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1: Cells as the basis of life | Stage 6: Year 11 | BIOLOGY

Summary Context Duration

Module 1: Implemented in this unit as the introductory module in the This unit is written for a mixed ability grade, that ranges in academic ability. 6 weeks
Year 11 Biology course

Content Focus
Cells are the basis of life. They coordinate activities to form colonial and multicellular organisms. Students examine the structure and function of organisms at both the cellular and tissue levels
in order to describe how they facilitate the efficient provision and removal of materials to and from all cells in organisms. They are introduced to and investigate biochemical processes through
the application of the Working Scientifically skills processes.
Students are introduced to the study of microbiology and the tools that scientists use in this field. These tools will be used throughout the course to assist in making predictions and solving
problems of a multidisciplinary nature.

Working Scientifically Focus
In this module, students focus on conducting investigations to collect, process and analyse data and identify trends, patterns and relationships related to cell structure and function.
Students should be provided with opportunities to engage with all Working Scientifically skills throughout the course.

Skills Outcomes Knowledge and Understanding Outcomes

A student: A student:
Conducts investigations to collect valid and reliable primary and secondary data and Describes single cells as the basis for all life by analysing and explaining cells’
information BIO11/12-3 ultrastructure and biochemical processes BIO11-8
Selects and processes appropriate qualitative and quantitative data and information using a
range of appropriate media

Key inquiry questions

What distinguishes one cell from another?
How do cells coordinate activities within their internal environment and the external environment?

Assessment overview
Assessment for Learning Assessment as Learning Assessment of Learning
Kahoot Quizzes Peer assessing through criteria on research task Students will use the information they gathered
Class discussions (Chemical and light energy) throughout their research task when they investigated
the effects of different environmental aspects on
PowerPoint Presentations enzyme activity. Students had previously presented
Oral Presentations Students fill in a PMI chart (Energy, matter & wastes) their findings to the class based on their given
Lyrics of song (photosynthesis) environmental effect (pH, temperature, concentration
of enzyme or concentration of substance). Students will
Graphing data Peer assessing through given criteria on creativity and
write a scientific report with their previously written
Constructing tables relevance of song (Photosynthesis)
hypothesis. Students will also include:
Writing aim, hypothesis & risk assessment - Aim
Writing responses Self-assessment on clarity and findings compared to - Materials
Similarities and differences in a Venn diagram peers on oral presentation (Technologies used to - Methods
determine cell structure and function) - Results
Flow diagram
- Discussion
Students fill in a teacher feedback form on learning - Conclusion
Answering HSC exam questions techniques used and pedagogy after each inquiry
question Students will use previous feedback from the teacher
and discuss the findings of the report in comparison to
further research and review.

Literacy Focus Numeracy Focus ICT Focus

Internet research Counting cells Digital glossary page
Textbook research Changing millimetres to micrometres Computer research
Communicating research findings to class Drawing a circle with 10cm in diameter using a protractor Smartboard use for presentations
Oral presentations Estimating cell size Use of light microscopes
Writing aim Calculating surface area PowerPoint presentations
Writing hypothesis Calculating volume Making infographic
Writing discussion Calculating surface area to volume ratio Making digital flow-chart
Planning investigation Constructing tables Videos made
Writing conclusion Graphing Photos taken
Song writing Drawing line of best fit Google docs
Poem writing Microsoft excel

Inquiry question: What distinguishes one cell from another?

K& U Content WS Outcome Descriptor Teaching and learning strategies Extension or Resources
Descriptor Adjustment
MODULE 1 PREPERATION: Digital glossary page:

Students to start module by designing a digital glossary page.
Students will prepare their glossary to add words and definitions - Laptops
that are crucial to remember in module 1. Students also may add
HSC verbs and their meanings.
Processing Data and Information Students are tested on their stage 4 and 5 pre-knowledge through a
Outcomes BIO11/12-4 Kahoot quiz based on eukaryotes, prokaryotes, animal cells, plant
Kahoot quiz:
- Laptops
Investigate different cells, uni/multicellular definitions and the use of a microscope and

cellular structures, Content: Students:
its parts.

Group Activity:
including but not limited Low ability: Students that aren’t
Students introduced to the inquiry question “what distinguishes one - Posters
to: • Select qualitative and cell from another?”. Students get into groups and are given mini
confident to brainstorm based on
their previous knowledge, are given - Texta’s
Examining a variety of quantitative data and posters and texta’s. Students are to brainstorm in groups of 3, the
the option of using biology - Laptops
prokaryotic and eukaryotic information and represent definitions of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, the difference and
textbooks to help their group work - Textbooks
them using a range of similarities between the cells. Students will use research to list a
cells (ACSBL032, variety of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Laptops and textbooks
participation. - Whiteboard markers
formats, digital
ACSBL048) technologies and are provided for students to use.

appropriate media
Differentiation: Students can write,
(ACSBL004, ACSBL007, All groups will then have a turn at coming to the front of the class
draw or speak about their findings,
ACSBL064, ACSBL101) and explaining their findings. Each group will add their results into
in order to explain their results as
the list of cells and Venn diagram (showing the similarities and
best as they can.
differences of prokaryotes and eukaryotes) on the whiteboard.
Communicating Outcomes
Teacher adds to group input and provides feedback where

