diffusion, Osmosis and
Active Transport.

Students may germinate their own seeds (part-fill a

specimen tube or glass jar with water and trap a
seed between the walls of the tube/ jar and a piece
of filter paper) and observe the root hairs.
They should make a drawing of a root hair cell and
red blood cells.
Teacher-led discussion of hierarchy of structure
including plant and animal examples.

2 a-d)

Define diffusion as the movement of

molecules from a region of their higher
concentration to a region of their lower
concentration, down a concentration
Define osmosis as the passage of
water molecules from a region of their
higher concentration to a region of their
lower concentration through a partially
permeable membrane.
Describe the importance of water
potential gradient in the uptake of water
by plants and the effects of osmosis on
plant and animal tissues.
Define active transport and discuss its
importance as an energy-consuming
process by which substances are
transported against a concentration
gradient, as in ion uptake by root hairs
and glucose uptake by cells in the villi.

Refer to chemical molecules always in a state of

random motion. Explain the concept of
concentration in gases and in liquids and the
tendency for molecules to move from where they
are more concentrated to where they are less
concentrated. Illustrate with an air freshener placed
on one side of the laboratory and with potassium
manganate IV solution dropped with a pipette into a
large beaker of still water. Explain that netting
drawn across the room would not prevent the
diffusion of the molecules of air freshener since the
mesh is too large to inhibit their passage. Relate
this to the passage of molecules through the cell
walls of plants.

M. & G. Jones 2
Diffusion, Osmosis and
Active transport

Use Visking tubing to demonstrate that it allows

water molecules to pass but not sugar (sucrose)
molecules. Set up a Visking sausage containing a
concentrated sucrose solution, attached to a length
of glass tubing at one end and submerged in a
beaker of water at the other. Note rise in level of
sucrose solution.
Relate uptake of water into cells with increase in
volume and, as a consequence of the cell wall, also
of pressure within the cell. Explain the importance

Learning Outcomes

Suggested Teaching and Learning Activities

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Explain the function of a catalyst. The analogy of a

large organic molecule resembling a cycle chain
which can be dismantled at the links may be a
useful analogy
(lock and key hypothesis)

M. & G. Jones 3

Introduce the terms substrate, product and active


of turgidity in the process of support. In the absence

of a cell wall, animal cells will burst.
Stress that, during osmosis, water molecules ONLY
move across a water potential gradient.
Explain the need for uptake of ions even when their
concentration may already be greater inside a cell
or organism. Energy from respiration must be used
to counteract the effect of natural diffusion.
Students should observe the effect of osmosis
i) on plant cells using onion epidermis mounted in
pure water and in concentrated sugar solution
and viewed under a microscope and
ii) on tissue using measured lengths of raw potato
chips immersed in water and in concentrated
sugar solution
Students could set up bean seedlings in dilute
fertiliser solution, topping up with distilled water and
measuring the nitrate concentration in the water to
show the effect of active transport in ion uptake into

3 a-c)

Define enzymes as proteins that

function as biological catalysts.
Explain enzyme action in terms of the
lock and key hypothesis.
Investigate and describe the effect of
temperature and pH on enzyme

Explain in terms of heat and pH the effect of

changing the shape of the active site on the
enzyme permanently in the case of extreme heat.
(Reference to the difference between raw and

Mary Jones - Unit 3

Ian J. Burton Topic 4
Enzymes Topic 5
Nutrition (for food tests)
(effect of external

Learning Outcomes

Suggested Teaching and Learning Activities

Online Resources

cooked egg white helps to make the point). State

that the rate of enzyme-controlled reactions
increases to an optimum as increased heat supplies
kinetic energy to speed the movement of
molecules. Also enzymes are then destroyed NOT

conditions on enzyme

Explain graphs of rate of enzyme reaction at

different temperatures and at different pHs.
Explain the use of the Iodine test for starch and
Benedicts test for reducing sugars

Other resources
&ebs=&ebl=&elc=4 has a
good range of learning
activities, revision
materials, animations and

Students should carry out the iodine test for starch

and Benedicts test for reducing sugars on
prepared solutions of starch and glucose before
beginning the enzyme experiments.
Students should perform experiments on
the effects of amylase on starch solution at
two or three different temperatures also of
the effect of boiling the amylase before use,
ii) the effect of pH on the same reaction at a
constant temperature
iii) students could investigate the effects a range
of breakdown of hydrogen peroxide by
catalase (e.g. in yeast or potato).

UNIT 2 Plant Nutrition and Transport

Recommended Prior Knowledge
Unit 1 will supply students with valuable knowledge on the structure of plant cells as well as on diffusion, osmosis, and transport in the xylem. The basic structure of the
starch and sugar molecules should be understood. Energy will have been mentioned with reference to active transport, but students should be aware that there are
different forms of energy and that it can be transformed from one form to another.
This Unit concentrates on the botanical relevance of topics covered in Unit 1 and forms a natural link with topics to be visited in several other Units, notably Units 3 and
Photosynthesis, as the process responsible for the production of food for all living organisms, is explained. The basic biochemistry of the process as well as the
conditions necessary for the process to occur, are considered. The structure and adaptation of a leaf and of leaf cells for photosynthesis are considered in some detail
and reference is made to carbohydrate as the starting point for protein synthesis. A knowledge of leaf structure allows students then to investigate the process of
transpiration. The Unit generates many opportunities for practical work, but for Centres operating in areas which experience marked seasonal change, some thought
may have to be given to the best time for studying the Unit.

4 a, g,

Learning Outcomes

Suggested Teaching and Learning Activities

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Understand that photosynthesis

is the fundamental process by
which plants manufacture
carbohydrates from raw

Explain that photosynthesis is a plants method of

nutrition. Only small molecules can be absorbed (by
diffusion and osmosis) and these are used by the
plant to build larg(er) molecules. Explain that energy is
required to construct the larger molecules and is
obtained as light energy. Some of this energy remains
locked away (as chemical energy) in the molecules of
carbohydrate produced. Chlorophyll absorbs the light
energy and thus photosynthesis occurs where
chlorophyll is located in the chloroplasts. Carbon
dioxide from the atmosphere and water from the soil
are the small molecules that are used to construct the
larger glucose molecules. No details of lightdependent/independent reactions are required.
(good explanation of

GCE O Level Examinations

Past Papers with Answer
Guides (Biology) is
produced by CIE
(Foundation Books. CIE
also produce the same
material on CD.

Understand that chlorophyll traps

light energy and converts it to
chemical energy for the formation
of carbohydrates and their
subsequent storage
State the equation for
photosynthesis either in words or

Glucose manufactured by photosynthesis may be

converted to starch and stored in the chloroplasts
and/or converted to sucrose to be conducted to other
organs (via phloem) for storage as sucrose or as
(an outline of
photosynthesis and

M. & G. Jones 5 How

Green Plants Feed
Mary Jones Unit 4
Ian J. Burton Topic 6
Plant Nutrition

Learning Outcomes

Suggested Teaching and Learning Activities

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starch. Invite students to suggest examples.

An equation in words is perfectly acceptable, but an
equation in symbols must balance. In both cases, light
energy rather than just energy should be specified.
(limiting factors)

Explain the importance of controls in scientific practice

and invite the students to list the variables which must
be controlled.
Any locally available variegated leaf will suffice, but
run the experiment through first to check that it stores
starch, not sugar (common in monocots)!
Mention the importance, in all cases, of starting with a
destarched plant.
It is advisable to demonstrate the steps in the starch
test on a leaf before allowing students to carry it out. If
a naked flame is used for heating, STRESS the
danger of using methylated spirits and the need for
Students may first be shown a water plant evolving
bubbles of oxygen as it photosynthesises in bright
light, then be invited to suggest how they could
investigate the effect of varying light intensity and
temperature. They are likely to require help with
varying CO2.
Stress the importance of keeping all variables
constant, other than the one being investigated.
Investigate the necessity for chlorophyll, light and
carbon dioxide for photosynthesis using appropriate

Learning Outcomes

Suggested Teaching and Learning Activities


for chlorophyll, students should use a plant with

variegated leaves e.g. variegated Pelargonium.

For light, use corks held, with a pin, either side of a


For CO2, perhaps better as a laboratory

demonstration. Place the plant under a bell jar or
similar, containing a beaker of concentrated
sodium hydroxide solution to absorb CO2.

Online Resources

Other resources
(photomicrograph of leaf

Bioscope CD TS leaves of
Erica and privet

Investigate and state the effect of varying light

intensity, carbon dioxide concentration and
temperature on the rate of photosynthesis (e.g. in
submerged aquatic plants)
All experiments here are modifications of that in which
a water plant is submerged in a beaker of water. The
rate of photosynthesis is determined by measuring
volumes or counting bubbles of O2 released as the
plant is exposed to one altered variable

4 e, f, i)

Understand the concept of

limiting factors.
Describe the intake of carbon
dioxide and water by plants.
Identify and label the cellular and
tissue structure of a
dicotyledonous leaf, as seen in a
cross-section under a
microscope, and describe the
significance of these features in
terms of function, i.e.
distribution of chloroplasts and
photosynthesis; - stomata and

The required factor that is in the shortest supply limits

the rate at which a plant will photosynthesise. Show by
a simple graph that the rate of photosynthesis levels
off with increased availability of CO2 or light. Invite
students to suggest an explanation for this and to
predict what might happen if the availability of the
limiting factor is increased.
Explain the entry of carbon dioxide through pores
(stomata) in the leaf surface by diffusion and its
subsequent diffusion through spaces between
mesophyll cells. It then dissolves before entering cells
and diffusing into chloroplasts.

