I am really excited to be at Hamilton College, all the children and teachers have made me feel welcome and I really enjoy my time at the school.

Kieran Macfarlane
J7 2012

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Biology

Biology - the science of life itself! The department remains one of the most popular especially for those who want to study in the areas of medicine, dentistry or veterinary medicine at University. Areas covered include ecology, agriculture, human anatomy and physiology, biotechnology (cheese, wine and yoghurt production) as well as trying to answer some of the questions related to why we are the way we are (inheritance). 

Two garden areas are maintained by pupils, within the school grounds which actively support our Gold status as a health promoting school, and our achievement of receiving the Eco-Schools Scotland green flag.

In S1 and S2 we aim to capture the natural enthusiasm of pupils at this stage.  At National 4/5  level a range of teaching approaches ensures that pupils achieve to the best of their ability and enjoy the subject.  Success at Intermediate 2 level qualifies the student to enter Higher Human Biology or college work and is regarded as being a good basis for further studies which require a knowledge of Biology.  Advanced Higher Biology is also offered.

S1

Units Taught
In S1 we study three units with the aim of capturing the natural enthusiasm of pupils at this age.   The units are based on the experiences and outcomes from Curriculum for Excellence.  The first of these covers "The Building Blocks of Life, Bodyworks and Energy for Life".

METHODOLOGY
Throughout the course pupils have the opportunity to take part in practical work both individually and in a variety of group sizes.  All pupils are encouraged to develop their knowledge and understanding, problem solving and investigative skills in this course using a wide variety of resources including netbooks.

Pupil notes:  Pupils make notes in a prepared booklet that is provided by the department at the start of the session.  They are also issued with a Science textbook for use throughout their time in S1.

HOMEWORK
Homework is used throughout the course to complement and reinforce the pupils' experience of the work covered.  In addition, regular revision is expected throughout the session.

ASSESSMENTS
Pupils are assessed throughout this course using classwork, homework and unit tests to monitor their progress. 

S2

Units Taught
In S2 we cover a variety content including: Biotechnology, world of plants and biodiversity.

METHODOLOGY
The classes will be mixed ability and within the class pupils will have an opportunity of working on their own and in groups.  A range of teaching approaches ensures that pupils achieve to the best of their ability and enjoy the subject.  The department uses prepared notes and textbooks,  DVD's and computer graphics to present the S2 course.

Pupil Notes: Pupils make notes in prepared booklets that are provided by the department.  Notes will be regularly checked by the class teacher.

HOMEWORK
Homework will include completing notes begun in class and answering questions on the current topic.  Homework exercises will also be issued at certain points during the course.  Regular revision is expected throughout the session.  Approximately 1-2 hours of homework per week can be expected.

ASSESSMENTS
Class tests will be given at the end of section of work with at least one week's notice.  All tests/examinations will assess achievement of knowledge and understanding and problem solving skills and the results will be used in pupil reports.

National 4/5 Biology

Content Covered
In S3/4 our course covers the National 4 and 5 coursework. The units covered in this course are:- Cell Biology, Multicellular Organisms and Life on Earth.

Skills
The course assessment will assess scientific inquiry skills, analytical thinking skills and the impact of applications on society and the environment.

It will give learners an opportunity to demonstrate the following skills, knowledge and understanding by:

  • demonstrating knowledge and understanding of biology by making statements, describing information, providing explanations and integrating knowledge
  • applying knowledge of biology to new situations, interpreting information and solving problems
  • planning or designing experiments/investigations to test given hypotheses or to illustrate particular effects, applying safety measures.
  • carrying out experimental procedures safely, recording observations and collecting data
  • selecting and presenting information appropriately in a variety of forms
  • processing information (using calculations and units, where appropriate)
  • making predictions and generalisations based on evidence/information
  • drawing valid conclusions and giving explanations supported by evidence/justification
  • identifying a source of error and suggesting improvements to experiments
  • communicating findings/information.


The course Assignment will give learners the opportunity to:-

  • select an appropriate biology topic within the set guidelines provided by SQA
  • investigate/research the topic, focusing on applications and impact on society/the environment
  • process the information/data collected

ASSESSMENTS (Internal and External)
Internal assessments will be given at the end of each section of work, end of each unit and in a prelim exam. Pupils will also be assessed on a practical investigation and writing of a scientific report.

Intermediate 2 Biology

The Intermediate 2 Biology course provides an obvious route to Higher Human Biology but contributes to general education in a unique way giving insights to our environment, to the basic necessity for energy, the principles of genetics, evolution, maintaining the balance of the body’s chemistry, and Animal Physiology. It is also suitable for those wishing to study Biology for the first time. 

COURSE OUTLINE
Three Units are covered by the syllabus, set practicals are incorporated and skills in essay writing are developed. Unit 1 -Living Cells covers cell structure and function, diffusion and osmosis in plant and animal cells, enzyme action, aerobic and anaerobic respiration and photosynthesis. Unit 2 -Environmental Biology and Genetics covers ecosystems and factors affecting variety of species in an ecosystem Unit 3 -Animal Physiology covers mammalian nutrition, control of the internal environment, circulation and gas exchange, sensory mechanisms and processing of information. 