Extension: Gifted and talented
necessary. Students will then copy down the final Venn diagram and
students are given the opportunity
Outcome BIO11/12-7 lists of cells into their workbooks.
to make their own Venn diagram
listing their ideas, before the class
Content: Students: Venn diagram is filled in. students
will then be able to reflect on their
knowledge and add any points they
• Select and use suitable might’ve missed.
forms of digital, visual,
written and/or oral forms
of communication

Processing Data and Information Pre-knowledge assessment: Students to have a class based
Outcomes BIO11/12-4 discussion on the following questions asked; “What have you
Investigate different previously used in stage 4 & 5 to see cells?” and “How else can you
cellular structures, Content: Students:
see the structure and function of cells?”.
including but not limited
Research activity:
Each student is given a separate technology to research individually. Low ability: Students will be
to: • Select qualitative and Students will then combine into groups with peers that were provided with a scaffold worksheet - Scaffold worksheets
Describe a range of quantitative data and researching the same technology group and label the diagram and to help guide their research and - Laptops
technologies that are used information and represent answer questions based on their technology. Students must also findings. - Textbooks
them using a range of relate their technologies advances in the medical world and how it
to determine a cell’s benefits out situations that we face in our everyday life. Extension: Gifted and talented
- Smartboard
formats, digital
structure and function Technologies include: students can choose to research
technologies and
appropriate media - Light microscope more than one technology.
- Fluorescent microscope Students will not be provided with

K& U Content WS Outcome Descriptor Teaching and learning strategies Extension or Resources
Descriptor Adjustment
(ACSBL004, ACSBL007, - Transmission electron microscope the scaffold worksheet to base
ACSBL064, ACSBL101) - Confocal laser scanning microscope their research on.

Technology groups will then present the answers to the worksheet
Communicating Outcomes Presentations:
questions to the class, via an informative oral presentation and
through providing pictures of the technology on the smartboard. - Self-assessment criteria
Outcome BIO11/12-7 The rest of the class will then answer the questions according to the
presentation based on each technology and label a diagram of each
Content: Students: technology. Students will be given a criterion to self-assess their
findings and clarity during the presentations.

Select and use suitable forms of

digital, visual, written and/or oral
forms of communication
Processing Data and Information Pre-Learning: Teacher to access class VALID results and assess the VALID:
Outcomes BIO11/12-4 data for student understanding in relevant stage 5 content.
- Laptop
Investigate a variety of
- Valid access
prokaryotic and eukaryotic Content: Students:
Pre-knowledge assessment through Peer to Peer learning: In pairs
cell structures, including
students are asked to “list structure and function of plant and Low ability and ELAD: Students will Peer to peer learning:
but not limited to: • Select qualitative and animal cells”, based on their stage-5 knowledge. One pair sits down be provided with a “fill in the gaps” - Stopwatch
Drawing scaled diagrams quantitative data and and the other stands up and has 1 minute to explain their answer to scaffold diagram and worksheet to

of a variety of cells information and represent their peer. When the minute is over, pairs switch roles, giving each help guide their responses.
peer the opportunity to explain their answer and listen to their
them using a range of
(ACSBL035) peer’s response.
formats, digital
technologies and
appropriate media Skill activity: Students are re-introduced to scaling through a Scaling activity:
Comparing and
(ACSBL004, ACSBL007, conceptual simulation activity, to teach them the skill related to
contrasting different cell - Protractors
ACSBL064, ACSBL101) estimating the size of cells. Through the use of chocolate chips (of
organelles and the same size), students will estimate the size of the chocolate chips - Chocolate chips
arrangements in relation to a circle with a 10cm diameter (relate to field of view). - Rulers
Conducting Investigations
Students will then lay the chips across the circles diameter, and - Calculators
estimate their size using the formula: Diameter of circle / number of
Outcomes BIO11/12-3 chocolate chips (relating to changing mm to micrometers).

Students watch a you-tube clip to remind them on how to safely and
Content: Students:
correctly use a light microscope. Students then individually write a Watching clip:
risk assessment based on the clip, and must show the teacher for - Laptop
• Employ and evaluate safe feedback before they begin the experiment.
work practices and

manage risks (ACSBL031) Students are placed into pairs, and are given two pre-prepared
slides (one plant cells and one animal cell), photomicrographs of Experiment:
• Use appropriate
prokaryotic cells and are to prepare their own slides (Examples: - Scaffolded worksheet handed to
technologies to ensure
onions, elodea leafs, celery stem and potato cells). Students are to students, including aim, risk
and evaluate accuracy
examine these through the use of the light microscope. Students are assessment, materials/equipment and
then to draw what they see under the microscope for each methods.
slide/photomicrograph, label and scale the diagram.

K& U Content WS Outcome Descriptor Teaching and learning strategies Extension or Resources
Descriptor Adjustment
Through the field of view on the microscope, students are to
identify their observations on a table, in regards to cell type, size,
different organelles of the cells, including cell membrane, cell wall, Low ability: Students will be

vacuole, cytoplasm, nucleus and chloroplast, based on previous- provided with textbooks to support
knowledge. Students are to then identify, which slides are plant labelling their diagram worksheet.
cells, which slides are animal cells and which are prokaryotic cells.
Extension: Students will be asked
Students are then given a diagram, with a cross-section of a plant to draw their own cross-section of Labelling diagram:
cell, a cross section of an animal cell and a cross section of a these cells and draw a labelled
- Diagram worksheet
prokaryotic cell. Students are asked to label each and every diagram of the cell organelles.
structure shown on the diagrams. Students are then to draw a Venn - Textbooks
diagram, comparing the differences and similarities of plant and
animal cells.

