Biology is the study of the fascinating diversity of life as it has evolved and as it interacts and functions. Investigation of biological systems and their interactions, from cellular processes to ecosystem dynamics, has led to biological knowledge and understanding that enable us to explore and explain everyday observations, find solutions to biological issues, and understand the processes of biological continuity and change over time.
Living systems are all interconnected and interact at a variety of spatial and temporal scales, from the molecular level to the ecosystem level. Investigation of living systems involves classification of key components within the system, and analysis of how those components interact, particularly with regard to the movement of matter and the transfer and transformation of energy within and between systems. Analysis of the ways living systems change over time involves understanding of the factors that impact the system, and investigation of system mechanisms to respond to internal and external changes and ensure continuity of the system. The theory of evolution by natural selection is critical to explaining these patterns and processes in biology, and underpins the study of all living systems.
Australian, regional and global communities rely on the biological sciences to understand, address and successfully manage environmental, health and sustainability challenges facing society in the twenty-first century. These include the biosecurity and resilience of ecosystems, the health and wellbeing of humans and other organisms and their populations, and the sustainability of biological resources. Students use their understanding of the interconnectedness of biological systems when evaluating both the impact of human activity and the strategies proposed to address major biological challenges now and in the future in local, national and global contexts.
This subject explores ways in which scientists work collaboratively and individually in a range of integrated fields to increase understanding of an ever-expanding body of biological knowledge. Students develop their investigative, analytical and communication skills through field, laboratory and research investigations of living systems and through critical evaluation of the development, ethics, applications and influences of contemporary biological knowledge in a range of contexts.
Studying Senior Secondary Science provides students with a suite of skills and understandings that are valuable to a wide range of further study pathways and careers. Understanding of biological concepts, as well as general science knowledge and skills, is relevant to a range of careers, including those in medical, veterinary, food and marine sciences, agriculture, biotechnology, environmental rehabilitation, biosecurity, quarantine, conservation and eco-tourism. This subject will also provide a foundation for students to critically consider and to make informed decisions about contemporary biological issues in their everyday lives.
Biology aims to develop students’:
- sense of wonder and curiosity about life and respect for all living things and the environment
- understanding of how biological systems interact and are interrelated; the flow of matter and energy through and between these systems; and the processes by which they persist and change
- understanding of major biological concepts, theories and models related to biological systems at all scales, from subcellular processes to ecosystem dynamics
- appreciation of how biological knowledge has developed over time and continues to develop; how scientists use biology in a wide range of applications; and how biological knowledge influences society in local, regional and global contexts
- ability to plan and carry out fieldwork, laboratory and other research investigations including the collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data and the interpretation of evidence
- ability to use sound, evidence-based arguments creatively and analytically when evaluating claims and applying biological knowledge
- ability to communicate biological understanding, findings, arguments and conclusions using appropriate representations, modes and genres.