2014
Units 3 & 4 Biology Jumpstart
Nicky Best
This booklet contains details from the VCE Biology Study Design as
well as other important information relevant to Units 3 & 4, including:
Key skills and knowledge, assessment advice for SACs and the
examination and valuable resources. Keep this booklet handy, as a
reference for next year.
[email protected]
Reservoir High school
C Staffroom
9470 3555
P age |2
Rationale – why study Biology?
Find the word or term that
means
Biology is the study of living things from
familiar, complex multicellular organisms that
live in the many different habitats of our
biosphere to single celled micro-organisms that
live in seemingly inhospitable conditions. It is a
study of the dynamic relationships between
living things, and their environment and the
challenges of survival. All living things have
many structural and functional characteristics in
common, which can be used to classify and
group organisms.
living things
many cells
unfriendly
active
the way something's built
the job something does
Which topic relates to the
listed biological sciences?
Modern biology draws on biochemistry,
neuroscience, genetics, evolutionary biology,
behavioural science, and cell and molecular
biology including studies of genomics and
proteomics. It connects with physics, chemistry,
earth and space sciences in exploring the nature
of past and present life, and the possibility of life
forms beyond our planet.
natural selection
DNA profiling
reflex arcs
osmosis
photosynthesis
sleep
Can you give a brief
implication to the
following issues in
Biology?
Students develop knowledge of bioscience and
skills of science inquiry and the values and
attributes that will help them to consider issues Sugarcane products could be
and implications associated with the application used for making
biodegradable plastic bags
of biological techniques and technologies.
A chemical in smoke has
been found to trigger seed
germination after bushfires
(not heat).
P age |3
Units 1–4: Key skills
These skills include the ability to:
Investigate and inquire scientifically
• formulate questions and construct hypotheses appropriate for conducting first-hand and secondhand
investigations
• plan, design and conduct first-hand investigations: select and use equipment and materials
appropriate to the investigation; evaluate experimental procedures and reliability of data
• collect, process and record information systematically; analyse and synthesise data; draw conclusions
consistent with the question under investigation and the evidence obtained
• act responsibly when conducting investigations: maintain safe practices; work independently and
collaboratively as appropriate.
Apply biological understandings
• apply understandings to familiar and new contexts; make connections between concepts; solve
problems
• analyse issues and implications relating to scientific and technological developments
• analyse and evaluate the reliability of information and opinions presented in the public domain.
Communicate biological information and understandings
• interpret, transpose and communicate information and ideas effectively
• use techniques of communication appropriate to different audiences and purposes
• use scientific terminology and conventions appropriately.
Unit 3 Overview
In this unit students consider the molecules and biochemical processes that are indicators of life. They
investigate the synthesis of biomacromolecules and biochemical processes that are common to
autotrophic and heterotrophic life forms. Students consider the universality of DNA and investigate its
structure; the genes of an organism, as functional units of DNA and code for the production of a diverse
range of proteins in an organism.
Students investigate the significant role of proteins in cell functioning; how technological advances have
enabled scientists to determine differences in the molecular structure of proteins, how the structure of a
protein relates to its function in an organism’s tissues, and how technological advances have given rise to
applications such as the design of proteins for specific purposes. Students consider advances in
proteomics applied, for example, to medical diagnosis.
Students investigate how cells communicate with each other at molecular level in regulating cellular
activities; how they recognise ‘self’ and ‘non-self’ in detecting possible agents of attack; and how
physical barriers and immune responses can protect the organism against pathogens.
Students consider the technological advances that have contributed to our knowledge and understanding
of molecular biology and thereby appreciate the dynamic nature of science.
Students apply concepts related to the structure, function, activities, needs and regulated death of cells.
P age |4
AREA OF STUDY 1
Molecules of life
In this area of study, students investigate the activities of cells at a molecular level; the synthesis of
biomacromolecules that form components of cells and the role of enzymes in catalysing biochemical
processes. Students investigate energy transformations in cells and how autotrophs and heterotrophs
obtain their energy requirements, particularly through the processes of photosynthesis and cellular
respiration.
