A level Biology course

Biology at Ashbourne is an exciting and challenging subject. We offer our students an outstanding educational experience through a combination of high quality teaching, plenty of classroom practicals and a wide range of science excursions and visits.



Why do an Easter Revision course in Science at Ashbourne?

The course leader for the Science Easter Revision Course is Amjad Shah. Amjad is extremely passionate about science and is always willing to go the extra mile for any student who may need help. Amjad holds a BSc in Physiology in Sports Science and Nutrition from the University of Glasgow, a BSc in Physiotherapy from the University of East London, and a PGCE in Chemistry from Oxford University.

Students will benefit from his vast and diverse experience as well as the individual attention which is a key feature of the Ashbourne Easter Revision programme.

There will be revision of the following areas

GCSE Unit B1 is the Biology module and is entitled “Influence on Life”, which involves:

  • Classification, with students required to differentiate between the different families categories, as well as different type of classification methods, such as molecular phylogeny and anatomical classification, and the issues that come from such classification.
  • Darwin’s theory of evolution, including the concepts of adaption and variation within a species, and ultimately of inheritance, as well as responses to a changing environment, problems and solutions to a changing environment.
  • Variation of characteristics within a species will be defined as continuous and discontinuous and students will have to explain the causes of variations, whether environmental or genetic.
  • The definition of a species as well as its limitations and how speciation occurs due to geographic isolation.
  • Basic genetics such as the definition of chromosomes, genes, alleles (and the understanding that different alleles give rise to different inherited characteristics), dominant, recessive, homozygous, heterozygous, phenotype and genotype.
  • Analyse and interpret patterns of monohybrid inheritance using a genetic diagram, Punnett squares and family pedigrees and calculate and analyse outcomes (using probabilities, ratios and percentages) from monohybrid crosses
  • The mechanism of homeostasis and negative feedback, the role of the skin and its receptors and the hypothalamus, in reference to thermoregulation
  • The production of hormones and their use, including a case study of diabetes, as well as plant hormones and their effect in tropism
  • The nervous system including the brain, receptors and neurones
  • The effects of drugs on the nervous system and their physiological and psychological impact
  • The effects of substances like nicotine and alcohol on health
  • The ethics of organ transplants
  • How pathogens cause diseases and spread, and how the body defends itself
  • The use of antibacterial plants, antiseptics, and antibiotics
  • The relationship between organisms in the form of food chain, energy transfer between trophic levels, parasitism, mutualism.
  • The increase of human population and polluting effects on the environment
  • The carbon cycle and the nitrogen cycle

GCSE Unit C1 is the Chemistry module and is entitled “Chemistry into our world”. It involves:

  • The study of the Earth’s atmosphere, the increase of the level of oxygen due to the photosynthetic activity of primitive plants.

    and its evolution to a viable environment, the development of oceans, and the reduction of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into carbonic acid into the oceans and marine organisms

  • The formation of igneous rocks, sedimentary rocks and metamorphic rocks
  • How materials like chalk are forms of calcium carbonate and the balance between the need to quarry it for commercial demands and the environmental effects that it has
  • The thermal decomposition of calcium carbonate into calcium oxide and carbon dioxide
  • How atoms are the smallest particles involved in chemical reactions and are neither created nor destroyed but rearranged into products with different properties
  • Calcium oxide and calcium hydroxide’s interaction with water, particularly how calcium hydroxide dissolves to form limewater
  • The uses of calcium oxide, calcium hydroxide and calcium carbonate
  • The production and role of hydrochloric acid in helping digestion and killing bacteria, and how indigestion medicines neutralizes this acid.

    How acids are neutralized by metals such as metal oxides, metal hydroxides and metal carbonates and how this produces salts

  • How electrolysis is a process in which electrical energy decompose compounds
  • The chemicals tests for hydrogen, chlorine and oxygen
  • The methods of metal extraction and how they relate to this metal’s position in the reactivity series
  • The understanding of oxidation and reduction and it relation to metals
  • The use of metals in relation to their properties and their recycling
  • How alloys of metals increase the metals strength and change their properties
  • How hydrocarbons are a compounds made of carbon and hydrogen only, and how crude oil is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons
  • The separation of crude oil into simpler materials through fractional distillation
  • How different fractions differ from each other in their properties, and their different use
  • The complete combustion of hydrocarbons and its production of carbon and carbon monoxide and how it behaves as a toxic gas
  • The chemical test for carbon dioxide
  • How impurities in some hydrocarbon fuels result in the production of sulfur dioxide and the problems associated with acid rain caused when sulfur dioxide dissolves in rain water
  • The green house effect: how various gases in the atmosphere, including carbon dioxide, methane and water vapour, trap heat from the Sun
  • The impact of human activity on the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and evaluating how far the correlation between global temperature and the proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere provides evidence for climate change