Learning Outcomes

Suggested Teaching and Learning Activities

mesophyll cells and gas

exchange; - vascular bundles and

Consider the entry of water from the soil to be as a

result of osmosis, reaching the chloroplasts via the
xylem vessels.

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(mineral nutrition)

Mary Jones Unit 7

Transport in Flowering
(root hair diagrams and

M. & G. Jones 7

Using a projected photomicrograph or a diagram of TS

of a leaf, identify the main tissues of a leaf, explaining
the role of the parts in the process of photosynthesis.
Supply students with a large, clear unlabelled drawing
of a leaf TS and, using your model, ask them to label
their diagrams. Include labels for xylem and phloem
(see Unit 3) as well as for vascular bundle and
describe the functions of the two separate tissues.
Also, explain the control of stoma size by pressure of
water within guard cells.
Carefully copy labels of the structure of a leaf onto
unlabelled copy of leaf TS. Anotations describing
function may also be included.

4 j, h)

Understand the effect of a lack of

nitrate and magnesium on plant
Explain why most forms of life are
completely dependent on

6 a-d)

Relate structure and functions of

root hair cells to their surface
area and to water and ion uptake.
State that transpiration is the loss
of water vapour from the leaves
through stomata.
Describe how water vapour loss
is related to cell surfaces, air

Carbohydrate manufactured by photosynthesis is the

molecule which acts as the starting point for building
other organic molecules. Plants must absorb ions from
the soil in order to make these molecules. Magnesium
is necessary for chlorophyll manufacture and nitrates
for protein manufacture. Without magnesium a plant
cannot photosynthesise and without proteins it cannot
grow. A demonstration of plants grown under these
deficiencies, and a control which does not lack the
ions, reinforces the concept in students minds.
Students should now realise that carbohydrates and
proteins important components of their own diets are manufactured by plants. Fats/oils are also
manufactured by plants. (Invite examples). They will
also know that they need O2 to respire and that they
breath out CO2 the exact reverse of photosynthesis.

Ian J. Burton Topic 8

Transport in Flowering

(transpiration animation)
(use of a potometer)

Learning Outcomes

Suggested Teaching and Learning Activities

spaces and stomata.

Unit 1 has already considered the importance of

surface area, in particular of root hair cells for the
uptake of water and ions and f) and j) above have
referred to their uptake. This learning outcome should
be little more than an opportunity for consolidation of
facts and of understanding.

Describe the effects of variation

of temperature, humidity and light
intensity on transpiration rates.

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Describe how wilting occurs.

Investigate, using a suitable
stain, the pathway of water in a
cut stem.

Ensure that students do not think that transpiration is

the loss of water from the leaf surface, but that they
realise that evaporation has occurred first from moist
surfaces of mesophyll cells within the leaf and that
water vapour then diffuses through the leaf spaces
and out into the atmosphere down a concentration
gradient. Ensure also that there is no confusion
between guard cell and stoma(ta).
Explain that those conditions that speed up or slow
down the evaporation of water also speed up or slow
down the rate of transpiration. Increased light intensity
speeds up transpiration by virtue of the fact that it
opens up the stomata to their fullest extent.
A potometer provides good visual support to this
section, but difficulty may be experienced in altering
any of the variables required.
Explain that water lost from a plant must be replaced
from the soil. If the rate of water loss exceeds its rate
of uptake, the plant will wilt (not wither). Describe and
invite students to explain the appearance of a wilted
Students will know that water travels in the xylem. This
learning activity will demonstrate the distribution of
xylem tissue in the chosen stem. Though not a stem, a
stick of celery is a suitable material for this
demonstration, but any plant with a relatively
colourless and fleshy stem is likely to be satisfactory.

Learning Outcomes

Suggested Teaching and Learning Activities

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(*see 6 a-d above)

Bioscope CD Ts and LS of
Ranunculus stem and root

Investigating a cut stem: students should cut the stem

cleanly and place the cut end in a solution of a
suitable stain (food dye is inexpensive and works
well). Results can often be seen in 10 to 15 minutes
when a further section is taken from the stem at a
position just above the level of the solution. Students
should then make a labelled drawing of their

6 e-g)

Explain the movement of water

through the stem in terms of
transpiration pull.
Identify the positions of xylem
and phloem tissues as seen in
transverse sections of
unthickened, herbaceous,
dicotyledonous roots, stems and
State the function of xylem and

Explain that the evaporation of water from mesophyll

cells increases the concentration in the sap vacuole of
those cells. Osmosis then draws more water up the
xylem to replace the water lost. Dissolved in that water
are ions which have been absorbed by the root hairs.
Use projected photomicrographs then diagrams to
demonstrate the position and appearance of xylem
and phloem in roots and stems (leaves have already
been considered in 4i) above). Use a transparency to
project labelled diagrams of the position of the xylem
and phloem in roots and stems. Supply students with
blank copies of the diagrams to label. Annotate the
diagrams to indicate that phloem conducts SUCROSE
(not glucose) and amino acids in solution and the
xylem carries water and ions (dissolved salts).
Observe under the microscope sections, prepared or
freshly cut by students, of roots and stems. Label
diagrams of TS roots and stems to show position and
function of xylem and phloem.

UNIT 3 Animal Nutrition

Recommended Prior Knowledge
Students need to know of the existence of chemical elements, particularly of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen, also that chemical energy is contained within the
larger organic molecules. A knowledge of enzymes and enzyme action is necessary (Unit 1) as well as a very simple understanding of the circulatory system.
Otherwise, this Unit could be used as a starting point for the course with the above requirements being dealt with as they arise in the learning outcomes.
This Unit provides the underlying biochemical knowledge essential for studying almost all of the other Units in the course.
The Unit begins with a study of the three major classes of organic nutrients and their food tests. Diet and its importance are considered, as well as the processing of
dietary intake within the body. The action of specific enzymes is considered and the Unit ends with a link to Unit 5 with a consideration of the role of the liver.

5 a, b)

Learning Outcomes

Suggested Teaching Activities

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List the chemical elements that make

up carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

That carbohydrates and fats contain carbon,

hydrogen and oxygen only (but in different
proportions) and that proteins contain the
same three elements plus nitrogen can be
illustrated using a collection of four different
shapes cut from paper or thin card and moved
around on an OHP. Explain that hydrate
relates to water and carbohydrates always
contain H and O in the same ratio as in water.
(food tests)

GCE O Level Examination

Past Papers with Answers
Guides (Biology) is
produced by CIE
(Foundation Books). CIE
also produces the same
material on CD.

Describe tests for Starch (I2 solution),

reducing sugars (Benedicts solution),
protein (Biuret test) and fats (ethanol
emulsion test).

It is often preferable to ask students first to

perform the tests on prepared solutions of
starch, glucose and egg albumen, also on e.g.
cooking oil. They should also carry out a test in
each case on pure water and results should be
recorded in a table as visible results in each
case (e.g. Benedicts turns red with reducing
sugar; stays blue in its absence). Never allow
students to say that a test proves positive or

Ian J. Burton Topic 5

M. & G. Jones 4 How
Animals Feed
Mary Jones Unit 5 Animal
Nutrition Diet

Carry out tests first on prepared samples of

each chemical, then either on mixtures or on

Learning Outcomes

Suggested Teaching Activities

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supplied foodstuffs. Record results and

conclusions in tabular form. Table lines should
be ruled and all columns have suitable

5 c-h)

List the principle sources of, and

describe the dietary importance of
carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins
(C and D only), mineral salts (calcium
and iron only), fibre (roughage) and
Understand the concept of a balanced
Describe the deficiency symptoms of
vitamins C and D and mineral salts
calcium and iron.
Explain why diet, especially energy
intake, should be related to age, sex
and activity of an individual.
State the effects of malnutrition in
relation to starvation, heart disease,
constipation and obesity.
Discuss the problems that contribute to
famine (unequal distribution of food,
drought and flooding, increasing

It might be helpful here to consider the

importance of the different chemical
constituents of a diet before considering their
sources. Principle sources will differ in different
areas of the world.
(nutritional contents of a
variety of foods)

Stress the importance of a diet containing

sufficient of each constituent to satisfy the
bodys needs. Both too little and too much of
any one or more constituents can be harmful
[see e), f) and g)]. A balanced diet is therefore
one that contains correct proportions of all
(informative explanation of
balanced diet)

Descriptions of the deficiency diseases

resulting from a lack of vitamins C and D
should be supported if possible with pictures.
The need for calcium in the development of
strong bones and teeth should be mentioned
and for iron in the manufacture of haemoglobin
for oxygen transport.
(list including vitamins C
and D)
(consideration of world

The energy requirements for sedentary and

physical life styles should be considered,
including the likelihood that young people are
generally more active than older ones.
Additional energy is also needed for growth in
young people. A simple consideration and
comparison of the metabolic rates of males
and females should provoke discussion!