Students gain an understanding that DNA and proteins are the key molecules of life forms, and that DNA
codes for the production of proteins. Students explore applications of molecular biology in medical
diagnosis.
Students undertake practical investigations into the molecular composition of cells and biochemical
processes including transformation of energy and enzyme activity.
Outcome 1
On completion of this unit the student should be able to analyse and evaluate evidence from practical
investigations related to biochemical processes.
To achieve this outcome the student will draw on key knowledge outlined in area of study 1, and key
skills listed on page 2.
Key knowledge
 the nature and importance of biomacromolecules in the chemistry of the cell:
– synthesis of biomacromolecules through the condensation reaction
– lipids and their sub-units; the role of lipids in the plasma membrane
– examples of polysaccharides and their glucose monomer
– structure and function of DNA and RNA, their monomers, and complementary base pairing
– the nature of the proteome; the functional diversity of proteins; the structure of proteins in terms
of primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary levels of organisation
 the structure and function of the plasma membrane and the movement of substances across it:
– the fluid-mosaic model of a plasma membrane
– the packaging, transport, import and export of biomacromolecules (specifically proteins)
– the role played by organelles including ribosomes, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus and
associated vesicles in the export of proteins
 the nature of biochemical processes within cells:
– catabolic and anabolic reactions in terms of reactions that release or require energy
– the role of enzymes as protein catalysts, their mode of action and the inhibition of the action of
enzymes both naturally and by rational drug design
– the role of ATP and ADP in energy transformations
– requirements for photosynthesis – excluding differences between CAM, C3 and C4 plants –
including: the structure and function of the chloroplast; the main inputs and outputs of the light
dependent and light independent stages
– requirements for aerobic and anaerobic cellular respiration: the location, and main inputs and
outputs, of glycolysis; the structure of the mitochondrion and its function in aerobic cellular
respiration including main inputs and outputs of the Krebs Cycle and the electron transport
chain.
P age |5
AREA OF STUDY 2
Detecting and responding
This area of study focuses on how cells detect biomolecules that elicit particular responses depending on
whether the molecules are ‘self’ or ‘non-self’. Students investigate how signalling molecules, such as
hormones and neurotransmitters, assist in coordinating and regulating cell activities by binding to specific
receptors on membranes of target cells, initiating a series of molecular changes in response (signal
transduction).
Students examine the barriers and mechanisms of organisms that protect them from invasion and
infection by pathogenic organisms. They investigate mechanisms that control the effectiveness of
pathogens, and specific and non-specific immune responses of organisms to antigens. Students investigate
signalling molecules and their role in regulating activities of organisms such as growth hormones in
plants and/or action of antibiotics. They investigate how advances in molecular biology have helped to
find causes of disorders in cell communication, and how technologies assist in managing disorders that
interfere with coordination and regulation.
Outcome 2
On completion of this unit the student should be able to describe and explain the use of the stimulusresponse model in coordination and regulation and how components of the human immune system
respond to antigens and provide immunity.
To achieve this outcome the student will draw on key knowledge outlined in area of study 2, and key
skills listed on page 2.
Key knowledge
 coordination and regulation at the cellular level:
– the nature of the stimulus-response model and the roles of the nerve pathway and chemical
signals in the transmission of information from receptor to effector
– types of signalling molecules: neurotransmitters; animal hormones; pheromones; plant growth
regulators
– a generalised view of how information received by a cell’s receptor is transducted to an effector
to initiate various cellular responses including the position of receptors for protein-based and
lipid-based signalling molecules
– apoptosis (regulated cell death) as an example of a cellular response to specific signals
 the role of the human immune system in detecting and responding to antigens:
– the nature of antigens and their sources: ‘self’ and ‘non-self’, and cellular pathogens and
noncellular agents (viruses and prions)
– the nature of physical and chemical barriers in plants and animals (including humans) to
invading pathogens
– the structure and role of the lymphatic system in the innate and adaptive immune response – the
nature, characteristics and roles of components in the innate (non-specific) immune response
including the inflammatory response
– the nature, characteristics and components of the adaptive immune response including the role
and actions of B cells and their antibodies in humoral immunity and the role and actions of T
helper cells and T cytotoxic cells in cell-mediated immunity
– disorders of the human immune response including the allergic response and autoimmune
diseases
– acquired immunity through natural and passive strategies, including the nature and production of
vaccines and antibody serums and their importance in maintaining immunity for a particular
disease in the human population.