Research task: Students are to research the function of each
organelle in pairs, through the use of laptops, textbooks and videos.
Ask students to relate each organelle function to a life feature, for Research task:
example: - Laptops
- Nucleus (The brain) - Texbooks
- Plasma membrane (Doorway) - CD’s / videos
- Endoplasmic reticulum (Highway)

- Vacuole (Storage tanks)
- Cell wall (Protection)
Extension homework: Students
Students are to submit their work in pairs to the teacher, for provided with a scaffold of Past
marking and feedback. HSC exam questions to practice.
Processing Data and Information Students introduced through worksheet and teacher PowerPoint Teacher presentation:
Outcomes BIO11/12-4 presentation to the organic and inorganic chemicals that cells are
- Smartboard
Investigate a variety of made from:
- PowerPoint
prokaryotic and eukaryotic Content: Students: - Lipids
- Carbohydrates - Worksheets
cell structures, including
- Proteins
but not limited to: • Select qualitative and - Nucleic acids (DNA & RNA)
Modelling the structure quantitative data and - Lignin

and function of the fluid information and represent
Teacher models the function of the fluid mosaic model through tea Modelling fluid mosaic model:
them using a range of
mosaic model of the cell strainer experiment. Hold tea strainer over a tray, and pour smarties - Tea strainer
formats, digital
membrane (ACSBL045) technologies and and fine grain sugar into the tea strainer. Relate this experiment to - Tray
appropriate media the everyday life use of a pasta strainer. - Smarties
(ACSBL004, ACSBL007,
- Fine grain sugar
ACSBL064, ACSBL101) Students participate in a think-pair-share activity after experiment.
Students are asked to think-pair-share, the following questions:
- Why did the fine grain sugar come through and not the
Problem Solving
- What did this represent?

K& U Content WS Outcome Descriptor Teaching and learning strategies Extension or Resources
Descriptor Adjustment
Outcomes: BIO11/12-6 Link student responses to definition of selectively permeable to
begin to describe the fluid mosaic model.

Content: Students:
Students to research and link selectively permeable membrane to
the term fluidity. Students to understand that membrane is not Research activity:
• Use modelling (including static. Explain that membrane can melt to allow molecules to enter - Laptops
mathematical examples) for example: When butter is melted, particles/substances can be - Textbooks
to explain phenomena, mixed into it, and when the butter is frozen, those particles are now
make predictions and also frozen inside the butter.

Modelling fluid mosaic model: Students will be given a
solve problems using Modelling fluid mosaic model:
polystyrene/foam ball along with varying colored pins (to represent
evidence from primary
different proteins/lipids). Teacher asks students to begin placing - Polystyrene / foam balls
and secondary sources
pins into the polystyrene ball as they wish. Teacher will then use - Different coloured pins
(ACSBL006, ACSBL010)
examples from the class to identify how certain lipids / proteins can

enter. For example: All red pins (lipids) placed in a compact area,

• Use scientific evidence and will allow for more ‘lipids’ to enter through that side of the
critical thinking skills to membrane.
solve problems
Students are now asked to create a physical model of the fluid Extension: Students may use ICT to Physical model activity:
mosaic model through cutting a provided cake base, covering it with create a digital model or may draw
- Cake base
fondant and covering the top and sides with marshmallows. a model instead, in order to benefit
their types of learning. - Fondant
Students will then use liquorice to place on the slide of the cake
Questioning and Predicting over the marshmallows (licorice will represent the ‘tails’). Students - Lollies
Outcomes BIO11/12-1 will use coloured lollies to represent ‘proteins’. Place some lollies - Liquorice
into the cake to represent ‘proteins’ that are embedded in the cell
membrane and place some lollies on top of the cake to represent
Content: Students:
‘proteins’ that cannot enter the cell membrane and are ‘partially

embedded’. Attach some extra lollies to some proteins to represent
• Develop and evaluate glycoproteins, cholesterol and phytosterols. Label all parts of the
inquiry questions and ‘fluid mosaic model’.
hypotheses to identify a

concept that can be

investigated scientifically,
involving primary and Extension homework: Students

secondary data provided with a scaffold of Past

(ACSBL001, ACSBL061, HSC exam questions to practice.


Students given a feedback form to fill in, based on learning
techniques used in the first inquiry question of module 1. Students - Feedback form
to identify how the inquiry based learning techniques assist and
benefitted their learning, and how some aspects can be transformed
or changed.

Inquiry question: How do cells coordinate activities within their internal environment and external enviornment?

K& U Content WS Outcome Descriptor Teaching and learning strategies Extension or Resources
Descriptor Adjustment
Problem Solving In groups of 4 students are to draw a mind map on posters and Mind map:
discuss the inquiry question “How do cells coordinate activities
- Posters
Investigate the way in within their internal environment and external environment?”
Outcomes BIO11/12-6 - Texta’s
which materials can move

into and out of cells,
Content: Students: PowerPoint presentation in timing with diffusion and osmosis class Presentation:
including but not limited demonstrations. Diffusion and osmosis explained as passive forms - PowerPoint
to: of transport. Examining that diffusion is the movement of molecules
• Use modelling (including
from a high concentration region to a low concentration region, and
- Smartboard
Conducting a practical mathematical examples)
osmosis is the movement of water molecules from a region of high
investigation modelling to explain phenomena,
water concentration to a region of low water concentration.
diffusion and osmosis make predictions and

solve problems using
(ACSBL046) evidence from primary
Diffusion Experiment: Adding food dye into clear water at room Diffusion demonstration:
temperature and again at a much lower temperature, keep track of
and secondary sources - Beaker
time it takes for the dye to reach the opposite end of the container.
(ACSBL006, ACSBL010) - Food dye
At room temperature, the food dye will travel much faster than
when the temperature is lower. Class discussion generated on why - Room-temperature water
this occurs. - Cold water
- Thermometer
Link diffusion to everyday examples such as:
Conducting Investigations
- Spraying perfume
- Putting sugar in tea
Outcomes BIO11/12-3 - Pouring milk in tea