Learning Outcomes

Suggested Teaching Activities

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(the alimentary canal)

Mary Jones Unit 6 Animal

Nutrition Digestion

This objective illustrates well that eating too

much as well as too little is a form of
Students in groups may be invited to list all the
factors they can think of that contribute to
famine. These can then be collected and
discussed. Several not in the syllabus may be
identified which might make for lively

Brainstorming in groups on causes of famine.

5 i-k)

Identify the main regions of the

alimentary canal and the associated
organs: mouth, salivary glands,
oesophagus, stomach, duodenum, gall
bladder, liver, ileum, colon, rectum and
The alimentary canal may be drawn
with these regions labelled (beware,
drawings can be unacceptably
inaccurate) or a good quality unlabelled
diagram can be provided which the
students label from a projected master.
Describe the main functions of these
parts in relation to ingestion, digestion,
absorption, assimilation and egestion of
food as appropriate.
Identify the different types of human
teeth and describe their structure and

Students may enjoy a description of a trip

through the alimentary canal as seen by a
well-protected bacterium attached to a plant
cell wall. Such an imaginative scenario must
them be supported with a more mundane
demonstration diagram with parts labelled.
Avoid providing more labels than the syllabus

Ian J. Burton - Topic 7

Animal Nutrition

The terms ingestion and absorption should not

pose any great problems of understanding. It
will need to be stressed that only certain large
molecules are digested (in order to be
absorbed). Assimilation as the incorporation of
absorbed chemicals into the structure of an
organism will need careful explanation. Many
students confuse egestion and excretion, so
the differences should be carefully explained.
Remember to include a reference to milk teeth
and to wisdom teeth. Cutting and grinding
(as appropriate) are more accurate
descriptions of tooth function then chewing. A
model of a tooth to show internal structure is

Learning Outcomes

Suggested Teaching Activities

Online Resources

Other resources

helpful and students should be supplied with

good diagrams of a tooth in longitudinal
section and of a dental arcade.
Students should label the structures shown on
an LS of a tooth and name and label the
functions of the different teeth in a lower or
upper jaw.

5 l-o)

State the causes of dental decay and

describe the proper care of teeth.
Describe peristalsis.
Explain why most foods must be
Describe digestion in the alimentary
canal and the functions of a typical
amylase, protease and lipase, listing the
substrates and end-products.

Stress that sugar left on teeth, particularly

whilst asleep, attracts bacteria and that it is the
acid excreted by these bacteria as they feed
on the sugar that dissolves the enamel
(toothpastes are therefore alkaline).
A bead in a length of rubber tubing illustrates
the action. Reference should be made to food
being pushed along the entire length of the gut
by waves of contraction of circular muscles
and of the antagonistic effect of the
longitudinal muscles. The speed of a wave
may be illustrated by the time taken for a
mouthful of hot food to pass along the
oesophagus (or drink swallowed when lying in
a semi-recumbent position it can be heard as
it enters the stomach).

(including good animation)
(explanation of digestion)
(villus absorption movie
involving download)

This has already been mentioned in j) above.

Only small molecules can pass through the
membranes of the cells lining the gut to be
absorbed into the body (until then, even when
in the gut, they are still outside the body).
Starch, proteins and facts are too large to be
absorbed and must be broken down into the
smallest constituent parts. Shapes cut from
thin card and projected with an OHP can
illustrate effectively how starch is constructed

Learning Outcomes

Suggested Teaching Activities

Online Resources

Other resources

Bioscope CD ileum

form a string of monosaccharide units, proteins

from amino acids and fats from fatty acids and
Where each molecule is dismantled can be
related to a specific region of the alimentary
canal and to a specific enzyme (and to pH). By
the time food arrives in the ileum, only the end
products of digestion are present (together
with those chemicals that are not broken down,
either because they are already small enough
for absorption or because no enzymes are
present for their breakdown).
Enzyme experiments involving protease and or
lipase may be used to consolidate this section.

5 p-r)

Describe the structure of a villus,

including the roles of capillaries and
Describe the significance of villi in
increasing the internal surface area.
State the function of the hepatic portal
vein as the route taken by most of the
food absorbed from the small intestine
to the liver.

Villi are the means by which all food

substances that are absorbed enter the body.
Refer to large surface area of each villus and
of villi collectively. Display a large annotated
diagram to show villus structure in LS and that
all absorbed substances pass into the blood
capillaries except the digested fats (into the
lacteals). It will need to be explained that
lacteals unite to join the lymph system that
feeds into the circulatory system (by-passing
the liver), whilst the blood capillaries link
directly with the liver via the HPV.
Made large labelled and annotated drawing of
a villus.

5 s)

Learning Outcomes

Suggested Teaching Activities

s) State that large molecules are

synthesised from smaller basic units
glycogen from glucose, proteins from
amino acids, lipids from glycerol and
fatty acids. State the role of the liver in
metabolism of glucose and amino acids,
the role of fat as a storage substance
and that the formation of urea and the
breakdown of alcohol occur in the liver.

The breakdown of large molecules into small

ones has already been considered. The
reverse of this is a logical consequence and
part of the process of assimilation, but stress
that glucose is built up in animals not into
starch, but into glycogen.

Online Resources

Other resources

The liver the chemical factory of the body

deals with the conversion of glucose into
glycogen (and its storage) [See unit 5, 11 j)
and k)]. A brief mention should be made at this
point of the importance of insulin for this
process, and that the hormone adrenaline
promotes the conversion of glycogen into
glucose which is released into the blood as
part of blood glucose control. The breakdown
of amino acids in excess into a carbohydrate
(also to be stored as glycogen) and the
excretory product, urea, should be mentioned.
As a part of its role in removing poisons, the
liver also breaks down alcohol [see also Unit 5,
11 i)].
Fat is a high-energy insulating storage
substance. It is stored in the dermis and round
kidneys. It is not considered to be stored
round the heart.
Poster making exercise to build understanding
of these areas and to reinforce the learning of
the rest of the Unit. Small groups of students
cooperate to produce posters using
illustrations and words to summarize key
knowledge and understanding.

UNIT 4 Transport in Humans and Respiration

Recommended Prior Knowledge The first part of this Unit stands very much alone and can be studied in isolation, though a knowledge of the substances
absorbed into the blood from the small intestine would be useful. The Respiration section of the Unit would certainly benefit from a prior knowledge of
chemical molecules and of energy (see Units 2 & 3) and of active transport (Unit 1)
Context Since all characteristics of living organisms are heavily dependent on the energy released during respiration, this Unit provides essential knowledge
for the understanding of most of the other Units.
Outline The structure and function of the heart and the circulatory system are considered together with coronary disease. The structure and function of blood
and its component parts are also studied. Aerobic and anaerobic respiration are covered as well as the organs and structures involved in gaseous exchange.
The Unit generates a varied assortment of practical investigations.

Learning Outcomes

a) Describe the circulatory system as a

system of tubes with a pump and valves to
ensure one-way flow of blood.

b) Describe the double circulation in terms of

a low pressure circulation to the lungs and a
high pressure circulation to the body tissues
and relate these differences to the different
functions of the two circuits.

Suggested Teaching Activities

The names of the three different types of

blood vessel should be mentioned and,
with a moderately tight (only) tourniquet
round the upper arm, the teacher may
chose to demonstrate the one-way action
of valves in the vein running along the back
of their fore-arm.
Explain that blood leaves the heart in
arteries and returns in veins, and that
arteries are joined to veins by capillaries.
This holds both for circulation to the lungs
as well as to the rest of the body. Since the
lungs are close to the heart, and at the
same level as the heart the pressure
needed to send blood to them is lower.
Fewer capillaries in the lungs than in the
rest of the body also calls for less pressure

Online Resources

Other resources
GCE O Level Examination
Past Papers with Answer
Guides (Biology) is produced
by CIE (Foundation Press).
CIE also produces the same
material on CD.
Ian J Burton Topic 9
Transport in Human Beings
M. & G. Jones 7 Transport
Mary Jones Unit 8
Transport in Humans

c) Name the main blood vessels to and from

the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys.

d) Describe the structure and function of the

heart in terms of muscular contraction and the
working of valves.
Learning Activities
Labelling diagrams of the double circulation
and of the heart

Learning Outcomes
e) Compare the structure and function of
arteries, veins and capillaries

Learning Activities
Students should locate an artery e.g. at their
wrist or at the side of the neck and count and
record the rate of the pulse at rest. The
number of beats per 15 s should be recorded
and multiplied by 4 to give beats per minute.
f) Investigate and state the effect of physical

to push the blood through.

