NCEA Level 3 Biology

Course Description

Teacher in Charge: Mr M. Easterbrook

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 Biology, students 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.

Contributions and Equipment/Stationery

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

Recommended Prior Learning

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

Credit Information

This course is eligible for subject endorsement.

This course is approved for University Entrance.

Internal or
L1 Literacy Credits UE Literacy Credits Numeracy Credits
A.S. 91601 v2 Biology 3.1 - Carry out a practical investigation in a biological context, with guidance
A.S. 91603 v3 Biology 3.3 - Demonstrate understanding of the responses of plants and animals to their external environment
5r,5w *
A.S. 91604 v2 Biology 3.4 - Demonstrate understanding of how an animal maintains a stable internal environment
3r *
A.S. 91606 v2 Biology 3.6 - Demonstrate understanding of trends in human evolution
4r,4w *
A.S. 91607 v2 Biology 3.7 - Demonstrate understanding of human manipulations of genetic transfer and its biological implications
3r *
Total Credits
Approved subject for University Entrance

Number of credits that can be used for overall endorsement: 19

* Only students engaged in learning and achievement derived from Te Marautanga o Aotearoa are eligible to be awarded these subjects as part of the requirement for 14 credits in each of three subjects.

Total Credits Available: 19 credits.
Externally Assessed Credits: 9 credits.
Internally Assessed Credits: 10 credits.