Content : Students: Osmosis Experiment: Peel 3 potatoes and cut a circular section at Osmosis demonstration:
the top of each potato. Boil one potato and leave 2 raw. Then place
- Potatoes
salt into the boiled potato and 1 raw potato. Then place all 3
• Employ and evaluate safe potatoes into a tray and pour water to half fill the tray. Allow class - Knife
work practices and to observe what happens and discuss reasons why. Raw potato - Deep pan
manage risks (ACSBL031) without salt stays the same, raw potato with salt, absorbs the salt - Water
• Use appropriate from the cells lining the cavity due to osmosis and boiled potato - Salt
technologies to ensure stays the same due to death of cells through boiling.

and evaluate accuracy

• Select and extract

Experiment: Students demonstrate the difference between osmosis
information from a wide
and diffusion through dialysis tubing. Read through experiment Experiment:
range of reliable
methods as a class. Discuss and write risk assessment into - Scaffolded worksheet handed to
secondary sources and
workbooks based on methods read. students, including aim, risk
acknowledge them using
Students to place crystal of solute at the bottom of a 300ml full assessment, materials/equipment and
an accepted referencing
beaker and leave. After 5 minutes, students will set up the dialysis methods.
tubing equipment as instructed. Students will then pour starch

solution into the funnel and fill the dialysis bag and 2-3cm of the
Analysing Data and Information funnel stem. Half fill a 600ml beaker and add iodine/potassium
Outcomes: BIO11/12-5 iodide solution slowly and take note of the colour change (should be

K& U Content WS Outcome Descriptor Teaching and learning strategies Extension or Resources
Descriptor Adjustment
Content: Students: dark brown). Mark level of starch on funnel stem, place dialysis bag
into the beaker and instructed and allow to sit for 30 – 40 minutes.
Ask students to observe changes in:
• Derive trends, patterns - Beaker that was left with potassium permanganate
and relationships in data crystal
and information - Beaker with Iodine/potassium iodide solution
- Amount of liquid in the funnel stem
- Why changes in colour occurred (diffusion)
- Change in level of liquid in funnel stem (osmosis)

Students to answer discussion questions provided by teacher in
groups of 3, and present their findings through a PowerPoint and
oral presentation.
Processing Data and Information Brainstorm activity:
Outcomes BIO11/12-4 Through google docs ask students to brainstorm in groups of 4
- Laptop
Investigate the way in “What about other molecules that cannot pass through the cell
- Google docs link
which materials can move Content: Students:
membrane? Many larger molecules move in and out of cells on a
regular basis, how do you think this occurs?”
into and out of cells,

including but not limited
• Apply quantitative Endocytosis demonstration: Teacher pours oil into a cup of oil and Endocytosis demonstration:
to: processes where showing the fusion of the molecules. Explains that endocytosis is an
- Oil
Examining the roles of appropriate active transport of large molecules into a cell. Relate endocytosis to
everyday examples, such as the consumption of medicine in the - Cup
active transport, human body. Exocytosis is then explained as the opposite of
endocytosis and Problem Solving
endocytosis: Excretion/moving out of larger molecules.
exocytosis (ACSBL046)
Outcomes: BIO11/12-6 Students are introduced to different parts of endocytosis through Extension: Students compare active
Video clips:
the use of you-tube video clips. These include phagocytosis and passive transport through a
(engulfing), pinocytosis (drinking) and receptor mediated constructed table including: - Laptop
Content Students:
endocytosis. Students are then to draw their understanding of these - Entry point - Smartboard
types of endocytosis and exocytosis. Teacher will sight these - Rate of movement - You-tube links
• Use modelling (including drawings and provide feedback. - Concentration
mathematical examples) - Energy

to explain phenomena, Endocytosis and exocytosis activity: Class stands up and forms a - Examples of molecules
make predictions and large circle by holding hands, representing the cell membrane. transported
solve problems using There will be one small circle inside the ‘cell membrane’,
evidence from primary representing a vesicle. Inside the ‘vesicle’ there is 1 student,
and secondary sources representing a protein. The ‘protein’ makes its way over to the ‘cell
(ACSBL006, ACSBL010) membrane’. Once it reaches the ‘cell membrane', the vesicle opens
and joins the cell membrane, allowing the protein to exit, while
doing so. This physically demonstrates exocytosis to the class. ELAD activity: Students produce a
Endocytosis is also demonstrated, when the protein wants to re- flow diagram to show the sequence
enter. As the protein enters, the cell membrane opens, and the and mechanisms involved in the
protein enters, with a vesicle around it. Link this activity to the ways that molecules pass into and
fluidity of the cell membrane as researched previously. out of cells.

