IB Group 4: Biology
Biology may be taken as either a Group 4 or Group 6 subject.
Biology is the study of living organisms. The IB course is an interesting but demanding course addressing four basic biological concepts. These are: structure and function (which is considered at the molecular, cellular and organism level); universality versus diversity. Ubiquitous biochemicals and structures e.g. cells and membranes exist in a biological world of enormous diversity. Also the huge diversity of organisms (including ourselves) are connected and interdependent. Equilibrium within systems: checks and balances exist within living organisms and within ecosystems; and evolution: the underlying concept that draws together the above themes.
HL students go into some of these topics in more depth and also study plant science and photosynthesis. In addition two options are studied which will be chosen by the teacher dependent on the groups involved. The options under consideration are: Cells and Energy, Evolution and Neurobiology and Behaviour. HL students may be given the option of Further Human Physiology.
Practical work is an integral part of the course. All students are required to submit a log of all practical work undertaken; this includes both assessed and non-assessed practical work. The practical work will include microscope work including the preparation of slides, experiments designed to illustrate aspects of the theory and to simultaneously develop practical skills, the use of ICT including data loggers, spreadsheets, a database and computer simulations, individual investigations (assessed) and fieldwork (there will be a compulsory field course, probably in September of Upper Sixth).
There will be a project undertaken by all IB students (the group 4 project). This will contribute 10 hours of practical work and will assess ‘personal skills’ such as motivation, perseverance and working with others.
Assessment is by examinations, practicals and the Group 4 project.
Skills gained on this course
- The ability to assess the validity of biological information, experiments, inferences and statements and apply biological principles and concepts in solving problems in unfamiliar situations including those that relate to the ethical, social, economic and technological aspects of the subject
- An understanding of scientific method including the tentative nature of scientific knowledge
- The ability to interpret and translate from one form into another, data presented as continuous prose or in tables, diagrams, drawings and graphs
- The ability to organise relevant information clearly and coherently, using a form and style appropriate and employing specialist vocabulary when appropriate.
In addition to careers in Medicine, Veterinary Practice, Dentistry and Nursing, Biology is particularly relevant to Agriculture, Horticulture, Food Technology, the Environment and Conservation.