P age |6
Unit 4 Overview
In this unit students examine evidence for evolution of life forms over time. Students explore hypotheses
that explain how changes to species have come about. In addition to observable similarities and
differences between organisms, students explore the universality of DNA and conservation of genes as
evidence for ancestral lines of life that have given rise to the present biodiversity of our planet.
Students investigate how the study of molecular genetics has expanded into genomics – the study of
whole sets of genes possessed by an organism. Information obtained by studying genomes and functional
genomics has provided insight into gene expression and regulation, and relationships between species.
Students study how genes are transmitted from generation to generation by examining meiosis and
patterns of inheritance including pedigree analysis. Students consider the relationship between heritable
variations and the environment in accounting for changes to species over time, and for speciation and
extinction.
Students examine the interrelationships between biological, cultural and technological evolution. As they
consider the historical development of ideas and technological advances that have contributed to our
knowledge and understanding of inheritance and evolutionary biology, students come to understand the
dynamic nature of science, the human factors that influence developments in science and its increasing
reliance on evidence. Students investigate emerging technological applications and the implications of
advances in molecular genetics.
The ability to apply technologies that can change the genetic composition of individual organisms and
species, including humans, raises controversial issues for individuals and society. Students examine these
issues and consider their implications from a variety of perspectives.
AREA OF STUDY 1
Heredity
This area of study focuses on molecular genetics and the investigation not only of individual units of
inheritance, but also of the genomes of individuals and species. Students investigate inheritance in
asexually reproducing organisms and the mechanism and patterns of transmission of heritable traits in
sexually reproducing organisms.
Students examine the process of meiosis in terms of inputs and outputs and, in accounting for variations
in offspring, consider the interplay between genotype and environmental factors, the significance of
mutations in DNA, and the relationship between alleles.
Students investigate the techniques and technologies that are used to amplify DNA, identify the genetic
profile of organisms and manipulate and modify the genomes of organisms. They undertake practical
investigations that involve manipulation of DNA and inheritance of traits. They trace patterns of
inheritance by analysis of pedigrees.
Outcome 1
On completion of this unit the student should be able to analyse evidence for the molecular basis of
heredity, and patterns of inheritance.
To achieve this outcome the student will draw on key knowledge outlined in Area of Study 1, and key
skills listed on page 2 of this booklet.
Key knowledge
 cell reproduction:
– binary fission in prokaryotes
– the phases of the cell cycle in eukaryotes including DNA replication, the division of the nucleus
(mitosis), and cytokinesis
– the key events that result in the production of haploid sex cells from a diploid cell (meiosis),
including recombination
 molecular genetics:
P age |7
– the nature of genomes, genes and the genetic code
– gene expression: the genetic code and roles of RNA in transcription, RNA processing in
eukaryotes, and translation
– the concept of gene regulation (the switching on and off of genes by factors expressed by
regulator genes and environmental factors)
 DNA tools and techniques: gel electrophoresis; DNA amplification; DNA sequencing; making a
recombinant plasmid; bacterial transformations; DNA profiling; gene cloning; and using plasmids
as gene delivery systems
 inheritance:
– the nature of chromosomes, alleles, genotype and phenotype
– the causes of phenotypic variation: mutations; recombination of parental alleles in sexual
reproduction; polygenes; and interactions of environmental factors with genes
– continuous and discontinuous variation
– patterns of inheritance involving the monohybrid cross: dominance; recessiveness; codominance; multiple alleles
– dihybrid crosses as independent or linked
– pedigree analysis: autosomal and sex-linked inheritance; use of the test cross.
AREA OF STUDY 2
Change over time
This area of study focuses on change to genetic material that occurs over time and the changing nature
and reliability of evidence that supports the concept of evolution of life forms. Students investigate
changes to species and examine the process of natural selection as a mechanism for evolution.
