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IGCSE Biology enables students to have a thorough understanding of the biological environment within which they live and to develop an educated passion for science and the study of living things.

The course’s main objective is to provide students with a firm foundation in biology’s core ideas and also pique their interest in the discipline. Additionally, this course attempts to create in young learners a sense of objectivity, honesty, curiosity, initiative, and creativity.

The IGCSE Biology curriculum covers foundational ideas and concepts, some contemporary biological applications, and a heavy focus on practical abilities

Characteristics and Classification of Living Organisms

Overview

Common traits of all living things include breathing, growing, and reproducing. There are many different types of living things on our planet, and they are categorized according to their similarities and differences. The traits that all living things share, the origins of organism taxonomy, and evolutionary trees are all covered in this section.

Difficulty level: 1/5
Main skill: Memorise all the characteristics and classifications. Utilise the characteristics to create a classification

Learning Objectives

This topic will cover the following lesson points based on the syllabus objectives:

  • learn about the seven characteristics of living organisms
  • find out how the binomial system is used to name organisms
  • practice using and constructing keys
  • describe how to classify vertebrates and anthropods
  • describe the features of the five kingdoms of organisms
  • describe how to classify ferns and flowering plants
  • outline the features of viruses

Subtopics Covered

  • Characteristics of living organisms
  • Concept and use of a classification system
  • Features of organisms
  • Dichotomous keys

Organization of the Organism

Overview

All organisms are made of cells. New cells are always made by the division of existing cells. In this topic, students will learn about the structure of plant and animal cells; the functions of the many cell components; how to use a microscope to examine cells; and how cells are arranged into tissues, organs, organ systems, and organisms.

Difficulty level: 1/5

Main skill: Learn all the characteristics and functions

Learning Objectives

This topic will cover the following lesson points based on the syllabus objectives:

  • identify cells and explain the function of organelles
  • define the roles of select instances of these and comprehend how cells are arranged into tissues, organs, and systems.
  • have precise drawing and labeling skills for diagrams.
  • operate working examples to apply microscopy calculations, and explain how to use a microscope.
  • practice using the magnification equation

Subtopics Covered

  • Cell structure and organisation
  • Levels of organisation
  • Size of specimens

Movement In and Out of Cells

Overview

This topic will explain how diffusion is caused by the haphazard movement of molecules and how osmosis is a particular kind of diffusion. How cells may cause substances to flow against their concentration gradient and the significance of diffusion and osmosis to cells.

Difficulty level: 2/5

Main skill: To understand the movement of water and other particles and identify the type of movement and result in practical situations

Learning Objectives

This topic will cover the following lesson points based on the syllabus objectives:

  • explain the osmosis, diffusion, and active transport processes.
  • learn about diffusion and its importance to organisms
  • investigate factors that affect the rate of diffusion
  • find out how osmosis is a special kind of diffusion, involving water
  • investigate osmosis, using dialysis tubing and plant tissues
  • learn about active transport and water potential
  • explain how osmosis affects plant cells and how active transport happens

Subtopics Covered

  • Diffusion
  • Osmosis
  • Active transport

Biological Molecules

Overview

The foundation of all living things are biomolecules. Biomolecules that support organisms’ metabolic processes and ensure their survival include carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids. In this topic, you will find out about the most important biomolecules’ structures and roles.

Difficulty level: 2/5

Main skill: Identify the structure and function of various biological molecules

Learning Objectives

This topic will cover the following lesson points based on the syllabus objectives:

  • recollect the components of proteins, lipids, and carbs.
  • specify the procedures for using the reagents to check for the presence of biological molecules.
  • describe how biological molecules function in living things.
  • describe the dna’s structure and how water serves as a solvent for living things

Subtopics Covered

  • Biological molecules
  • Chemical composition and monomers
  • Using reagents to test
  • DNA
  • Water as a solvent

Enzymes

Overview

This chapter describes how enzymes are important proteins that catalyze biochemical reactions in the cell. IGCSE Biology students should be familiar with how enzymes work and how they can be affected by factors such as temperature and pH. Students should also know that enzymes perform best within a certain temperature range and pH range, so it is important to understand how these factors can impact enzyme activity.

Difficulty level: 2/5

Main skill: Learn the lock and key model and functions of enzymes as well as factors that affect it

Learning Objectives

This topic will cover the following lesson points based on the syllabus objectives:

  • learn about enzymes and how they work as catalysts
  • examine how variations in temperature and ph affect the activity of enzymes

Subtopic(s) Covered

  • Enzyme action

Plant Nutrition

Overview

The internal structure of plants, including the many tissue types found in the roots, leaves, and stems, will be covered in this section. Additionally, the mechanisms behind photosynthesis and transpiration as well as the variables influencing their reactivity rates will be examined. The crucial mechanism of food transporting across plants, known as translocation, will next be discussed.