A simplified, labelled, demonstration
diagram of only those blood vessels
nominated should first be explained, and
then a similar unlabelled diagram might be
provided for students to label.
Again, a labelled demonstration diagram
can be used to provide the correct
terminology for the structures that make up
the heart and to explain the heart cycle and
the action of valves. Stress that both atria
contract together, followed by both
ventricles not that the right side contracts
first to send blood to the lungs, followed by
the left side to send blood to rest of the
body. As above, an unlabelled diagram
should be provided for students to label.
A demonstration dissection of a heart is
usually well-received though it is wise to be
alert in advance to the possible sensibilities
of individual students.

Drawings of TSs of all three vessels should

be supplied with also an LS of a vein to
demonstrate semi-lunar valves.
Annotations on the diagrams can link
structure with function.
(animation of heart)
(informative, but some details
in excess of O level
(also, as above, but ending

Bioscope CD TS of artery
and of vein

activity on pulse rate.

Students should work in pairs one as the
researcher and one as the subject, who takes
two minutes brisk exercise (data for the whole
class can be pooled if they all perform exactly
the same exercise a good time to discuss
control of variables). Immediately afterwards,
the researcher takes the pulse rate for 15
seconds every minute until the rate returns to
normal. Graphs should be drawn of rate
(beats per minute) against time.
Learning Outcomes
g) Describe coronary heart disease in terms
of the occlusion of coronary arteries and state
the possible causes (diet, stress and
smoking) and preventive measures.

This outcome links with the first few

outcomes on diet in Unit 3. Saturated fats
and cholesterol should be mentioned as
being constituents of atheroma. The need
for exercise should be stressed as well
as other precautions especially if there is
a family history of heart disease.

Learning Activity
h) Identify red and white blood cells as seen
under the light microscope on prepared
slides, and in diagrams and

Students should note the paler colour of

red blood cells towards their centres, the
different comparative sizes and numbers of
red and white cells, and that there are
different types of white cell (though their
different names are not required). They
should also be made aware that the
colours of the cells are as seen after
staining and are not the natural colours.

Learning Outcomes
i) List the components of blood as red blood
cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma:
j) State the functions of blood : red blood cells
haemoglobin and oxygen transport;
white blood cells phagocytosis, antibody
formation and tissue rejection;

This outcome lends itself to presentation of

the facts in tabular form.
The ability of haemoglobin to absorb and
release oxygen should be mentioned. The
response of WBCs to foreign protein is
relevant in transplant surgery (invite
suggestions on why transplants are likely to
(both structure and functions
of blood)
photomicrographs of blood

Bioscope Human Blood

platelets fibrinogen to fibrin, causing

plasma transport of blood cells, ions,
soluble food substances, hormones, carbon
dioxide, urea, vitamins, plasma proteins.
k) Describe the transfer of materials between
capillaries and tissue fluid.

a) Define respiration as the release of energy

from food substances in all living cells.

b) Define aerobic respiration as the release of

a relatively large amount of energy by the
breakdown of food substances in the
presence of oxygen.
c) State the equation (in words or symbols)

be more successful between closely

related people).
Reference to fibrinogen allows the
introduction of the concept of plasma
proteins which should be clearly
differentiated from dietary protein
absorbed into the blood as amino acids.
Capillaries may be thought of as leaky, but
their walls will not allow large molecules to
pass. Plasma proteins are too large to do
so as are blood cells with the exception of
some WBCs which are able to change
shape to squeeze through and reach a site
of infection. This description will allow
students to differentiate between plasma
and tissue fluid. Stress the two-way
movement of materials with metabolic
products able to pass from cells into
(tissue fluid animation)

Mary Jones Unit 9


It is ESSENTIAL at this stage to

differentiate between breathing and
respiration. It should be made clear that
respiration is a chemical reaction occurring
in all living cells with the sole purpose of
energy release. Also stress that energy is
not needed for respiration as so many
students believe, or that respiration
creates energy. Note that the definition
allows for respiratory substrates other than
glucose, though glucose is the only one
required by the syllabus.

(with links to aerobic and
anaerobic respiration)

In Unit 2, students have learnt the equation

for photosynthesis and that the process is
the reverse of respiration. Again, a word
equation is acceptable, but if symbols are
used, the equation must balance (it is

(See link above)

Ian J. Burton Topic 10

M. & G. Jones 6

for aerobic respiration.

acceptable to add + energy released on

the right hand side).
Students should realise that, during this
process, the glucose is completely broken
down to its constituent molecules, releasing
all the energy absorbed in building the

d) Name and state the uses of energy in the

body of humans: muscle contraction, protein
synthesis, cell division, active transport,
growth, the passage of nerve impulses and
the maintenance of a constant body

This outcome allows for the introduction of

the concept of energy being required to
build large molecules other than glucose or
starch. Two further types of energy are also
introduced heat energy and electrical
energy, to add to light and chemical energy
so far considered in Unit 2.

e) Define anaerobic respiration as the release

of a relatively small amount of energy by the
breakdown of food substances in the absence
of oxygen.

This is likely to be a new concept for

students. It may be explained that, in the
absence of oxygen, the respiratory
substrate is not completely broken down
into its constituent molecules. Some
chemical energy therefore remains in the
molecules produced in the reaction, leaving
less to be released than in aerobic

f) State the equation (in words or symbols) for

anaerobic respiration.

Two forms of anaerobic respiration are

relevant to the syllabus. Both should be
given, but also, a clear explanation that
one form is encountered in fermentation
(Unit 6) and the other in muscle action. In
view of the likely unfamiliarity with the
organic structure of lactic acid, word
equations rather than equations in symbols
might be more accessible to students.

g) Describe the effect of lactic acid production

in muscles during exercise.

Students will readily identify with the

tiredness felt in muscles during prolonged

(see link above)

periods of exercise. This can be related to

the build-up of lactic acid. Most (but not all)
students will be familiar with cramp, and
that it often strikes after exercise has
finished, as a result of the circulation not
being able to remove the lactic acid quickly
enough from the muscles [see 7 k)].
h) Investigate and state the differences
between inspired and expired air.
i) Investigate and state the effect of physical
activity on rate and depth of breathing.

Learning Activities
Students should breathe in and out through
hydrogencarbonate or limewater indicator (to
show presence of more CO2).
Breathing into a test-tube of water at
laboratory temperature for several minutes (to
demonstrate temperature of expired air) and
onto dried cobalt chloride paper (to show
presence of moisture) may be suitable
investigations depending on ambient
temperature and humidity.
Working in pairs, with one student as the
subject, breathing rates before and after
exercise may be measured (using the count
for 15 s then multiply by 4 method repeated
for 10 minutes after the exercise).
Graphs may be drawn of the results and
compared with those obtained in 7 e) above.

Learning Outcomes

Although a table of differences with

approximate percentages should be
given, it should be supported by a practical
investigation of the comparative amounts of
CO2 and water vapour in air, and of
differences in temperature. Local climatic
conditions may impinge upon the water
vapour and temperature investigations.
Students will be aware that they breathe
more deeply after exercise and this
knowledge should be supported with an
illustrative graph (which would also show
the change in rate of breathing).

j) Identify on diagrams and name the larynx,

trachea, bronchi, bronchioles, alveoli and
associated capillaries.
Learning Activity
Labelling the diagram of thorax contents.

Learning Activity
Label the diagram of the contents of the
Learning Outcomes
k) State the characteristics of, and describe
the role of, the exchange surface of alveoli in
gas exchange.

l) Describe the role of cilia, diaphragm, ribs

and intercostal muscles in breathing.
Learning Activity
Students should list ways in which the bell-jar
demonstration does not accurately reflect the
process of breathing.

Bioscope CD Lung (showing

A labelled OHP transparency of the
contents of the thorax could be shown and
described to the students. Include only the
labels specified + diaphragm ribs and
intercostals muscles. Then supply students
with an unlabelled version for them to label.

Draw attention to the small size and large

number, and therefore large surface area
of, alveoli; their thinness of walls, moisture
coating and short distance between
extensive networks of capillaries.
Ensure that students do not believe cilia to
be hairs that filter the passing air. Consider
the mechanism for increasing the volume
therefore decreasing the pressure within
the thoracic cavity causing atmospheric air
to be forced into the lungs. The action of
internal intercostal muscles need not be
Balloons attached to a glass tube in an airtight bell jar with a rubber/polythene sheet
stretched across its base demonstrates the
principle involved. Invite students to list
ways in which the demonstration does NOT
accurately reflect the process of breathing.
(with animation of blood
passing alveolus wall)

UNIT 5 Co-ordination, response, movement and homeostasis

Recommended Prior Knowledge Some knowledge of cells, blood and the circulatory system, osmosis and enzymes (particularly the effect of temperature
on enzyme activity) would be helpful. A basic understanding of the behaviour of light rays as they pass through lenses would be useful, though not essential.
Context This unit builds on the idea that all Units so far studied do not describe activities which operate in isolation within the body. All processes are
interlinked to maximise the survival and success of the organism.
Outline Waste products from metabolism must not be allowed to accumulate within a body. Their removal is linked to the maintenance of a constant internal
environment. In the unit, the removal of carbon dioxide is considered as well as a simple treatment of the structure of the excretory system. The function of
the kidney and of the artificial kidney are given basic coverage and the homeostasis theme is continued with skin structure, temperature regulation and
control by negative feedback. Nervous and hormonal control are studied in relation to co-ordination, with reflex actions being amplified by a wider
consideration of eye structure and the antagonistic arrangement of muscles in the arm.

