Biology International Baccalaureate Course Overview

Biology is a source of constant wonder and discovery, a thought-provoking field that seeks to understand life itself from the micro to the macro. Biology sits at the nexus between the growing demands we put on our planet and our desire for constant growth and progress.

Students studying this course gain insight into humanity, other species and the environment we share, through topics that range from cell biology and genetics to ecology and evolution.

DP Biology students come to understand this and interrogate how biologists work and communicate, including the scientific method and experimental work that is so central to the sciences. Students on the course will design investigations, collect data, develop manipulative skills, analyse results and evaluate their findings, working effectively with peers to do so.

Course themes

As with other DP science courses the theme of the nature of science is fundamental. The aims of the DP Biology course include enabling students to appreciate scientific study and creativity within a global context, whilst acquiring and using a body of knowledge, methods and techniques that characterise science and technology. The value of effective collaboration and communication during scientific activities is emphasised alongside experimental and investigative scientific skills. Equally, wider considerations such as the ethics of scientific study, the role of science globally, its interplay with other subject disciplines and its limitations are of great import on the DP Biology course.

Students also undertake the group 4 project – a collaborative cross discipline project where students examine the environmental, social and ethical implications of science and technology.

Example course units:

Core

  • Cell biology
  • Molecular biology
  • Genetics
  • Ecology
  • Evolution and biodiversity
  • Human physiology

Standard Level Option (choice of one)

  • Neurobiology and behaviour
  • Biotechnology and bioinformatics
  • Ecology and conservation
  • Human physiology

Higher Level Additional

  • Nucleic acids
  • Metabolism, cell respiration and photosynthesis
  • Plant biology
  • Genetics and evolution
  • Animal physiology
  • Assessment

Assessment overview

The course is made up of both externally assessed examinations and an internally assessed portfolio. King’s InterHigh will support with guidance around where external exams may be sat. These exams are sat at the end of the two year programme.

Internal Portfolio:

Each student will undertaken an individual investigation and write-up their findings. This is an internally assessed piece of work.

External Exams:

  • Paper 1: 30 multiple-choice questions (40 questions for Higher Level)
  • Paper 2: Data-based, short answer and extended response questions
  • Paper 3: Data-based, short answer and extended response questions

Sample questions:

Standard Level

“Antibiotics can be used to treat bacterial infections in human tissues because of differences in cell structure between prokaryotes and eukaryotes.

  • Distinguish between the structure of prokaryotes and eukaryotes.
  • Evaluate the drug tests that Florey and Chain carried out on penicillin.
  • Explain the reasons for the ineffectiveness of antibiotics in the treatment of viral diseases.” (Paper 2)

The company BASF produces a genetically modified potato called Amflora. Outline the purpose of modifying the potato.” (Paper 3)

Higher Level

Membrane proteins of mice cells were marked with green and membrane proteins of human cells were marked with red. The cells were fused together. What would be seen after two hours?” (Paper 1)

Brain death is a clinical diagnosis based on the absence of neurological function, with a known irreversible cause of coma.

  • Explain a named method to assess brain damage.
  • Distinguish between a reflex arc and other responses by the nervous system.
  • Describe the events that occur in the nervous system when something very hot is touched.” (Paper 3)

Studying online

Learning IB Biology online allows students to enjoy:

  • Virtual Reality (VR) learning opportunities to immerse student in diagrams, models and other subject matter.
  • High academic standards and levels of support.
  • Positive learning culture and systems for communication.
  • Live, responsive teaching and feedback in small classes.
  • 24/7 access to course resources and lessons, recorded and catalogued.
  • A flexible, international, high energy learning experience.
  • Experienced, subject specialist teachers to both Standard and Higher level.
Biology
International Baccalaureate
Online, real-time classrooms, 24/7 access to curriculum
September

Know more about your course fees

We have several fee packages and options, with differing levels of commitment to suit most circumstances. In most cases parents have the option to pay in instalments, spreading the cost of the investment.

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