Category Archives: General

VCE Biology 2015


  Welcome to VCE Biology for 2015! Biology is the study of all living organisms and life itself. So, what do all living organisms have in common?

  1. Living organisms are composed of cells and the products of cells
  2. Living organisms (usually) require oxygen and nutrients (inputs)
  3. Living organisms produce wastes (outputs)
  4. Living organisms respond to stimuli
  5. Living organisms reproduce


Unit 1: Area of Study 1: Cells in Action (Year 11)

In our first week of Year 11 Biology we will be looking at size and scale, using light microscopes and viewing plant and animal cells. Check out these websites:

Unit 3: Area of Study 1: Molecules of Life  (Year 12)

In our first week of Year 12 Biology we the chemical nature of cells. All living matter is made up primarily of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphoros, sulfur and nitrogen (CHOPSN). These elements are combined into compounds, with the four classes of biological macromolecules being carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids. Which are which in the diagram below?



Fireworks celebration

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Well done on completing your mid-year Biology exam. It was a real test of everyone’s knowledge and understanding of Unit 1: Cells and Functioning Organisms. The degree of difficulty is an indication of the Unit 3 and 4 course, so you will need to continue to work hard to do well. Please complete the student survey by clicking on the Survey tab at the top of this page. The purpose of this survey is to assist me to improve my teaching and your learning.

I have given those students who did not sit the GAT a list of words from the end of each chapter in Unit 2. Each student is required to create a worksheet to distribute to the whole class to assist each of us to understand these words. You could use a crossword, word search with definitions, ‘fill-the-gaps’, concept map or flashcards. Try Puzzlemaker, Tools for Educators, Wordsearch Generator or FlashcardsDB.

Chapter 9 – Melissa

Chapter 10 – Stephanie

Chapter 11 – Chloe

Chapter 12 – Monique

Chapter 13 – Tara

Chapter 14 – Emily

Chapter 15 – Charlotte

Chapter 16 – Catherine

Chris and James, your job will be to read Chapter 9 and prepare a unit of work to teach the class. Each pair of students will be required to do this for one chapter. You will still be required to answer all the chapter review questions and this is a good place to start to ensure you have a full understanding of the concepts. Have a great long weekend and see you Tuesday!

Classification of Living Organisms

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We are all relatively familiar with the five classes of vertebrates (mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and amphibians), but less familiar with species that account for about 97% of all known animal species – the invertebrates – or animals without backbones. The arthropods (including all insects, spiders and crustaceans) probably outnumber all other animals on earth, yet most of them are very small and easily overlooked. Invertebrates are found in every conceivable type of habitat, but they are most plentiful in the oceans, which is where animal life first arose. This week we will look at how living organisms are classified, some of the characteristics used in taxonomy and how different groups are related according to their evolution.

We often hear how many species are becoming extinct each year – less often we hear about the new species that have been discovered. In 2007, over 18,000 new species were described. This year a naturally decaffeinated coffee plant, a tiny seahorse and bacteria that thrive in hair spray have been discovered. Article from Scientific American, “Top 10 new Species“,  here.

I will be away at the school cross country on Tuesday, 26th May, so you are asked to complete Activity 8.1 in your practical manuals – “A key to sorting snakes”, about using a dichotomous key to extract information and identify various species. Please leave me a comment on this post to let me know how you went and waht you learnt.

A simple introduction to Classification from

Excellent site for Classification of Animals including characterisitics of each of the Phyla, images and links.

Go to ARKive for a growing collection of information, images and videos about all our magnificent organisms on earth. There is a collection of education resources, which includes downloads for different age groups. We will be looking at the ARKive Classification Resource in class on Wednesday, 27th May.

A more in-depth introductionabout the Linnaen Binomial System of Nomenclature and Principles of Taxonomy. 

Identify eight marine creatures from Chesapeake Bay, near Baltimore, USA using a dichotomous key.

Table of the Five kingdoms.

Excellent Glossary of terms.

Flashcards for Introduction and taxonomy.

Excellent interactive “Essential Study Guide” from McGraw Hill

The science of tea-bags!

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I learnt something new yesterday – Mr Foreman and I were talking about why some people prefer leaf tea to tea bags. Apparently tea bags have salt in them! Remembering some basic biological principles from the beginning of term 1, what could be a reason that manufacturers add small amounts of salt to tea bags? Leave a comment with your thoughts in the comments section above.