Learning Outcomes

Suggested Teaching Activities

Online Resources

Other resources
GCE O Level Examinations
Past Papers with Answer
Guides (Biology) is produced
by CIE (Foundation Books).
CIE also produces the same
material on CD.

a) Define excretion as the removal of

toxic and waste products of metabolism.

There will be a need to correct the widelyheld and inaccurate belief the excretion is
the correct term for defecation. It should be
explained that excretion by sweating is
largely co-incidental.

M. & G. Jones 10
Homeostasis and Excretion

b) Describe the removal of carbon

dioxide from the lungs.

This outcome links excretion with

respiration considered in Unit 4 and will
already have been described when
considering gaseous exchange and

Ian J. Burton - Topic 12


c) Identify on diagrams and name the

kidneys, ureters, bladder, urethra, and
state the function of each (the function of

An OHP transparency labelled only with the

structures mentioned could be used to
provide the factual information, with

Mary Jones Unit 10


the kidney should be described simply as

the removing of urea and excess water
from the blood; details of kidney structure
and nephron are not required).

d) Describe dialysis in kidney machines

as the diffusion of waste products and
salts (small molecules) through a
membrane; large molecules (e.g. protein)
remain in the blood.
Learning Activity


students then labelling their own,

unlabelled version of the diagram. Note
that ureter and urethra must be spelt
correctly. Stress that it is excess water that
is removed and refer to this helping to
maintain the blood at a constant
A simple diagram of a kidney machine
should be provided, with an explanation
that the content and concentration of the
washing fluid controls what leaves the

Submerge lengths of Visking tubing,

tightly tied at both ends, in distilled water.
One tube should contain a solution of
egg albumen (use dried albumen to
make the solution) and the other a
solution of glucose. After 30 minutes, test
the distilled water for the presence of
protein and reducing sugar.

Since students will have met Visking tubing

as a partially permeable membrane
associated with osmosis in Unit 1, it will be
necessary to explain that water molecules
are not the only ones able to pass through
(N.B. Visking tubing is available with
different-sized pores.)

Learning Outcomes
a) Define homeostasis as the
maintenance of a constant internal

If internal environment is explained as

conditions within the body and
homeostasis is split into homeo = the
same, and stasis = staying (or standing),
then the wording of this outcome should
lose something of its daunting appearance.

b) Explain the concept of negative


The operation of thermostats in rooms or

ovens illustrates this concept well, but it
should be explained that temperature is not
the only variable that can be controlled.
The temperature control idea leads
comfortably on to outcome d).

Ian J. Burton Topic 13

Mary Jones Unit 11
M. & G. Jones 10
Homeostasis and Excretion


c) Identify, on a diagram of the skin,

hairs, sweat glands, temperature
receptors, blood vessels and fatty tissue.

(An outcome suitable for the practice of

demonstrating with the use of an OHP,
labelled only with the labels required is
recommended, supported by the same
diagram, this time unlabelled, handed to
students for them to label.)

d) Describe the maintenance of a

constant body temperature in humans in
terms of insulation and the role of
temperature receptors in the skin,
sweating, shivering, blood vessels near
the skin surface and the coordinating role
of the brain.

The relevance of the labelled structures is

given here. There will be a need to correct
the belief that capillaries move nearer or
further away from the skin surface, and that
capillaries, rather than arterioles, constrict /
dilate (capillaries are not muscular). Note
that hair erection is not important in

a) State that the nervous system brain,

spinal cord and nerves, serves to
coordinate and regulate bodily functions.
b) Identify, on diagrams of the central
nervous system, the cerebrum,
cerebellum, pituitary gland and
hypothalamus, medulla, spinal cord and
c) Describe the principle functions of the
above structures in terms of coordinating
and regulating bodily functions.
d) Describe the gross structure of the eye
as seen in front view and in horizontal
Learning Activity
Students should draw and label the front
view of one of their eyes using a mirror.
Invite students to demonstrate their blind
spots by drawing two small circles about

Provide a simple diagram of showing the

three main parts and explain that all parts
of the body are served by the nervous

A labelled diagram of the brain, showing

the beginning only of the spinal cord is
required. Avoid any further labels and
supply a table ascribing functions to the
parts labelled.

The front view of the eye may be studied

by students using hand-mirrors. The
horizontal section of the eye lends itself to
the OHP transparency and hand-out
diagram for labelling approach. A
demonstration dissection of an eye or,
depending on availability, dissection in
pairs is a consideration, but students find it

(## link from above

temperature control with
(Also same site ending in
rev3.shtml etc to rev8.shtml
See below**)

Ian J. Burton Topic 14

Coordination and Response
M. & G. Jones 9
Coordination and Response
Mary Jones Unit 12

9 cm apart and moving them towards

and away from one eye with the other
closed. (The spot disappears at a
distance of about 30 cm)

Learning Outcome
e) State the principle functions of
component parts of the eye in producing
a focused image of near and distant
objects on the retina.

Learning Activity

difficult to relate eye structure as seen in

this way to structure as represented

It should be explained that refraction of

light occurs at the cornea and then as it
passes through the lens which fine-tunes
the focus depending on the distance away
of the object. Explain the action of the
ciliary muscles (circular muscles, so when
they contract they reduce tension on the
ligaments) and stress that tension on the
suspensory ligaments is altered (the
ligaments themselves do not contract).
Details of rod and cone cells are not

Bioscope CD Rat eye

Draw simple ray diagrams of light from

both near and distant objects being
focused on the fovea and showing the
different shapes of the lens in each case.
Learning Outcome
f) Describe the pupil reflex in response to
bright light and dim light.
Learning Activity
Working in pairs, students can observe
on one another the effect of turning on a
bench lamp held about a metre from the
eye (ensure that the bulb is of lowrating).
Learning Outcomes
g) Outline the functions of sensory
neurones, relay neurones and motor

It is crucially important to make clear the

distinction between ciliary and iris muscles.
The antagonistic action of the iris muscles
(circular and longitudinal) should be
mentioned as well as the reasons for this

(**) rev4.shtml

h) Discuss the function of the brain and

spinal cord in producing a coordinated
response as a result of a specific
stimulus (reflex action).
Learning Activity


Label a drawing showing the reflex arc

involved in a hand being withdrawn from
a hot object. Include details of the bones
and muscles of the forearm
Learning Objective
a) Identify and describe, from diagrams,
photographs and real specimens, the
main bones of the forelimb
Learning Activity
Examine bones (or photographs or
drawings of bones) of a small mammal.
Learn to identify each bone, how they fit
together and the type of joint formed in
each case.
Learning Outcome

All students will be familiar with the rapid

withdrawal of their hand when it
accidentally comes in contact with a hot
object. This reflex may be used to
introduce the steps and structures involved
in a reflex arc including, in this case, the
fact that the brain is merely informed,
whereas, the iris reflex, (a cranial reflex) is
centred on the brain. A labelled diagram
can also include structural details of the
arm bones, joints and antagonistic muscle
arrangement required in 12 a), b) and c)
below. Students could be invited to identify
the stimuli, receptors and effectors in the
two reflex actions and should label a
diagram of a reflex arc.

M. & G. Jones 11 Support

and Movement
Ian J. Burton Topic 11
Support, Movement and

Where actual specimens and photographs

are difficult to obtain, several X-ray
photographs can illustrate both the bones
and the joints.

Mary Jones Unit 13

Support, Movement and

b) Describe the type of movement

permitted by the ball and socket joint and
the hinge joint of the forelimb.
c) Describe the action of the antagonistic
muscles at the hinge joint.


i) Define hormone as a chemical

substance, produced by a gland, carried

Students should readily identify other

examples of ball and socket and of hinge
joints in the body
These show similarities to those already
described in the iris [11 f)], but with the
additional crucial points that muscles
working only when they contract, can pull
(with animation)

Mary Jones Unit 12


by the blood, which alters the activity of

one or more specific target organs and is
then destroyed by the liver.

but never push, also that inelastic tendons

transmit force to the bones.

j) State the role of the hormone

adrenaline in boosting the blood glucose
concentration and give examples of
situations in which this may occur.

Unit 3 considered substances passing

between tissue fluid and blood capillaries,
here we identify a useful substance
passing from cells into the circulatory
system, performing a particular function,
then being destroyed [and then removed
from the body see 9 a)].

k) Describe the signs (increased blood

glucose concentration and glucose in
urine) and treatment (administration of
insulin) of diabetes

Specific fight, fright and flight situations

should be identified. This unit links with
Unit 3, 5 s) and Unit 4, 8 d) should allow
students to offer suggestions for the value
of increased blood glucose in these
The wise teacher will first ascertain if there
is a diabetic in the class, who then may
offer further information especially on
other signs such as tiredness and thirst.


