Course Outline


Cambridge IGCSE Biology Syllabus at GEMS Wesgreen International Secondary School aims to enables learners to:

increase their understanding of the technological world,  take an informed interest in scientific matters, recognize the usefulness and limitations of scientific method, and how to apply this to other disciplines and in everyday life, develop relevant attitudes, such as a concern for accuracy and precision, objectivity, integrity, enquiry, initiative and inventiveness, develop an interest in, and care for, the environment, better understand the influence and limitations placed on scientific study by society, economy, technology, ethics, the community and the environment and develop an understanding of the scientific skills essential for both further study and everyday life.

Learning Outcomes

The aims of all subjects state what a teacher may expect to teach and what a student may expect to experience and learn. These aims suggest how the student may be changed by the learning experience.

The aims of the Science Syllabus are to encourage and enable students to:

  • Develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics.
  • Develop understanding of nature, processes and methods of science through different type of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them.
  • Are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.

Ongoing Objectives

  • Throughout each unit, the students are given the opportunity to build on the objectives below:
  • provide an enjoyable and worthwhile educational experience for all learners, whether or not they go on to study science beyond this level
  • enable learners to acquire sufficient knowledge and understanding to:
  • become confident citizens in a technological world and develop an informed interest in scientific matters
  • be suitably prepared for studies beyond Cambridge IGCSE
  • allow learners to recognize that science is evidence-based and understand the usefulness, and the limitations, of scientific method
  • develop skills that:
  • are relevant to the study and practice of biology
  • are useful in everyday life
  • encourage a systematic approach to problem-solving
  • encourage efficient and safe practice
  • encourage effective communication through the language of science
  • develop attitudes relevant to biology such as:
  • concern for accuracy and precision
  • objectivity
  • integrity
  • enquiry
  • initiative

Term 1

Approximate length: 12weeks

For blended learning we will provide video links, live demonstrations of practical investigation as well as access to the relevant worksheets and resources that all students will need.

1. Characteristics and classification of living organisms
In this unit we will find out about the characteristics of living things, naming living things using the binomial system, how living organisms are classified and how to use dichotomous keys to identify organisms.
1.1 Characteristics of living organisms
1.2 Concept and use of a classification system
1.3 Features of organisms
1.4 Dichotomous keys

2. Organization of the organism
This unit will find out about the structure of plant cells and animal cells, the functions of the different parts of cells, how to look at cells using a microscope and how cells are organized into tissues, organs, organ systems and organisms.
2.1 Cell structure and organization
2.2 Levels of organization
2.3 Size of specimens

3. Movement in and out of cells
In this unit, we will find out how the random movement of molecules causes diffusion, that osmosis is a special kind of diffusion. Why diffusion and osmosis are important to cells and how cells can make substances move against their concentration gradient.
3.1 Diffusion
3.2 Osmosis
3.3 Active transport

Specific National Curriculum Objectives Covered:
• Explain the importance of enzymes and how they function and how denaturation can occur.

4. Biological molecules
This unit will help us to understand: what carbohydrates, lipids and proteins are made of, and their properties, the roles of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins in living organisms, how to test for the presence of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins, the structure of DNA and why water is so important to living organisms.

4.1 Biological molecules
4.1. Chemical composition and monomers
4.1 Using reagents to test
4.1 DNA
4.1 Water as a solvent

5. Enzymes
This unit discusses about enzymes and what they do, how and why enzymes are affected by temperature and pH, and how to investigate the effects of temperature and pH on enzyme activity.

5.1 Enzymes

• Recall characteristic’s of living organisms.
• Describe how and why we use classification systems.
• Recall the different kingdoms and how organisms are placed and named using the binomial system.
• Construct dichotomous keys and use these.

Organization of the organism:
• To be able to label cells and describe the role of the organelles
• To understand how cells are organized into tissues, organs and systems and describe the functions of some examples of these.
• Be able to draw and label diagrams accurately
• Apply microscopy calculations to worked examples and describe how microscopes are used

Movement in and out of cells
• Be able to describe the processes of diffusion, osmosis and active transport
• Explain the factors that affect the rate of diffusion, osmosis and active transport and apply these to examples.
• Describe how transport systems are adapted to ensure that substances can move into and out of cells efficiently.

Biological molecules
• To recall the elements that make up carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
• Describe how to use reagents to test for the presence of biological molecules.
• Explain the role of biological molecules in living organisms.
• Describe the structure of DNA.
• Describe the role of water as a solvent in organisms.

• Describe the function and mode of action of enzymes.
• Investigate the effect of changes in pH and temperature on enzyme activity.

Term 2

Programme of Study 

Term 3

Approximate length: 12 weeks

For blended learning we will provide video links, live demonstrations of practical investigation as well as access to the relevant worksheets and resources that all students will need.

9. Transport in animals
This chapter will cover double and single circulatory systems, the structure and functions of heart, how exercise affects the heart, coronary heart disease, blood vessels, what blood contains, and its functions in the body, the lymphatic system.
9.1 Circulatory systems
9.2 The heart
9.3 Blood vessels
9.4 Blood
9.5 Lymph and tissue fluids

10. Pathogens and immunity
This chapter will cover pathogens and transmissible diseases, how pathogens are transmitted, body defenses against pathogens, the immune system
10.1 Pathogens
10.2 Body defenses
10.3 The immune system

11. Gas exchange in human
This chapter will cover:
the features of gas exchange surfaces in humans, the structure and function of the gas exchange system, differences in composition between inspired and expired air and the effects of physical activity on rate and depth of breathing.
11.1 Gas exchange in humans

12. Respiration
Why organisms need energy, aerobic and anaerobic respiration and the gas exchange in humans.
12.1 Respiration
12.2 Aerobic respiration
12.3 Anaerobic respiration

13. Excretion in humans
This chapter will support learners to understand: the excretory products that are formed in the body, how kidneys excrete urea, why the volume and concentration of urine varies from day to day, how urea is produced, how the kidneys produce urine and dialysis treatment for kidney failure.
13.1 Excretion in humans

Specific National Curriculum Objectives Covered:

Transport in animals
• Understand the double and single circulatory system.
• Describe the function of the heart and how exercise affects the heart.
• The role of the blood vessels and lymphatic system.
• Describe coronary heart disease.

Pathogens and immunity
• Describe the types of pathogens and the how diseases are transmitted.
• Describe the body's defenses against pathogens and explain the role of the immune system.

Respiration and gas exchange
• Explain why organisms need energy and how respiration provides organisms with this energy.
• Compare anaerobic an aerobic respiration.
• Describe how gas exchange occurs in humans in relation to the structure and function of the gas exchange system.

Coordination and response
• Describe the human nervous system and the neurons and how they work.
• Explain reflex actions and the role of synapses.
• Explain the structure and function of the eye.
• Describe the role of hormones in animals and plants.


Formative: Throughout the units, the children will complete graded work, quizzes and investigation activities, which allows the teacher to assess the students’ attainment and inform their planning.
For each unit the students complete a pre and posttest. This allows us to see progress across the units and to inform our planning.

Summative: At the end of each term, we complete internal tests. This allows us to measure the students’ progress throughout the term and year.

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