    How biofuels are possible alternatives to fossil fuels, the advantages and disadvantages of replacing fossil fuels with biofuels, the factors that make a good fuel and the advantages and disadvantages of using hydrogen as a fuel

  • How alkanes are saturated hydrocarbons and the structure of the alkanes methane, ethane and propane. How alkenes are unsaturated hydrocarbons and the structure of the alkenes ethene and propene
  • How cracking involves the breaking down of larger saturated hydrocarbon molecules (alkanes) into smaller ones, some of which are unsaturated (alkenes). The cracking of liquid paraffin
  • How ethene molecules can combine together in a polymerisation reaction, forming a polyethene
  • How other polymers can be made by combining together other monomer molecule
  • How most polymers are not biodegradable and how some problems associated with the disposal of polymers can be overcome

GCSE Unit P1 is the Physics module and is entitled “Universal Physics”

It involves:

  • The change of the ideas about the structure of the Solar System, including the change from the geocentric to the heliocentric models
  • The use waves to find out information about the Solar System and the Milky Way
  • Galileo’s observations of Jupiter, using the telescope, as evidence for the heliocentric model of the Solar System.
  • Compare methods of observing the Universe using visible light, including the naked eye, photography and telescopes
  • Explain how to measure the focal length of a converging lens using a distant object, and investigating the behaviour and use of converging lenses
  • Describe how a reflecting telescope works
  • The reflection and refraction at boundaries between different materials, in terms of the change of speed and direction
  • Describe that waves transfer energy and information without transferring matter
  • Describing waves in terms of frequency, wavelength, amplitude and speed, and the energy transfer
  • Understanding the difference between longitudinal and transverse waves in terms of sound, electromagnetic and seismic waves
  • The discovery of waves outside the limits of the visible spectrum and the contribution of Herschel and Ritter
  • Demonstrate an understanding that all electromagnetic waves are transverse and that they travel at the same speed in a vacuum
  • The continuous electromagnetic spectrum including (in order) radio waves, microwaves, infrared, visible (including the colours of the visible spectrum), ultraviolet, X-rays and gamma rays
  • The potential danger associated with an electromagnetic wave increases with increasing frequency, relating the harmful effects, to life and the body to excessive exposure to the frequency of the electromagnetic radiation
  • The uses of electromagnetic radiation: radio waves for communication, microwaves for cooking, communications and satellite transmission, infrared, visible light, e ultraviolet, f X-rays, g gamma rays
  • Recall that ionising radiations are emitted all the time by radioactive sources, and that they include alpha and beta particles and gamma rays and that they transfer energy
  • The relative distances between the Earth, the Moon, the planets, the Sun, galaxies and the Universe
  • The different types of telescopes, their use and their impact of on our modern understanding of the Universe
  • The evolution of stars in masses like the sun, and the importance of gravity in their life cycle
  • The Steady State theory and the Big Bang theories, plus evidence for the Big Bang theories and how they outweight those for the Steady State theory
  • Wavelengths and their perception relative to an observer and red shifts received from galaxies and how they provide evidence for the Universe expanding
  • CBM radiation and the Big Bang Theory
  • Ultrasound, their frequency, their uses and their velocity and infrasound and their uses
  • Earthquakes and seismic waves, and the difficulty to predict them. The characteristics of longitunal seismic waves and tranverse seismic waves
  • Tectonic plates and their motion and currents, and how at plate boundaries plates slide past each other, sometimes causing earthquakes
  • Current as the rate of flow of charge and voltage as an electrical pressure giving a measure of the energy transferred
  • Power as the energy transferred per second and measured in watts
  • The power consumption of low voltage electrical items and the advantages and disadvantages of methods of large scale electricity production using renewable and non renewable resources
  • The factors affecting the generation, size and direction of induced current and how to produce an electric current on a small scale and in the large scale generation of electrical energy
  • How generators supply current which alternates in direction and the difference between direct and alternating current
  • How energy is conserved and transferred through energy transfer chains, and the different forms of energy: thermal, light, electric, sound, kinetic, chemical, nuclear and potential
  • How efficiency is the proportion of energy transferred to useful forms to everyday situations, as well as the efficiency equation
  • How for a system to be at a constant temperature it needs to radiate the same average power that it absorbs and how surface affects the amount of thermal energy radiated or absorbed
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