Ian J. Burton Topic 14

Coordination and response
M. & G. Jones 9
Coordination and Response
(pancreas function with
(Sid explains diabetes

UNIT 6 Drugs, Microorganisms and Biotechnology

Recommended Prior Knowledge It would be helpful, but not essential, to have a basic understanding of the respiratory system and of the structure of the
circulatory system as well as of respiration and enzymes.
Context Although the use and abuse of drugs does not sit entirely comfortably with the other topics in the Unit, references to bacteria run from antibiotics,
through to microorganisms and biotechnology. The section on drugs picks up on knowledge gained in Unit 3, 5 s) and Unit 4, 8 j) and l). Biotechnology revisits anaerobic respiration [Unit 4, 8 e) and f)].
Outline Drugs are considered both from the helpful and from the harmful angle. Included in the abuse of drugs is an appraisal of the harmful effects of alcohol
and of smoking. Benefits of microorganisms and their use in various forms of biotechnology are then considered.

Learning Outcomes


a) Define a drug as any externally

administered substance that modifies or
affects chemical reactions.
b) Describe the medicinal use of
antibiotics for the treatment of bacterial

c) Describe the effects of the abuse of

heroin: a powerful depressant (pain killer),
problems of addiction, severe withdrawal
symptoms and associated problems such
as crime and infection e.g. AIDS.

Suggested Teaching Activities

Online Resources

Stress that drugs have side effects, must be

taken only in the correct dosage, by the
person for whom they are prescribed and only
when required.
Explain that certain antibiotics are more
effective against certain types of bacteria.
Also explain that the more resistant bacteria
are the last to be killed and if the course is not
completed, the resistant bacteria survive,
spread and are then much less effectively
treated by the same antibiotic.
Students should be aware that heroin has a
valuable use as an effective reliever of severe
pain. A side effect is to slow down brain
functions and give a feeling of intense wellbeing, but when addicted, progressively
greater amounts are taken to achieve the

Other resources
GCE O Level Examination
Past Papers with Answer
Guides (Biology) is produced
by CIE (Foundation Books).
CIE also produces the same
material on CD.
M. & G. Jones 13 Health,
Disease and Medicine
Ian J. Burton Topic 15 The
Use and Abuse of Drugs
Mary Jones Unit 14 The
Use and Abuse of Drugs
(facts on heroin)

same level of euphoria. Withdrawal symptoms

are most unpleasant. Crime is used to fund
the habit. If heroin is injected with used
needles, diseases such as AIDS may be
d) Describe the effects of excessive
consumption of alcohol: reduced selfcontrol, depressant, effect on reaction
times, damage to liver and social

e) Describe the effects of tobacco smoke

and its major components (nicotine, tar
and carbon monoxide) on health: strong
association with bronchitis, emphysema,
lung cancer and heart disease, and the
association between smoking during
pregnancy and reduced birth weight of the

f) Recognise the fact that many people

regard smoking as no longer socially

a) List the main characteristics of the

following groups; viruses, bacteria and

Note that it is excessive alcohol consumption

that is being considered. Social implications
include being a danger to others (slowed
reaction times e.g. when driving) as well as
crime committed both when under the
influence and to fund the habit. Liver damage
picks up the point considered in Unit 3, 5 s).
(with animation)

Apart from a description of the listed effects,

students should be referred to their
knowledge of lung structure [Unit 4, 8 j). k)
and l)] for an explanation of tar coating the
walls of the alveoli, for the destruction of cilia
and the consequent build-up of mucus and for
the effect of emphysema.
Using a filter pump to draw smoke from a
lighted cigarette through a cotton-wool filter
(surrounded by ice) provides a graphic and
effective demonstration of the tar deposit from
one cigarette (and of its odour!).
Refer to research on the link between lung
cancer and passive smoking, as well as to
the effect on the eyes and clothes of those in
the presence of a smoker.
This outcome is best treated with the aid of
labelled diagrams of the external features of
each type of organism, supported by a table.
(information and diagrams)

Ian J. Burton Topic 16 The

Diversity of Organisms
Mar Jones Unit 15 Microorganisms and

M. & G. Jones 14 Making

Use of Microorganisms

Learning Activity
Tooth scrapings will illustrate the
abundance of bacilli and a mould fungus
grows readily on rotting fruit/vegetables
(e.g. sliced tomatoes) kept in a covered
beaker for a few days both should be
viewed under a microscope.
Learning Outcomes
b) Outline the role of microorganisms in

c) Explain the role of yeast in the

production of bread and alcohol.
Learning Activity
Students can use yeast in a glucose
solution to i) demonstrate the evolution of
CO2 anaerobically. Its rate can also be
measured at different temperatures
using a water bath and counting the
number of bubbles released from a very
narrow delivery tube (with nozzle just
submerged beneath hydrogencarbonate
indicator solution) in unit time, and
ii) to make a dough with flour, placed in a
measuring cylinder. The rate of CO2
release can be measured as the dough
rises up the cylinder. Again different
temperatures could be investigated.
Measurements could be recorded and

Explain that the ions, originally absorbed by

plants [Unit 2, 4 j)], are released again when
bacteria decompose dead plants and animals
in a reverse of the process that attached them
to organic molecules within a plant.
Microorganisms release enough energy (as
heat) as they respire during this process that
compost/manure heaps steam, smoke and
may even catch fire.
In Unit 4, 8 e) and f), Students learnt that a
form of anaerobic respiration (fermentation)
turns sugar into alcohol and CO2. Explain that
the CO2 is put to use in bread making to make
the dough rise and the CO2 provides sparkle
to alcoholic drinks in which fruit or other plant
sugars are used as the substrate. Yeast
provides a collection of enzymes during its
anaerobic respiration to catalyse this process.
(bread making)

Teaching and Assessing

Practical Skills in Science by
Dave Hayward (CUP)
Student activity 3.2 p. 12

graphs of rate of respiration against

temperature could be drawn.
Learning Outcomes
d) Outline the role of bacteria in yoghurt
and cheese production.

Learning Outcomes
e) Describe the use of fermenters for
large-scale production of antibiotics and
single cell protein.
f) Describe the role of the fungus
Penicillium in the production of penicillin.

The production of lactic acid is now relevant

as the agent that sours the milk. A spoonful of
live yoghurt added to warm milk in a vacuum
flask produces recognisable yoghurt in a day
or so (but safety regulations may preclude its
The general principles of controlled conditions
of food substrate and temperature,
sterilisation of utensils, large yields in a small
space and purification of product should be
covered, but even though the substrates are
often waste products from other industries
(e.g. molasses from sugar refining), expense
can often be a disadvantage. A labelled and
annotated diagram of a fermenter should be
available to students.
(penicillin production)

UNIT 7 Organisms and the Environment

Recommended Prior Knowledge
Students should have a knowledge of the different forms of energy, of plant nutrition, respiration and transpiration. A knowledge of the great diversity of life
and habitats would be helpful.
This Unit, whilst considering some of the fundamental topics of biology also takes a broader view of the subject and investigates some of the ethical issues
raised by human interference with the environment.
Energy flow is traced through biological systems and the carbon and nitrogen cycles are considered in some detail. There is a reference to parasitism in the
shape of the transmission and control of malaria, but control measures employed lead into a consideration of the human effect on the ecosystem in a wider
sense deforestation, pollution and damage to habitats leading to a need for conservation.

Learning Outcomes


Suggested Teaching Activities

a) State that the Sun is the principle

source of energy input into biological

Stress that it is light energy from the Sun

that is important in photosynthesis, but
enzymes controlling all metabolic reactions
rely also on its heat energy to provide a
suitable temperature for their operation.

b) Describe the non-cyclical nature of

energy flow.

Once energy is released by organisms, it is

lost and can be replaced only by further
input, directly or indirectly, from the Sun

c) Define the following terms and

establish the relationship of each in food
webs: producer, consumer, herbivore,
carnivore, decomposer, food chain.

Students may be able to suggest food

chains in various different habitats. They
should be provided with a food chain of at
least three organisms, starting with a

Online Resources

Other resources
GCE O Level Examinations
Past Papers with Answer
Guides (Biology) is produced
by CIE (Foundation Books).
CIE also produces the same
material on CD.
Ian J. Burton Topic 17 The
Relationship between
Organisms and the
Mary Jones Unit 16
Organisms and Environment

M. & G. Jones 15 Living

organisms and their

d) Describe energy losses between
trophic levels and infer the advantages of
short food chains.

In Unit 4, 8 d), students considered the use

of energy for different processes in a body
thus there is always less energy available
to each successive level in a food chain or

e) Describe and interpret pyramids of

numbers and of biomass.