Conducting Investigations Pre-assessment (Think-Pair-Share): Teacher asks students to write Extension: Students to recall
down their understanding of surface area and volume, in relation to surface area and volume formulas

K& U Content WS Outcome Descriptor Teaching and learning strategies Extension or Resources
Descriptor Adjustment
Investigate the way in Outcomes BIO11/12-3 pre-knowledge from stage 4 and 5 mathematics. Students are then
asked to pair up and share their ideas with a classmate.
which materials can move

into and out of cells, Content: Students: Surface area & Volume:
Teacher asks students to explore that surface area in relation to
including but not limited cells is the outside area of the cell. This surface area, controls the - Practice questions worksheet
to: • Employ and evaluate safe rate of removal and absorption of wastes. Importance of surface
work practices and area in relation to cell size is discussed. Surface area formula
Relating the exchange of manage risks (ACSBL031) explained: Number of faces x height x length. Students write down

materials across • Use appropriate definition and practice surface area formula with cubes given on a

membranes to the technologies to ensure worksheet.

surface-area-to-volume and evaluate accuracy
Teacher asks students to explore that the volume of a cell is the
ratio, concentration • Select and extract capacity inside the cell. This capacity is what determines the
information from a wide
gradients and metabolic needs and waste products. Volume formula explained:
range of reliable
characteristics of the secondary sources and
height x length x width. Students write down definition and practice
volume formula with cubes given on a worksheet. Extension: Students are asked to Experiment:
materials being exchanged acknowledge them using consider the following agar jelly - Scaffolded worksheet handed to
(ACSBL047) an accepted referencing Surface area to volume ration experiment: Students will accurately sizes and predict, which order the students, including aim, risk
style cut 3 block of agar jelly (20mm, 10mm and 5mm thick). They will agar jelly cubes will go clear: assessment, materials/equipment and
then place add the blocks of jelly into 125ml of sulfuric acid and stir - 30mm x 20mm from methods.
Processing Data and Information gently. When the first block goes clear, immediately use a spoon to 3mm thick jelly
Outcomes BIO11/12-4 remove all the blocks from the acid. Immediately rinse the block in - 10 mm x 18 mm from
water, pat them dry with paper towels and cut them in half with a 10mm thick jelly

knife. Measure the depth of each clear layer (mm) in each block. - 15 mm diameter sphere
Content: Students:
Record all information in the table provided. Table includes: Students to explain their reasons
- Block dimensions for their predictions
• Apply quantitative - Order of clearing
processes where - Depth of clear part of block
appropriate - Surface area

- volume
- surface area to volume ration (SA:V)
Problem Solving
Discussion questions to be answered in groups of 4:
Outcomes BIO11/12-6 - What causes the blocks to become clear? (Link to
movement of acid)
- Which block went clear first? Why?
Content: Students:
- Predict which would be next to go clear. Why?
- Which block has the largest volume?
• Use scientific evidence and - Which block has the largest surface area?
critical thinking skills to - Which block has the larges SA:V?

solve problems - Is the block gets smaller what happens to the SA:V?

Students have a class discussion around the reason why smaller cells
have a larger surface area: volume ratio and why larger cells have a
smaller surface area: volume ratio. Teacher explains that as a cell
gets larger, it begins to become harder for the cell to receive enough

food, water and oxygen due to its SA:V ratio shrinking.
Creating posters:
- Cardboard posters

K& U Content WS Outcome Descriptor Teaching and learning strategies Extension or Resources
Descriptor Adjustment
Groups are then asked to create a poster with visual representations - Laptops
of the experiment process and the results (students can draw this - Printer
representation or can use their phones to take photos throughout
- Texta’s
the experiment and print them out for the poster). Students to write
concluding paragraph on the poster to explain their findings.
Processing Data and Information Pre-knowledge: Students to sit a Kahoot quiz on prior knowledge on
Outcomes BIO11/12-4 autotrophs, heterotrophs, light energy and chemical energy.
Investigate cell
requirements, including Content: Students:
Teacher explains that molecules are essential sources of energy, Low ability: Students provided with Kahoot quiz:
but not limited to: they store energy and are the means of instruction for growth in the a KWL checklist (What I already - Laptops
body. KNOW, what I WANT to know,
Suitable forms of energy,
• Select qualitative and what I have LEARNED). Student and
including light energy and quantitative data and Research Task: Students to research the relation between light teacher both mark off checklist
chemical energy in information and represent energy and chemical energy relative to the law of conservation of according to students progress. Research task:
them using a range of energy (energy is not created nor destroyed). Students to relate - Laptops
complex molecules their findings to the cell requirements of nutrients (organic and ELAD: Students given a scaffold
formats, digital - Textbooks
(ACSBL044) technologies and inorganic). Students to present their findings in groups, through a with questions and website links to
- ELAD Scaffold worksheet
Matter, including gases, appropriate media PowerPoint presentation. Peers mark other groups through a given follow to help with their research.
(ACSBL004, ACSBL007, criteria.
simple nutrients and ions
Students to relate their research on how energy was used in the
oldest living things in order to continue life (cyanobacteria).
Analysing Data and Information Flowchart:

Outcomes: BIO11/12-5 - Cardboard
Link to life activity: Students to make a flow chart including drawings
and information, on chemical energy and light energy. Flow charts - Laptops

Content: Students: should include - Printer
- Heterotrophs are consumers, because we feed off
autotrophs (synthesise organic materials) and their
• Derive trends, patterns
ability to survive.
and relationships in data - Wavelengths of light that reach organisms (such as
and information
plants), allow living organisms to build complex
molecules and cells (light energy).
Problem Solving - Light energy is then converted to chemical energy.
- Carbohydrates are made by using light energy trapped by

the chlorophyll) to combine water and carbon dioxide.
Outcomes: BIO11/12-6
- Humans, then consume these carbohydrates and use
them as a source of energy to perform everyday life
Content Students: activities.