Students examine how evolutionary biology has been based upon changes in evidence obtained by
accumulation of information over time, changes in interpretation and more recently from molecular
biology. Students investigate technological advances that have increased understanding of evolutionary
processes and phylogenetic relationships.
Students consider how the interaction between human, cultural and technological evolution may have
affected evolutionary processes. They also look at how applying selective breeding and gene technologies
to develop traits in species for particular purposes may affect evolutionary processes in the future.
Students consider the application of gene technologies to genetic screening and profiling of individuals,
and gene therapies that affect gene lines, and the bioethical, environmental and legal issues raised.
Outcome 2
On completion of this unit the student should be able to analyse and evaluate evidence for evolutionary
change and evolutionary relationships, and describe mechanisms for change including the effect of human
intervention on evolutionary processes through selective breeding and applications of biotechnology.
To achieve this outcome the student will draw on key knowledge outlined in Area of Study 2, and key
skills listed on page 2 of this booklet.
Key knowledge
 a qualitative treatment of changing allele frequencies in a population and the consequences:
– the concept of the gene pool
– environmental selection pressures, gene flow, genetic drift (founder and bottleneck effects)
– natural selection as a mechanism for biological evolution
 evidence for biological evolution over time:
– the geological time scale; relative and absolute dating techniques
– the fossil record; biogeography; comparative morphology; molecular homology
 determination of evolutionary relationships: comparison of DNA sequences; comparative
genomics; mitochondrial DNA; phylogeny
 patterns of biological change:
– allopatric speciation
P age |8
– divergent and convergent evolution
– extinctions
 hominin evolution:
– shared characteristics which define primates, hominoids and hominins
– major trends in hominin evolution from the genus Australopithecus to the genus Homo including
morphological, structural and cognitive development resulting in cultural evolution and the rise
of technologies
 human intervention in evolutionary processes:
– application of gene technologies including gene cloning, bacterial transformations, stem cell
differentiation, genetic screening, gene therapy and DNA profiling
– selective breeding as a method of affecting and limiting the gene pool.
Units 3 and 4 Assessment
School Assessed Coursework
Unit 3
Marks
Allocated
Outcomes
Outcome 1
Analyse and evaluate from practical
investigations related to biochemical
processes
Outcome 2
Describe and explain the use of the
stimulus-response model in coordination
and regulation and how components of the
human immune system respond to
antigens and provide immunity
50
25
25
Total marks
100
Assessment tasks
Reports of three practical activities:
 an investigation of cellular respiration or
photosynthesis
 an investigation of enzyme action
 an investigation of the movement of substances
across membranes
A report of an investigation or simulation of a selected
organism’s response to a specific chemical or physical
signal.
AND
A response to an issue or an aspect related to the
immune response using any one or a combination of the
following
 evaluation of research
 data analysis
 essay
 annotated poster
 media response
 oral presentation using two or more data types
 multimedia presentation
 test
 visual presentation
(SAC’s for Unit 3 contribute 20% to the study score)
P age |9
Unit 4
Marks
Allocated
Outcomes
Outcome 1
Analyse evidence for the molecular basis
of heredity, and patterns of inheritance
Outcome 2
Analyse and evaluate evidence for
evolutionary change and evolutionary
relationships, and describe mechanisms
for change including the effect of human
intervention on evolutionary processes
through selective breeding and
applications of biotechnology
50
25
25
Total marks
100
Assessment tasks
Reports of three practical activities:
 an investigation related to a genetic cross
 an investigation using a DNA tool or manipulation
technique
 an investigation or simulation related to mitosis
and/or meiosis
An oral or written report that demonstrates evolutionary
relationships using first- or second-hand data.
AND
A response to an issue related to human intervention in
evolutionary processes using any one or a combination
of the following
 evaluation of research
 data analysis
 essay
 annotated poster
 media response
 oral presentation using two or more data types
 multimedia presentation
 test
 visual presentation
(SAC’s for Unit 4 contribute 20% to the study score)
End-of-year examination
Description
The examination will be set by a panel appointed by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority.
All outcomes in Units 3 and 4 will be examined. All key knowledge that underpins the outcomes in Units
3 and 4 and the set of key skills listed on page 2 of this booklet are examinable.
