90925 Practical investigation in biology

90925 Practical investigation in biology

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This course is part of your preparation for achievement standard 90925.

It follows on from the Level 1 Science Investigations Skills course, where we introduced you to the basics of how to plan, carry out and report a science skills investigation. You should work through that Level 1 course before completing this one.

Then in this course we’ll explore the more biology-specific aspects of practical investigations. We’ve divided this course into four sections:

  • Section 1: The scientific investigative process – a quick recap of the investigation process as a whole, plus the difference between a fair test and a pattern-seeking investigation (when you would use each type, and how the planning differs between the two types) as well as a deeper exploration of pattern-seeking investigations.
  • Section 2: Biological techniques – some additional biological techniques you might need to know for your investigation such as transect and quadrat sampling, how to culture micro-organisms, and how to prepare slides for and use a microscope to observe something microscopic.
  • Section 3: Potential sources of error in biological investigations – common sources of error when it comes to biology investigations and how to avoid or minimise these.
  • Section 4: Planning, conducting and reporting on your biological investigation – where you’ll have the opportunity to practise the skills of practical investigation in a biological context in both a fair test and pattern-seeking investigation scenario.

This course covers the things you’ll need to know and be able to do for Achievement Standard 90925 (Biology 1.1) Carry out a practical investigation in a biological context, with direction through examining your ability to:

  • decide on a hypothesis relevant to a given purpose statement/aim
  • identify and control variables
  • develop a step-by-step procedure to test that hypothesis, from an outline of a method, using techniques relevant to the biology context (e.g. culturing micro-organisms, use of a microscope, quadrat sampling)
  • record primary (raw) data
  • process the primary (raw) data appropriately (e.g. calculations, tabulating, graphing)
  • interpret the processed data
  • relate findings to the purpose to reach a conclusion.

Preparing for your assessments

Just like any achievement standard, there are different requirements for you to pass with Merit or Excellence.

For Achievement Standard 90925

Achievement

Achievement with Merit

Achievement with Excellence

Carry out a practical investigation in a biological context, with direction.

Carry out an in-depth practical investigation in a biological context, with direction.

Carry out a comprehensive practical investigation in a biological context, with direction.

You can read more about Achievement Standard 90925 and what’s expected in these explanatory notes.

How you’ll learn

People learn in different ways. Here are some of the ways you can learn and interact with the materials in this course.

Self-paced learning – This online course is set up so you can learn at your own pace. So, although there are ‘suggested’ times for each page, they’re just a guideline. Plan your learning to suit you.

Diagrams, videos and interactions – Some people prefer to learn by reading, some by watching and listening, and some by doing. We’ve used diagrams and videos alongside the text, so that there’s something for everyone!

Practice activities – Throughout this course there are lots of short activities. These activities are for you to check your own understanding, not for someone to mark them. These activities give you a great chance to practise what you’ve learned and compare your answer with the model feedback without being assessed.

Glossary – We’ll be using some technical words and phrases in this course to do with scientific investigations. To help you grow your vocab around the topic, the course includes an online glossary. When you see a word or phrase underlined in the text, move your cursor over it and a definition will pop up – easy!

Discussions – Sharing with others can also be a great way to learn. Talk with your classmates and teacher at school about the ideas you come across in this online course. Even chat to your family at the dinner table about the things you’re learning – if you can explain the ideas to others, you can really be confident in your own understanding.

So, let’s get started!