These flow-charts will be seen my teacher for feedback and stuck in
• Use modelling (including biology homeroom.

mathematical examples)

to explain phenomena, Students to write half a page based on their pre-knowledge to the
make predictions and exchange of gasses and how it is essential for survival of cells and

solve problems using ultimately organisms. Exchange of gases explained as a two-way
evidence from primary diffusion process.
and secondary sources
(ACSBL006, ACSBL010)

Students to watch a you-tube clip of gas exchange and make a digit Video:
flowchart using Lucidchart in pairs, based on oxygen inhaled and the - Laptop

K& U Content WS Outcome Descriptor Teaching and learning strategies Extension or Resources
Descriptor Adjustment
Removal of wastes Communicating exhaling of carbon dioxide and why this occurs. Students to include Extension: Students to relate cell - Smartboard
the inhalation and exhalation process and its role in removal of size to the exhaling of CO2. - You-tube link
wastes in cells (for example CO2). Teacher to then sight the flow- Students are provided with
Outcomes BIO11/12-7 Flowchart:
charts and provides feedback. questions to consider cell size,
removal of wastes, SA:V ratio and - Laptops
- Link to Luicidchart
Content Students: active and passive transport.

• Construct evidence-based

arguments and engage in
Extension homework: Students to
peer feedback to evaluate
explain the role that leaf structure
an argument or conclusion
plays in enabling them to function
(ACSBL034, ACSBL036)
and its role in absorbing light
energy. PMI
Students to fill in a PMI sheet on their understanding on the forms
- Worksheet
of energy, matter and removal of wastes. Students to hand it back
to the teacher for feedback.
Planning Investigations
Pre-assessment: Students to recall the course of photosynthesis and
Investigate the recall the chemical and word equation.
Outcomes BIO11/12-2
biochemical processes of
photosynthesis, cell Song: Students to make a song to a catchy tune on the process of Differentiation: Students may write
Content Students: photosynthesis and/or respiration. Students to perform their songs a poem or create a video if they
respiration and the in groups. Students will then peer assess their classmates, based on prefer.
removal of cellular creativity, information and clarity.
• Assess risks, consider
products and wastes in ethical issues and select

eukaryotic cells appropriate materials and
Planning investigations: Students are placed into mixed ability
groups. Students will plan and conduct an investigation in order to
(ACSBL049, ACSBL050, technologies when
test the effects of products during photosynthesis OR respiration
ACSBL052, ACSBL053) designing and planning an - Scaffold worksheet in relation to
(half class will test photosynthesis and half class will test
investigation (ACSBL031, photosynthesis or respiration
- Low ability students provided with
After investigation is planned, before students physically conduct it. scaffold worksheet
Conducting Investigations Students are to write a risk assessment for their experiments. All risk Low ability: Students given scaffold - Experiment materials (based on
assessments must be sighted by teacher. Students to consider of instructions that could follow in
students planned investigations)
ethical issues when planning their investigation. order to conduct the investigation

Teacher gives scaffold worksheet to students (photosynthesis or
Content Students: respiration). Scaffold will include which products to test for in
photosynthesis (chlorophyll, water, carbon dioxide, temperature
and light) and in respiration (glucose, oxygen and temperature).
• Employ and evaluate safe
Students split these factors and focus on one product each during Extension: Students to write a

work practices and
their investigation and research. Photos must be taken throughout scientific report based on their
manage risks (ACSBL031)
experiment for later use. investigation and hand it in for
teacher marking and feedback.
Communicating Students to answer worksheet questions in relation to their
investigations and form a discussion and conclusion.

K& U Content WS Outcome Descriptor Teaching and learning strategies Extension or Resources
Descriptor Adjustment
Outcomes BIO11/12-7 In their experiment groups, students are to review their planned
investigation and identify the strengths and weaknesses of their
written investigation. Students to identify the accuracy, validity and
Content Students:
reliability of their investigation and where improvements can be
• Select and use suitable Differentiation: Students given Infographic:
forms of digital, visual, Students present their findings to the class, through an oral opportunity to choose modes of - Laptops
written and/or oral forms presentation, PowerPoint presentation, diagrams or digitally presentation in groups
of communication through a video. - Canva link

• Select and apply

appropriate scientific
notations, nomenclature Differentiation: Students provided
and scientific language to Students to make an infographic using canva, on the effects of with a scaffold infographic, with
factors that affect the process of cellular respiration OR questions to answer based on
communicate in a variety
photosynthesis. effects of these factors.
of contexts (ACSBL008,


Analysing Data and Information

Outcomes BIO11/12-5

Content Students:

• Assess the relevance,

accuracy, validity and
reliability of primary and
secondary data and
suggest improvements to
investigations (ACSBL005)

Planning Investigations Pre-assessment: Think-Pair-Share: Students to define the following

terms individually, then compare with their peers:
Conduct a practical - Catalyst
Outcomes BIO11/12-2
investigation to model the - Enzyme
action of enzymes in cells - Substrate
Content Students:
(ACSBL050) Students to research in pairs the term, catalase, and brainstorm its Research:
effects on living organisms (plants and animals) and their roles in - Laptops
• Justify and evaluate the
our organs.
use of variables and - Textbooks

experimental controls to

ensure that a valid Experiment:
Experiment: Students provided with scaffold to assist in experiment
procedure is developed
methods. Students to write their own aim and risk assessment - Scaffolded worksheet handed to
that allows for the reliable
based on experiment methods provided. Teacher to sight students students, including aim, risk
collection of data
aims. Risk assessment is discussed as a class based on student’s assessment, materials/equipment and
individual ideas. methods.