It should be explained why pyramids of

biomass (99% of which are the normal
pyramid shape) provide a more accurate
representation of energy relationships
between organisms in a food chain or food
web than pyramids of numbers (many of
which are not the normal pyramid shape).

f) Describe and state the importance of

the carbon cycle.
Learning Activity
Students to list then arrange in
sequence all the processes they have
studied which involve carbon
compounds. The cyclical nature of these
processes should become apparent.
Learning Outcomes
g) Describe the nitrogen cycle in making
available nitrogen for plant and animal
protein, including the role of bacteria in
nitrogen fixation, decomposition and
nitrification (details of denitrification and
the names of individual bacteria are not
Learning Activity
Students can attempt to brainstorm the
nitrogen cycle in a similar way to the
carbon cycle.
(good interactive site)
(pages 3, 4 and 5)

This outcome stresses the fact that life is

carbon-based and is an opportunity to
consolidate topics covered in Units 2, 3 &
4. Students may be invited to trace the fate
of an atom of carbon after it has entered a
plant in a CO2 molecule during
photosynthesis, thus building up their own
carbon cycles. These may then be
combined to provide (perhaps with a few
additions/adjustments) the definitive
version for distribution.

Students tend to find this cycle difficult to

understand and remember. Thus, it is wise
to avoid unnecessary detail. As with the
carbon cycle, it may be valuable to ask
students to trace the possible fates of an
atom of nitrogen from the time at which it
enters a plants root as a nitrate ion
[decomposition has been considered in unit
6, 14 b)]. It will be necessary to distinguish
carefully between the terms nitrogen

Learning Outcomes
h) Understand the role of the mosquito
as a vector of disease.
i) Describe the transmission and control
of the malarial pathogen (details of the
life cycle of the pathogen are not

j) Describe the effects of humans on the

ecosystem with emphasis on examples
of international importance (tropical rain
forests, oceans and important rivers).

k) Describe the consequences of

deforestation in terms of its effects on
soil stability, climate and local human

fixation and nitrification. Reference should

be made to bacteria in root nodules of
leguminous plants as well as to those that
are free-living.

Indicate how the lifestyle of the mosquito

makes it a successful vector of a wide
variety of diseases.
(mosquitos role and malaria

Stress that the mosquito is the carrier

(vector) of the pathogen but does not, itself,
cause malaria. The habits of the mosquito
relevant to this should be considered as
well as measures that are taken to control
the disease both against the mosquito as
well as against the pathogen when (or
before) it has gained access to the body.

Bioscope CD Culex

Mary Jones Unit 17 Human

Effects on Ecosystems

Action which affects large areas in one

part of the world can have consequences
in another (e.g. global warming, scarcity or
contamination of fish supplies). Loss of
habitats leads to extinction of species and
to loss of possible benefits from those
species (e.g. drugs). Action taken in one
region near a river can cause flooding and
devastation hundreds of miles away.
The removal of trees removes the binding
effect their roots have on the soil as well as
the protection their canopies provide from
sun, wind and rain, and the humus their
dead leaves provide. Local populations
may lose homes and livelihoods. Climate
changes are usually experienced at greater
distances from the site of deforestation.

M. & G. Jones - 13 Health,

disease and medicine

Ian J. Burton Topic 18

The Effects of Human
Activity on the Ecosystem
M. & G. Jones 16 Humans
and the environment

l) Evaluate the effects of: water pollution

by sewage, by inorganic waste and by
nitrogen containing fertilisers, air
pollution by sulphur dioxide and by
oxides of nitrogen (acid rain) and
pollution due to insecticides.

m) Discuss reasons for conservation of

species with reference to maintenance of
biodiversity, management of fisheries
and management of timber production.

n) Discuss reasons for recycling

materials with reference to named

Students should be made aware of the

damage being caused to the planet by the
stated forms of pollution and that it is when
the materials mentioned are used or
released in excess that problems occur.
Eutrophication should be considered as an
effect of water pollution by sewage and N2
fertilisers, as should the build up along food
chains of insecticides that cannot be
metabolised. Ensure that there is a clear
distinction in students minds between the
use of fertilisers and the use of
Many of the points relevant here will have
been considered in j) and k) above. The
concept of sustainable management of fish
(quotas) and timber supplies should be
Depletion of the planets resources is of
concern. Deforestation for paper production
can be reduced by paper recycling and
energy can be saved by recycling glass.
Recycling metal (from cans to cars) saves
both energy and reduces the need to mine
the ore.
(pages 7, 8, 9)
(though a little complex)

UNIT 8 The Continuity of Life: Reproduction, Genetics and Evolution

Recommended Prior Knowledge
The major part of this Unit stands alone. Helpful, but not essential, would be a knowledge of cell structure, enzymes, nutrition and excretion and bacteria.
The general thread of reproduction runs throughout the Unit first in general terms then, more specifically, in terms of genetic inheritance leading on to
variation and finally to evolution.
First, reproduction is considered in general terms, then sexual reproduction in both plants and animals is addressed. Sexually transmitted diseases are
studied together with their control. The importance of DNA is considered along with simple inheritance. A study of variation leads to an explanation of
evolution. The Unit ends with DNA function and genetic engineering.
N.B. Although reproduction and genetics are closely linked topics, since this is the longest of the Units, it may prove more convenient to separate
Reproduction from Genetics and Evolution, thus treating them as two separate Units.


Learning Outcomes

Suggested Teaching Activities

Online Resources

a) Define mitosis as cell division giving

rise to genetically identical cells in which
the chromosome number is maintained
and state the role of mitosis in growth,
repair of damaged tissues, replacement
of worn-out cells and asexual

Students will need to know that the nucleus

of a cell contains a number of
chromosomes and that the number is fixed
and constant for each species (46 in the
human being). A new body cell must be an
exact copy of the cell producing it. N.b.
Details of stages in mitosis are not

b) Define asexual reproduction as the

process resulting in the production of
genetically identical offspring from one

For the chosen commercial application

(e.g. a potato tuber) students should
understand the benefits and the

Other resources
GCE O Level Examinations
Past Papers with Answer
Guides (Biology) is produced
by CIE (Foundation Books).
CIE also produces the same
material on CD.
M. & G. Jones 8
Mary Jones Unit 18
Reproduction in Plants
Ian J. Burton Topic 20

parent and describe one named,

commercially important application of
asexual reproduction in plants.

disadvantages of this method of


c) State that gametes are the result of a

reduction division in which the
chromosome number is halved from
diploid to haploid.

Details of meiotic division are not required

other than its halving of the chromosome
number. The terms gamete, diploid and
haploid should be explained.

d) Define sexual reproduction as the

process involving the fusion of haploid
nuclei to form a diploid zygote and the
production of genetically dissimilar
Learning Activity

Students should appreciate that each

parent therefore makes an equal
contribution to the diploid cell from which
an offspring will develop.

e) Identify and draw, using a hand lens if

necessary, the sepals, petals, stamens
and carpels of one, locally available,
named, insect-pollinated, dicotyledonous
flower, and examine the pollen grains
under a light microscope.

If possible, a large, brightly-coloured,

scented flower with visible nectar should be
chosen. Ensure that students produce
large drawings, with a sharp HB pencil,
draw clean lines and give the magnification
of their drawing (e.g. x3).

Learning Outcome
f) State the functions of the sepals, petals,
anthers and carpels.

Learning Activity
g) Use a hand lens to identify and
describe the anthers and stigmas of one,
locally available, named, wind-pollinated
flower, and examine the pollen grains
under a light microscope.
Learning Outcomes

It will be necessary to explain that carpels

are made up of component parts stigma,
style, ovary and ovules. Also ensure that
students are clear that pollen (grains) are
not gametes but that they contain the
Note that a drawing is not required, but it
would be valuable for students to list any
noticeable differences from the features
seen in the insect-pollinated flower.

Teaching and Assessing

Practical Skills in Science
Dave Hayward (CUP) pages

h) Outline the process of pollination and

distinguish between self-pollination and

Learning Activity
i) Compare, using fresh specimens, an
insect-pollinated and a wind-pollinated
Learning Outcome
j) Describe the growth of the pollen tube
and its entry into the ovule followed by
fertilisation (production of endosperm and
details of development are not required).
Learning Activity
k) Investigate and describe the structure of
a non-endospermic seed in terms of the
embryo (radicle, plumule and cotyledons)
and testa, protected by the pericarp (fruit
Learning Outcomes
l) State that seed and fruit dispersal by
wind and animals provides a means of
colonising new areas.
Learning Activity
Supply students with an example of a
wind- and of an animal-dispersed fruit or

Continuing the theme in c) and d) above,

the implications of self-pollination can be

Students should be invited to produce a list

of noticeable differences, but a definitive
table should then be provided for
An OHP transparency will offer the chance
to show the path taken by the pollen tube
and can be suitably labelled. On an
unlabelled version of the diagram, students
may then add the relevant detail.

Pea or large bean seeds are suitable,

soaked for 24 hours before use. This
investigation offers students the opportunity
for further drawing practice and, if time
permits, the chance to revise food tests on
substances stored in the cotyledons.

Students may be asked to suggest

advantages of the ability to colonise new
Stress that fruit and seed dispersal by wind
or animals can happen only after
pollination (by wind or insects) and the two
very different processes must not be
(many wind examples)

seed. Instruct students to construct a table

of differences between the two and
suggest reasons for the features they
observe. Ideally they should be those
considered in m) below.