Learning Objectives

This topic will cover the following lesson points based on the syllabus objectives:

  • learn about photosynthesis and the equation for it
  • find out how plants use the carbohydrates made in photosynthesis
  • learn how the structure of a leaf is adapted for photosynthesis
  • investigate the need for chlorophyll, light and carbon dioxide in photosynthesis
  • investigate how light, carbon dioxide and temperature affect the rate of photosynthesis

Subtopics Covered

  • Photosynthesis
  • Leaf structure
  • Mineral requirements

Human Nutrition

Overview

In this topic, the students will look at the chemical elements that make up carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. They will also be asked to describe the synthesis of large molecules from smaller basic units.

Learning Objectives

This topic will cover the following lesson points based on the syllabus objectives:

  • learn about a balanced diet
  • find out about the structure and function of the digestive system
  • learn how and where physical and chemical digestion takes place
  • practice summarising information using an annotated drawing

Subtopics Covered

  • Diet
  • Alimentary canal
  • Mechanical digestion
  • Chemical digestion

Transport in Plants

Overview

The internal anatomy of plants, including the many kinds of tissues found in the roots, leaves, and stems, will be covered in this subject. Additionally, the mechanisms of photosynthesis and transpiration as well as the variables influencing their rates of response will be examined. The crucial mechanism of food transfer inside plants, known as translocation, will next be explained in this topic.

Learning Objectives

  • learn about the functions of xylem and phloem, and where they are found
  • describe the pathway taken by water as it moves through a plant
  • investigate the movement of water through stems and leaves
  • find out what transpiration is, why it happens, and conditions that affect its rate

Subtopics Covered

  • Transport in plants
  • Water uptake
  • Transpiration
  • Translocation

Transport in Animals

Overview

Animals can exchange and transfer chemicals thanks to various mechanisms in their bodies. The structure and function of red blood cells, as well as the organization and goal of the circulatory system, will all be covered in this topic.

Learning Objectives

This topic will cover the following lesson points based on the syllabus objectives:

  • find out about the human circulatory system
  • learn about the structure and function of the heart
  • think about factors that increase the risk of developing heart disease
  • investigate how exercise affects the heart rate
  • compare the structure and function of arteries, veins, and capillaries
  • find out about the components of blood and what they do

Subtopics Covered

  • Circulatory systems
  • The heart
  • Blood vessels
  • Blood
  • Lymph and tissue fluids

Diseases and Immunity

Overview

Although they are small, pathogens may cause a wide range of illnesses in both plants and animals. The description of pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protists, will be covered in this unit. Examining mechanical defenses, the immune system, and active and passive immunity can help us better understand how the human body protects itself. It will also be discussed how monoclonal antibodies are created and employed. A few plant disease instances will be shown, along with information on how to recognize them.

Learning Objectives

This topic will cover the following lesson points based on the syllabus objectives:

  • find out how pathogens are transmitted from one host to another
  • learn how the body defends itself against pathogens
  • explain what immunity is, and how it is produced naturally and through vaccination

Subtopics Covered

  • Pathogens and transmission
  • Defences against diseases

Respiration and Gas Exchange in Humans

Overview

The characteristics of human gas exchange surfaces, the organization and operation of the gas exchange system, the changes in composition between inspired and expired air, and the impacts of physical exercise on breathing rate and depth will be covered in this topic.

Learning Objectives

This topic will cover the following lesson points based on the syllabus objectives:

  • find out how the body uses energy, and how aerobic and anaerobic respiration supply this energy
  • learn the equations for aerobic and anaerobic respiration
  • describe how gas exchange happens in the lungs and the features of gas exchange surfaces
  • investigate the difference in composition between inspired and expired air

Subtopic(s) Covered

  • Gas exchange in humans

Excretion in Humans

Overview

This topic will assist students in comprehending the body’s excretory products, how the kidneys excrete urea, why the volume and concentration of urine change from day to day, how urea is created, how the kidneys make urine, and dialysis therapy for kidney failure.

Learning Objectives

This topic will cover the following lesson points based on the syllabus objectives:

  • learn about the main excretory products of humans and where they are lost from the body
  • describe homeostasis
  • find out how the kidneys excrete urea and other waste substances
  • explain how negative feedback is involved in the maintenance of constant blood glucose concentration and body temperature

Subtopic(s) Covered

  • Excretion

Coordination and Response

Overview

Finding the perfect balance is often said to be the key to happiness in life; this is also true for living things. The control mechanism that maintains our bodies operating at their peak efficiency, known as homeostasis, will be discussed in this topic. In addition, the anatomy and operation of the eye and the nervous system will be shown. Plants also create hormones, just as people do. The control and coordination of plants will also be covered.

Learning Objectives

This topic will cover the following lesson points based on the syllabus objectives:

  • learn about the human nervous system
  • find out how different types of neurone are involved in reflex actions
  • learn about the structure of the eye, as an example of a sense organ
  • find out about hormones, and compare nervous and hormonal control in humans
  • learn about tropic responses in plants
  • describe how nerve impulses cross a synapse
  • explain how the eye focuses light

Subtopics Covered

  • Nervous control in humans
  • Sense organs
  • Hormones in humans
  • Homeostasis
  • Tropic responses

Drugs

Overview

Pain relief medications help relieve the symptoms of arthritis, back pain, and other conditions. Antibiotics, pain relief, and the stages involved in drug discovery will be discussed in this topic.