K& U Content WS Outcome Descriptor Teaching and learning strategies Extension or Resources
Descriptor Adjustment
Conducting Investigations Students begin experiment by placing enzyme covered filter paper
(enzymes from potatoes) into a substrate filled beaker. Students
observe the reaction of this (catalyst breaking down the hydrogen
peroxide, forming gas bubbles resulting in the filter paper being
raised to the top). Students time taken for this to occur and record
Content Students: their observations. Students are to then find the rate of enzyme
activity by dividing the amount of hydrogen peroxide by the time
taken for the filter paper to rise to the top. Students repeat this
• Employ and evaluate safe
experiment 3 times, for reliability and then calculate an average rate
work practices and
taken for enzyme activity. Students compare their results to a
manage risks (ACSBL031)
control beaker.
Communicating Students then share their results on google docs in an excel Extension: Students to write a - Laptops
spreadsheet. A graph is then formed showing different results and discussion relating their results to - Google docs link
identifying outliers in the experiment. academic literature.
Outcomes BIO11/12-7 - Excel document

Content Students:

• Select and apply

appropriate scientific
notations, nomenclature
and scientific language to
communicate in a variety
of contexts (ACSBL008,
• Construct evidence-based
arguments and engage in
peer feedback to evaluate
an argument or conclusion
(ACSBL034, ACSBL036)

Processing Data and Information Students are given links to different scientific journal articles, which Extension: Students may find peer Articles:
Outcomes BIO11/12-4 have conducted experiments based on environment effects of review scientific journal articles
- Laptops
Investigate the effects of enzyme activity. Students will be split into environmental effect separately. Teacher must approve
- Links to scientific journal articles
the environment on Content Students:
groups (temperature, pH, concentration of enzyme, concentration of the articles chosen.
of substrate). Students will write a hypothesis based on what effect
enzyme activity through
their “environment” factor will have on enzyme activity. Students in
the collection of primary
• Apply quantitative each group will collaborate their findings in association to their
or secondary data processes where journal article chosen. Students will then compare their hypothesis

(ACSBL050, ACSBL051) appropriate to the results and summarise the aim and methods of the journal

Groups will then present their findings to the class and will generate
a discussion based on the links between them. Discussion:

K& U Content WS Outcome Descriptor Teaching and learning strategies Extension or Resources
Descriptor Adjustment
Outcomes BIO11/12-7 Low Ability: Students will be - Scaffold questions for ELAD & low
provided with a list of questions to ability students
Students will receive feedback on their presentation and findings make sure they answer in their
Content Students:
from the teacher in order to assist in their summative assessment. discussion.

• Select and use suitable ELAD: Students will be provided
forms of digital, visual, with a scaffold highlighting the
written and/or oral forms ‘hamburger paragraph’ steps to
of communication assist ELAD students in their

Select and apply appropriate Feedback:
Students given a feedback form to fill in, based on learning
scientific notations, nomenclature techniques used in the second inquiry question of module 1. - Feedback form
and scientific language to Students to identify how the inquiry based learning techniques
communicate in a variety of contexts assist and benefitted their learning, and how some aspects can be
(ACSBL008, ACSBL036, ACSBL067, transformed or changed.

Evaluation (Questions you would ask yourself / students in order to assess your unit of work)
Students are provided with a feedback form that they fill out at the end of each inquiry question. This will allow for the teacher to receive feedback on teaching
strategies and pedagogies used throughout the unit. Students will also provide feedback on improvements that they believe could be made in order to benefit
their learning. Teacher will self-assess teaching strategies and how students responded after each lesson conducted, in order to enhance motivation and

Part B: Resources











Cellular Respiration

What is Cellular Respiration?






PART C: Discussion

Biology is a teaching area that requires a specific learning approach in order to stimulate, challenge and assist deeper understanding and knowledge in students. In order to enhance student
learning and promote inclusion for a mixed range of abilities, the unit plan above focuses on an inquiry based learning (IBL) approach, specific to collaborative and cooperative learning, through
the use of group work, IBL activities and the use of technology. In order to develop higher-order thinking, the unit plant focuses on discovering biological ideas through emphasising the working
scientifically skills from the NSW syllabus (Tomlinson, 2015). These skills include the use of problem solving, planning & conducting investigations, communicating, processing & analysing data
and information (NSW, Education Standards Authority, 2018). The significance of the pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) framework is accentuated to highlight the importance of teaching
and learning strategies in correlation with scientific content (Van Driel & Berry, 2012).