METHODOLOGY
Course will utilise a range of teaching strategies, pupil notes, textbooks, DVD’s, computer packages/ websites and the Scholar programme. The pupils will be expected to make full use of the textbooks provided and will be encouraged to visit library resources and appropriate websites on a regular basis. 

HOMEWORK
Homework will consist of completing notes begun in class, answering questions on the current unit, essay writing, writing summaries and revising for unit tests and examinations. Homework will be issued by the teacher as appropriate to the pupil’s position in the unit and is expected to take up to approximately 2 hours per week. 

ASSESSMENT
To gain the award of this course, the pupil must achieve a pass in all component units of this course as well as the external assessment, which will provide the basis for grading the attainment in the course award. Pupils will have to write one report of an experimental activity per unit which will be internally assessed. Pupils will also sit a prelim. The SQA external assessment will take place in May /June.

Human Higher Biology

The Higher Human Biology course is constructed to articulate smoothly with the National 5 course at which pupils should have achieved a pass. It provides an obvious route to tertiary education but also contributes very positively to general biology education.

COURSE OUTLINE
The course is made up of three 40 hour Units and as with all courses includes a further 40 hours to be used at the discretion of the school, for consolidation and preparation.

Cell function and Inheritance (H) covers the role of enzymes in cell metabolism, protein synthesis, energy transfer, cell transport, cellular response in defence and inheritance.

The Continuation of Life (H) covers reproduction, transport mechanisms, delivery of materials to cells, removal of materials from the blood and regulating mechanisms.

Behaviour, Populations and the environment (H) covers the nervous system and memory, behaviour, and population growth and the environment.

METHODOLOGY
Course will utilise a range of teaching strategies, pupil notes, textbooks, DVD’s, computer packages/ websites and the Scholar programme. The pupils will be expected to make full use of the textbooks provided and will be encouraged to visit library resources and appropriate websites on a regular basis. 

HOMEWORK
Homework will consist of completing notes begun in class, answering questions on the current unit and for revision, writing summaries, practise in essay writing and revising for unit tests and examinations. Homework will be issued by the teacher as appropriate to the pupil’s position in the unit and is expected to take up to approximately 3 hours per week but more time will be needed when examinations are closer, for revision and background reading.

ASSESSMENT
To gain the award of this course, the pupil must achieve a pass in all component units of this course as well as the external assessment, which will provide the basis for grading the attainment in the course award. Pupils will have to write one report of an experimental activity per unit which will be internally assessed. Pupils will also sit a prelim. The SQA external assessment will take place in May /June.

CAREER
Higher Human Biology often suits a candidate who does not require a broader knowledge of the subject.  Those hoping to study and enter professions complementary to medicine such as radiology, physiotherapy, social work, psychology and dentistry find that this course is ideally suited to their needs.  HNC, HND or degree level studies in biological sciences and medicine, nursing, physiotherapy, dietetics, radiography and chiropody are among some of the courses open to successful pupils.

Advanced Higher Biology

The study of biology at any level offers the opportunity not only to extend knowledge in particular spheres of human activity but also to link that knowledge to issues which affect both the individual and society in general. The syllabus at AH, while extending the background knowledge attained at Higher, will also contribute to the development of more general attitudes and abilities related to the processes of science. The ability of the candidate to think creatively and to take the initiative in problem solving situations has proved invaluable to the prospective undergraduate in any discipline.

COURSE OUTLINE
The course comprises two mandatory 40-hour units and one optional 20-hour unit with a 20-hour investigation unit. Unit one covers Cell and Molecular Biology, Unit two covers Environmental Biology.  Unit 3 is chosen from a) Biotechnology, b) Animal Behaviour, and c) Physiology and Exercise. This unit will be chosen by the school.

METHODOLOGY
The ethos of this course is to encourage adult, thoughtful behaviour and a scientific way of approach to varied situations. Investigations are attempted as individuals.  These enable candidates to develop their powers of analytical thought, their capacity to perceive and then to solve problems, to communicate facts and ideas and to function both independently and as a member of a team. 

Access to the Internet, especially the ‘Scholar’ website of Heriot Watt University, will increasingly be encouraged as a source for additional material.

HOMEWORK
Formal homework exercises will be issued, but students will be expected to take responsibility for planning their own learning, revision and completion of course work by predetermined deadlines.

It is assumed at this level that each candidate will be involved in a thorough schedule of background reading and awareness in the broadest terms of current areas of research.  Essays will be required regularly and a good knowledge of past papers is considered important.

ASSESSMENT
The SQA award will be made on a scale of A to D and will be determined on the basis of one written paper, the practical work and the investigation.  The written paper will contain structured and essay questions which will test knowledge and understanding, problem solving and practical abilities.  The paper will carry 80% of the total marks.  The final project will be worth 20% of the total marks and will be externally assessed.  Ten hours of the additional 40 hours will be required for the candidate to complete the investigation report for the course award.