Learning Objectives

This topic will cover the following lesson points based on the syllabus objectives:

  • Define a drug as any substance taken into the body that modifies or affects chemical reactions in the body
  • Explain why antibiotics kill bacteria but do not affect viruses
  • Explain how heroin affects the nervous system, limited to its effect on the function of synapses
  • Describe the effects on the gas exchange system of tobacco smoke and its major toxic components, limited to carbon monoxide, nicotine and tar

Subtopics Covered

  • Drugs
  • Medicinal drugs
  • Misused drugs

Reproduction

Overview

The human body reproduces and gives birth to children, as all other animals do. Because of the reproductive system, this is conceivable. This topic covers puberty, the menstrual cycle, and the phases of pregnancy development, in addition to the construction and operation of the male and female reproductive systems. The many contraceptive options now on the market will also be examined. Infertility will be described and its causes and solutions, including in vitro fertilization, will be discussed (IVF). Plants also create hormones, just like people do. The coordination and control of plants will also be covered in this topic.

Learning Objectives

This topic will cover the following lesson points based on the syllabus objectives:

  • learn about the differences between asexual and sexual reproduction
  • find out how flowers are involved in sexual reproduction
  • investigate seed germination
  • learn about self- and cross-pollination and their potential effects on a population

Subtopics Covered

  • Asexual reproduction
  • Sexual reproduction
  • Sexual reproduction in plants
  • Sexual reproduction in humans
  • Sex hormones in humans
  • Methods of birth control in humans
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Organisms and their Environment

Overview

Understanding how organisms interact with their environment is essential if we are to save our world from the consequences of climate change. This topic explains the structure of ecosystems, the value of biodiversity, and how ecosystems move energy. The key components of how human activities affect ecosystems will then be evaluated, along with strategies for preserving biodiversity and food security.

Learning Objectives

This topic will cover the following lesson points based on the syllabus objectives:

  • explain how energy is transferred through food webs and back to their environment
  • practice using pyramids of number and biomass
  • describe nutrient cycles in ecosystems
  • use graphs and diagrams to describe and explain population growth

Subtopics Covered

  • Energy flow
  • Food chains and food webs
  • Nutrient cycles
  • Population size

Variation and Selection

Overview

Variation and evolution will be covered in this topic. Selective breeding and genetic engineering are then covered in further detail, along with illustrations of their present applications. The classification of creatures and the idea of evolutionary trees are finally discussed.

Learning Objectives

This topic will cover the following lesson points based on the syllabus objectives:

  • find out about discontinuous and continuous variation and what causes them
  • identify and describe adaptive features of different species
  • think about how selection can cause changes in the features of a species

Subtopics Covered

  • Variation
  • Adaptive features
  • Selection

Inheritance

Overview

We will study the fundamentals of genetics, including the distinctions between DNA, RNA, genes, and chromosomes, in this topic. We will also examine cellular protein production and its relationship to our genetic code. The following subtopics will be discussed: monohybrid inheritance, monohybrid cross, co-dominance, polygenetic inheritance, sex-linked features, and sex determination in humans. Finally, we shall describe what embryo screening is and its purpose.

Learning Objectives

This topic will cover the following lesson points based on the syllabus objectives:

  • learn about the structure and function of the male and female reproductive systems
  • consider how sperm and eggs are adapted for their functions
  • find out how hormones are involved in reproduction
  • study HIV as an example of a sexually transmitted infection

Subtopics Covered

  • Inheritance
  • Chromosomes, genes, and proteins
  • Mitosis
  • Meiosis
  • Monohybrid inheritance

Human Influences on Ecosystems

Overview

Understanding how organisms interact with their environment is essential if we are to save our world from the consequences of climate change. This topic explains the structure of ecosystems, the value of biodiversity, and how ecosystems move energy. The key components of how human activities affect ecosystems will then be evaluated, along with strategies for preserving biodiversity and food security.

Learning Objectives

This topic will cover the following lesson points based on the syllabus objectives:

  • consider how humans have increased food production, and how this can affect the environment
  • think about why habitats have been destroyed, including deforestation
  • learn about some examples of pollution and its effects, including climate change
  • discuss reasons for conservation, and some of the things that we can do to conserve species, habitats, and ecosystems

Subtopics Covered

  • Food supply
  • Habitat destruction
  • Pollution
  • Conservation

Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering

Overview

The fundamentals of genetics, such as the distinctions between DNA, RNA, genes, and chromosomes, will be covered in this topic. We’ll also examine protein production at the cellular level and how it’s related to our genetic code. Sex-related traits, monohybrid crosses, co-dominance, polygenetic inheritance, and sex determination in humans will all be covered. Finally, we shall define embryo screening and describe its applications.

Learning Objectives

This topic will cover the following lesson points based on the syllabus objectives:

  • find out how we can use microorganisms and enzymes to make useful products
  • learn about some examples of genetic modification
  • explain how genetic modification is done
  • discuss the advantages and disadvantages of genetic modification of crop plants

Subtopics Covered

  • Biotechnology and genetic engineering
  • Biotechnology
  • Genetic engineering

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