Conditions
The examination will be completed under the following conditions:
• Duration: two and a half hours.
• Date: end-of-year, on a date to be published annually by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment
Authority.
• Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority examination rules will apply. Details of these rules
are published annually in the VCE and VCAL Administrative Handbook.
• The examination will be marked by assessors appointed by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment
Authority.
Contribution to final assessment
The examination will contribute 60 per cent to the study score.
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Textbook & other resources
app from itunes
app from itunes
Websites for Biologists
www.jacplus.com.au
This is where you set up (if you don’t already have one) or add to your jacplus account. You will need to
add new titles – you will receive a code for your textbook and a code for your StudyOn. Familiarise
yourself with both of these online resources over the holidays.
http://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au
The VCAA website with all VCE subjects, exam dates, study designs and all sorts of useful information.
http://www.biozone.com.au/links.html
There are a lot of topics here. The more relevant topics for Unit 3 are Animal Biology, Biochemistry,
Biotechnology, Cell Biology, Health and Disease, Microbiology and Plant Biology.
http://biologyoracle.podomatic.com/
Douchy’s podcasts. Douchy is a VCE teacher and makes these for his students. Download them from this website
OR itunes OR find and like Douchy’s Biology Podcast on facebook. Listen in your own time. They are great for
getting a different explanation or point of view or just for extra revision.
http://www.nelsonsecondary.com.au/2/401/12/biology_units_____.pm/#18
This site has many “biolinks” that have activities specific to pages from the Nelson Biology text, but they are still
extremely relevant, and relate directly to what we are studying.
http://rhsvcebiology.weebly.com/
This is a website just for you! Here you will have access to resources, ideas, hints and the chance to discuss new
concepts, ask questions, share answers and collaborate with your class mates (and me!).
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I will get the best study score I can because I
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am committed to doing my very best in VCE in 2014.
arrive to every class on time and make sure that I only miss classes when it is unavoidable.
always work cooperatively, efficiently and effectively in class, making full use of double
periods.
prepare in advance for SACs and understand that open book does NOT mean that I can just rely
on the text for answers.
read ahead of the current topic to prepare for the next lesson.
stay on top of my chapter booklets, by doing as much as possible in class and catch up if I’m
away.
complete my glossaries, making sure I use language that I can understand.
often refer back to my glossaries and focus on understanding and applying key terms.
use the StudyOn resource by checking the summaries, videos and interactives.
complete the relevant Quickcheck and chapter questions on a weekly basis, before looking at
solutions.
often see my teacher for help out of class or email them with questions.
discuss the subject content with my peers, in person and online, including the RHS VCE
Biology Weebly.
answer practice exam questions using StudyOn and track my progress regularly.
spend at least four or more hours on study and revision for this subject each week.
have a well structured study plan/timetable.
am familiar with the key skills and key knowledge as described in the Jumpstart Booklet (from
the VCE Biology Study Design).
use other resources such as
Douchy’s podcast
other text books/checkpoints
relevant websites such as those given in the Jumpstart booklet
P a g e | 12
Unit 3 & 4 Biology Jumpstart Treasure Hunt
Clue
The number of Areas of Study in Unit 3
The title of Area of Study 1 in Unit 3
The number of exams in the year
The percentage contribution of exam/s to the study
score
The number of practical reports in Unit 3
The percentage contribution of all SAC’s to the
study score
Your textbook title
The title of Area of Study 2 in Unit 3
Who makes a great podcast?
The percentage contribution of Unit 3 SAC’s to the
study score
The number of SAC’s in Unit 3
The number of SAC’s in Outcome 2, Unit 3
The duration of the exam
The third Key Knowledge dot point for Outcome 1,
Unit 3
The second heading for Key Skills
The title of Area of Study 2 in Unit 3
Name the structures in the images on pages 3 & 4
In which outcome of Unit 3 do we
study this structure?
The website where all VCE study designs, past
exams and examiner’s reports can be found
My name, office and email address
Answer
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Biomacromolecules
Carbohydrates
Proteins
Fats, lipids, membranes
Nucleic acids (DNA, RNA)
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File - Unit 3 & 4 biology