Burnside High School Burnside High School

NCEA Level 3 Biology

Course Description

Teacher in Charge: Mr M. Easterbrook.

Recommended Prior Learning

At least 11 Credits from Level 2 Biology including 4 credits from the external standards OR with HOD permission.

Why study Biology?

  • 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 and many more.
  • It 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 we make on ecosystems in a NZ context.
  • It is at the cutting edge of scientific endeavour. By building on from the fundamental concepts of genetics and cell physiology learnt in Level 2 Biologystudents can go on to understand more complex ideas in genetic engineering, human physiology, animal behaviour and plant responses and evolution in Level 3 Biology and beyond.

What does the course offer?

  • A selection of topics that offer something for every student, from Health Sciences to Anthropology to studies in Genetics and Psychology. All of which cover fascinating content material.
  • Guest speakers who are specialists in their field of study.
  • A Field trip to Orana Park to investigate species relationships, animal behaviour and human evolution.
  • Development of thinking skills, evidence gathering and interpretation, analysis, making scientific inferences, scientific report writing and other important skills.

Course Overview

Term 1
Biological Investigation: Human Blood Pressure Control.
The study of homeostasis - how our bodies maintain a constant internal environment even when conditions change. A particular focus on blood sugar control, thermoregulation and blood pressure. Students will develop skills in laboratory work, scientific investigation and report writing.
Work in this topic is particularly useful for any student undertaking any of the Health Sciences at Tertiary level.

Term 2
Human Evolution:
The study behind the how and why our species evolved. It includes brand new Science not previously covered in any course as well as the study of other Primates and other early Human species. Students will develop skills in learning Biology content.

Genetic Manipulation:
The study of how and why humans have manipulated the genetics of other species. From Selected Breeding to Genetic Engineering to the new technologies of CRISPR. Students will develop skills in researching and report writing.

Term 3
Animal Behaviour and Plant Responses:
The study of how plants and animals respond to their environment. Students will develop skills in learning Biology content and laboratory work.

Term 4
Finish content and practice for external examinations.

Learning Areas:


Career Pathways

Registered Nurse, Pathologist, Zoologist, Marine Biologist, Biotechnologist, Science Technician, Psychologist, Oral Health Therapist, Dentist, Dietitian, General Practitioner, Human Resources Adviser, Environmental/Public Health Officer, Food Technologist, Health Promoter, Health Services Manager, Health Care Assistant, Veterinarian, Medical Laboratory Technician, Physiotherapist

Contributions and Equipment/Stationery

Workbook cost - approx. $30. Field Trips cost - approx. $15