It is absolutely necessary and important for educators to understand and have confidence in their expertise in the content of their key learning areas, however not in comprise of pedagogical
strategies (Van Driel & Berry, 2012). Pedagogy can be defined as the strategies and approaches alongside the philosophy of teaching (Gobby & Walker, 2017). According to Van Driel & Berry
(2012), content knowledge in accordance with pedagogical strategies, allows for students to predict and question the knowledge being taught, in order to form a deeper understanding. PCK
allows for students to learn and subconsciously implement skills in accordance to the dimensions of the NSW Quality Teaching Framework, throughout their learning (Gore & Ludwig, 2003).
Kleickmann et al. (2013), highlights that the correct use of the PCK model can benefit student grades, facilitating the ability for students to retain knowledge through
understanding, rather than the ability to regurgitate information memorised. In relation to the constructivist theory, the unit plan approaches the PCK model through Inquiry
based learning (IBL), allowing students to “learn by making” (Van Driel & Berry, 2012). Research shows that student-centred learning through IBL, where the teacher acts as the
facilitator, allows for a significantly higher rate of engagement, resulting in student discovery and responsibility in the classroom (Hmelo-Silver, Duncan & Chinn, 2007). According
to Shores & Smith (2011), students develop the ability to critically think, analyse and communicate due to the implementation to PCK through IBL. The unit plan provides students
the ability to critically think and collaborate through planning their own investigation to test factors that affect the rate of photosynthesis and respiration. Students are required
to research, question, predict and communicate with their group members, in order to develop a planned investigation. Students are able to apply their investigation through
conducting the experiment, allowing for self-assessment based on success, making it evident that students are able to better progress through the pedagogy of IBL in group
environments (Mehta & Kulshrestha, 2014).

As shown on the National Training Laboratories Learning pyramid, collaborative and cooperative learning accentuates the importance of peer to peer learning, helping students retain 90% of
information taught, compared to 10% retained through teacher lecturing (Mehta & Kulshrestha, 2014). The unit plan, associates a collaborative learning environment through majority of the
activities including, creating posters to identify the differences between prokaryotes and eukaryotes, ‘bouncing ideas’ off one another to answer discussion questions based on the conducted
osmosis experiment and worksheet questions to work out the surface area to volume ratio. The unit plan also incorporates creativity, allowing students to learn the scientific process of
photosynthesis and respiration through song based learning. This allows for a range in creativity inside the classroom, giving different learning styles and abilities an opportunity. These
examples of peer-assisted learning through collaboration, is a teaching strategy that enhances the performance of students and ascends their level of content knowledge (Mehta & Kulshrestha,
2014). The process of IBL and collaborative learning, enhances students to become future focused learners, contributing to the development of their communication (Shores & Smith, 2011).
Communication is used as a formative assessment in many aspects of the unit plan, allowing for students to practise the skill of expressing their knowledge effectively with clarity, being evident
through PowerPoint & oral presentations, class discussions and through scientific writing. Another aspect of “future focused learners” is the ability to express through creating (Shores & Smith,
2011). This is catered for in the unit plan, providing students the opportunity in which they wish to present their findings. Students are given the choice between expressing their knowledge
through writing, speaking, digital format, drawings or song. These aspects of the unit plan, allows for students to create connections between their hobbies and their education, without
affecting critical thinking and inquiry (Beghetto, 2010).

Differentiation is the process by which content delivery is altered in order to benefit students across a range of learning abilities and styles (Tomlinson, 2015). According to Tomlinson (2015),
differentiation can be catered for by assessing prior-knowledge of all students, allowing for teachers to have a background on student prior knowledge and their academic abilities,
differentiating gifted and talented students from lower ability students (Tomlinson, 2015). Prior knowledge is continuously assessed, through different methods in the unit plan, allowing for the
teacher to identify class abilities and learning needs. Prior knowledge is assessed through Kahoot quizzes, accessing VALID results, mind maps, brainstorms, discussions and think-pair-share
activities. Motivation and participation is preserved through the importance of differentiation, making sure that students are receiving challenging tasks in accordance to their abilities (Walker
et al., 2015). In the unit plan students are asked to plan and conduct an investigation to test the effects of products during photosynthesis or respiration. Students are placed in mixed ability
groups, allowing gifted and talented students to peer-assist low ability and ELAD students in activities. Low ability students are also provided with a scaffold worksheet with key steps and
questions that they must be aware of when completing the investigation. Scaffold worksheets are also given to low ability students to assist them in calculating surface area to volume ratios
alongside calculating cell size through simulation activities to develop skills. When presenting their data, students are provided with a choice in mode of presentation, allowing for gifted and
talented students to write a report or low ability students to use their strengths and knowledge through an open-ended choice (Tomlinson, 2001). The unit plan continuously provides examples
of differentiation methods to extend gifted and talented student and many ways of adjustment for low ability and ELAD students.

In conclusion, it is important to identify that pedagogy coincides with content knowledge, confirming the significance of the PCK model. IBL is crucial to aid development of student knowledge,
through an open environment, where students are able to mature academically. Equity is achieved in the classroom through the use of differentiation, where teachers are responsible in
producing effective environments and learning opportunities to promote academic performance (Kleickmann et al., 2013). Differentiation is essential as student academic development without
applied effort is a recipe for disaster, leading to the decrease of “potential brain power”, affecting the activity of advanced learners (Tomlinson, 2001).



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Gobby, B. & Walker, R. (2017). Powers of Curriculum: Sociological Perspectives on Education, Australia: Oxford University Press.

Gore, J., Ludwig, J, (2003). Quality Teaching in NSW Public Schools: A Classroom Practice Guide. Retrieved from
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