Although there are adaptations for different

methods of animal dispersal, only one need
be considered in detail.

Learning Outcomes
m) Describe the external features of one,
locally available, named example of a
wind-dispersed fruit or seed and one
named example of an animal-dispersed
fruit or seed

Note that warmth is scientifically vague

and that seeds surrounded by moisture do
not germinate atmospheric air contains

n) Investigate and state the environmental

conditions that affect germination of
seeds: suitable temperature, water and

For reasons of safety and expense, the

pyrogallol container might take the form of
one demonstration experiment set up by
the teacher. This activity reinforces the
need for a control in experimental work.

Learning Activity
Containers of seeds should be set up, one
lacking only a suitable temperature
(placed in fridge at c. 4 oC), one lacking
only water and one lacking only oxygen
(sealed and containing alkaline pyrogallol).
Also a control, with seeds exposed to all
three conditions.
Learning Outcomes
o) Describe the uses of enzymes in the
germination of seeds.

This section echoes the work on enzymes

in Unit 3, 5 o) and links also to the work on
enzymes in Unit 1, 3. The need to convert
insoluble storage compounds into soluble
ones that can be transported should be
The remainder of this unit may generate
important, wider discussion which the
teacher should be prepared to answer both
honestly and sensitively.

Ian J. Burton Topic 21

Sexual Reproduction in
Human Beings

Mary Jones Unit 19

Reproduction in Humans

p) Identify on diagrams of the male

reproductive system and give the
functions of the testes, scrotum, sperm
ducts, prostate gland, urethra and penis.

q) Identify on diagrams of the female

reproductive system and give the
functions of the ovaries, oviducts, uterus,
cervix and vagina.

r) Compare male and female gametes in

terms of size, numbers and mobility.
s) Describe the menstrual cycle, with
reference to the alternation of
menstruation and ovulation, the natural
variation in its length and the fertile and
infertile phases of the cycle.
t) Describe fertilisation and early
development of the zygote simply in terms
of the formation of a ball of cells that
becomes implanted in the wall of the
u) State the function of the amniotic sac
and amniotic fluid.
v) Describe the function of the placenta
and umbilical cord in relation to
exchange of dissolved nutrients, gases
and excretory products (no structural
details are required).
w) Describe the special dietary needs of

p) and q) are outcomes that lend

themselves to the use of labelled OHP
transparencies for descriptive purposes
followed by an unlabelled versions of the
diagrams for students to label.

Comparisons should be supported by

reasons for the differences.
Annotated diagrams showing the cycle
divided into days and showing the build-up
and breakdown of the uterus lining are
The location of fertilisation should be
clearly described. Division of the zygote by
mitosis prior to implantation should be

Ways in which the embryo is protected by

the fluid (contained by the sac) should be
Links here with Unit 1,2 a), Unit 3, 5 a) c) n)
and s), Unit 4, 7 j) k) and Unit 5, 9 a) b) and
c). Stress that maternal and fetal bloods
do not mix.
The appropriate reason for each additional
dietary requirement should be mentioned.
As well as the benefits of breast milk,
deficiencies of bottle milk should be
menstrual cycle details
(animation) and issues
amniotic fluid animation
pregnancy animation
vaginal delivery animation
(benefits of breast feeding)

pregnant women.
x) Describe the advantages of breast
milk compared with bottle milk.


Family planning clinics are often helpful in

supplying information and exhibits.

y) Describe the following methods of birth

control: natural, chemical (spermicides),
mechanical, hormonal and surgical.

The potentially severe nature of syphilis

should be mentioned, also that concern
about AIDS has diverted attention away
from other STDs. The need for early
treatment should be stressed.

z) Explain that syphilis is caused by a

bacterium that is transmitted during
sexual intercourse.
aa) Describe the symptoms, signs,
effects and treatment of syphilis.

Ensure that students are clearly aware that

no cure is yet available, but, with care, its
spread can be restricted.

b) Discuss the spread of human

immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and
methods by which it may be controlled.

a) Describe the difference between

continuous and discontinuous variation
and give examples of each.
Learning activity
Students can draw graphs to show the
distribution of height or weight within the
class. It might be insensitive, however, to
use these examples if there is a class
member who is particularly tall, short, fat
or thin. The variation in length of forearm
from elbow to fingertip might then be a
more thoughtful alternative.

Ian J. Burton Topic 22

M. & G. Jones 12
Inheritance and evolution

Body weight and height are standard

examples of continuous variation, and
blood groups or sex of discontinuous
variation. Graphs should be drawn of the
distributions shown by the two types of

Mary Jones Unit 20


Learning Outcomes
b) State that a chromosome includes a
long molecule of DNA.

Detail of DNA structure is not required, but

later explanation becomes easier if it is
described as two long strands cross-linked
by a succession of paired molecules called

c) State that DNA is divided into sections

called genes.

Thus each gene comprises its own

particular sequence of linked bases.

d) Explain that genes may be copied and

passed on to the next generation.

When a cell divides, its nucleus first makes

an exact copy of each strand of DNA (and,
therefore, also of each gene). The original
passes into the nucleus of one cell, and its
copy passes into the other. In this way, the
same genes are passed from generation to

e) Define a gene as a unit of inheritance

and distinguish clearly between the terms
gene and allele.

f) Describe complete dominance using

the terms dominant, recessive,
phenotype and genotype.

g) Describe mutation as a change in the

structure of a gene (sickle cell anaemia)
or in the chromosome number (47 in
Downs syndrome instead of 46).

Each gene represents one piece of

information instructions for a certain
characteristic - passed from parent to
offspring. Alleles are different varieties of
the same gene.
These terms follow naturally from a
consideration of genes and alleles above. It
may be illustrated within the class by the
gene for tongue rolling, though a true
understanding of genotype is unlikely to be
gained until i) below.
Though genes are handed on from
generation to generation, they are subject
to change, causing a change in phenotype.
Most changes are very small and barely
noticeable, others have a more marked
effect. Change can also occur in
(also, rev6.shtml & rev7.shtml)

chromosome number.

h) Name radiation and chemicals as

factors that may increase the rate of
i) Predict the results of simple crosses
with expected ratios of 3:1 and 1:1, using
the terms homozygous, heterozygous, F1
generation and F2 generation.
j) Explain why observed ratios often differ
from expected ratios, especially when
there are small numbers of progeny.
k) Explain codominance by reference to
the inheritance of the ABO blood
phenotypes (A, B, AB, O, gene alleles IA,
IB and Io).
l) Describe the determination of sex in
humans (XX and XY chromosomes).

m) Describe variation and state that

competition leads to differential survival
of organisms, and reproduction by those
organisms best fitted to the environment.

Mutagens can have the effect of altering

the molecular structure of a gene and thus
altering the way in which the gene works.
Students should be encouraged to draw full
genetic diagrams to show these crosses.
The diagrams should be annotated and
include reference to parents and gametes.
It should be stressed that the ratios are
statistical and are those obtained only from
large samples. Such diagrams demonstrate
the same phenotype may have different
(but use the upper-case allele
superscripts specified in the

Students will observe that there can be

more than two alleles of the same gene.

It will be necessary to point out the sex

inheritance is the result of the inheritance
of chromosomes, not of genes.

The point needs to be made that variation

is a random process which happens to
leave some members at a survival
advantage over other organisms in a
particular environment. It does not occur in
order to adapt to the environment as
students often believe. Organisms that
survive then reproduce and hand on the
advantage to at least some of their


n) Assess the importance of natural

selection as a possible mechanism for

Survival of the better-adapted organisms,

each themselves showing variations, some
of which are advantageous, generation
after generation, leads to evolutionary
change in the species.

o) Describe the role of artificial selection

in the production of economically
important plants and animals.

When humans select organisms with

characteristics that are commercially
desirable and breed from them, variation
can again enhance the selected
characteristic especially over many

p) Explain that DNA controls the

production of proteins.
q) State that each gene controls the
production of one protein.

The linking of amino acids to form a

protein in the cells of a body is determined
by DNA. The exact amino acids and their
particular sequence in each different
protein are controlled by one specific gene.

r) Explain that genes may be transferred

between cells (reference should be made
to transfer between organisms of the
same or different species).

Human-to-human transfers in the case of

treatment for cystic fibrosis may be
explained as well as human to bacterium
and from (disease-resistant) plant species
to (non-resistant) plant species.
The insulin gene can be identified and, with
the aid of enzymes, isolated from the
strand of DNA in the nucleus of a cell from
a healthy person. Enzymes are again used
to attach it to the DNA of a bacterium.
Culture and extraction should be explained
on lines similar to Unit 7, 14 e).

s) Explain that the gene that controls the

production of human insulin can be
exerted into bacterial DNA.
t) Understand that such genetically
engineered bacteria can be used to
produce human insulin on a commercial
u) Discuss potential advantages and
dangers of genetic engineering.

Students may have strong ethical as well

as scientific views on this topic, but the
teacher should ensure that a balanced
consideration prevails.


then click on link to Gene
Transfer in Insulin Production
(under Biological Engineering)
(advantages and