Burnside High School Burnside High School

NCEA Level 2 Biology

Course Description

Teacher in Charge: Mr M. Easterbrook.

Recommended Prior Learning

12 credits from Level 1 Science including AS 90948 (Understanding of Genetic Variation) or with HOD permission

Why study Biology?

The study of Biology in the junior school included the topics Sports Science, It's in the Genes, It's Alive!, Food Analysts, In Focus and in Year 11 Genetics and Bacteria. 

Level 2 Biology extends this learning, particularly Genetics and:

  • The course has been designed to offer something for everyone, from those interested in Health Sciences to Environmental Science to Genetic Studies. 
  • Biology helps us understand the big picture in the Living World. It develops awareness of the significance of New Zealand's unique plants and animals. 
  • It can open up career opportunities such as medicine, physiotherapy, dentistry, pharmacy, sport science, marine biology, radiography, forensics, genetic engineering, biochemistry, nursing, veterinary science, optometry, environmental science and many more.
  • Biology is at the heart of many social, economic and environmental issues. Students learn to make informed decisions about significant issues like genetic engineering, antibiotic resistance in bacteria, and recognise the importance of agriculture and horticulture in NZ. Also, the impact that humans have on living systems in a NZ context.
  • Biology is at the cutting edge of scientific endeavour. By investigating the fundamental concepts of genetics, mutation and cell physiology students can go on to understand more complex ideas in Level 3 Biology and beyond.

What does the course offer?

  • Hands on experiences with laboratory work, dissections and use of models/analogies.
  • A field trip to gain valuable insights from Scientists working in current research fields.
  • Fascinating content material. 
  • Development of thinking skills, evidence gathering and interpretation, analysis, making scientific inferences, writing scientific reports and other important skills.
  • Pre-requisite knowledge and skills needed for Level 3 Biology and beyond.

Course Overview

Term 1
Animal Adaptations: Animal Structure and Physiology
The study of the fundamental life processes of Respiration and Gas Exchange in Humans, Fish and Insects. Students will develop skills in dissection, laboratory work and biological drawings.

Predator Free NZ: Ecology and Environmental Science
The study of Aotearoa's unique and special species and what Science and other groups are doing to protect them. Students will develop skills in researching and report writing.

Term 2
Gene Expression: Molecular Cell Biology
The study of how our cells make proteins from DNA to blood and bone. Also, the effect of mutation and the environment on the expression of genes. Students will develop skills in learning Biology content.

Biological Investigation: Human Cell Enzyme Function
The study of how enzymes function in our bodies and the factors that affect them. Students will develop skills in laboratory work and the scientific method.

Term 3
Genetic Variation: Patterns of Inheritance and Evolution
The study of where our genetic variation comes from, how it is passed on to new generations and why variation is important in the survival of species. Students will continue to develop skills in learning Biology content.

Term 4
Finish content and practise for external examination.

Learning Areas:



NCEA Level 3 Biology

Career Pathways

Pathologist, Zoologist, Marine Biologist, Biotechnologist, Clinical Physiologist, Physician, Science Technician, Podiatrist, Medical Laboratory Scientist, General Practitioner, Gynaecologist/Obstetrician, Psychiatrist, Food Technologist

Contributions and Equipment/Stationery

Cost for field trip - approx. $10. Workbook purchase - approx $25