The Level 3 Biology Course


  1. Investigate and identify aspects of animal behavior and plant responses in relation to biotic and abiotic environmental factors which encompass the ecological niche.
  2. Gather information by recording qualitative and quantitative    observations, and locating relevant background information.
  3. Focus and plan by formulating hypotheses and designing fair-test experiments.
  4. Process and interpret information using appropriate statistical and graphing procedures, identify trends, relationships and patterns, and draw conclusions and evaluate the reliability and validity of the results.
  5. Report in a well-reasoned, concise and appropriate manner with conclusions that are justified and supported by relevant data.
  6. Investigate an aspect of homeostatic control mechanisms in animals.
  7. Investigate and describe basic principles of gene expression, gene technology, genetic engineering and genetic modification.
  8. Identify and explain examples of contemporary techniques used in molecular biology or biotechnology, and the influence of human needs and demands on their development and use.
  9. Investigate and explain processes leading to speciation and identify patterns of evolution, with emphasis on New Zealand examples.
  10. Examine and interpret scientific evidence for the origin of humans and identify trends in their biological and cultural evolution, including an understanding of the evolutionary dispersal patterns of hominins.

Content areas:

Section A: Animal behaviour and plant responses: Biological timing and orientation: cyclic responses of plants and animals (daily, lunar, annual cycles), biological clocks, tropisms and taxes, homing and migration. And secondly, interspecific and intraspecific interactions; competition, resource distribution, aggressive and cooperative interactions, predator-prey interactions and social organization.

Section B: Organism investigation: Conduct a practical biological fair-test investigation involving a plant or animal. Internally assessed and will involve each student in: focusing and planning, information gathering, processing and interpreting, and reporting. Students are expected to justify choices made and form scientific conclusions.

Section C: Homeostasis: Control system that maintains a stable internal environment (homeostatic system) for body temperature, blood pressure, osmotic balance, blood glucose, and respiratory gasses in tissues. The physiological purpose, and control of the components that maintain a stable internal environment. Including, potential effects of disruption to the system by internal and external influences (temperature, disease, infection, drugs, and genetics).

Section D: Evolution: Mutation and its role in producing variation, speciation, patterns of evolution (convergent, divergent, parallel), and adaptive radiation. Evolutionary processes including gene flow, natural selection, genetic drift, sympatric and allopatric speciation, punctuated equilibrium, and gradualism. Understand speciation in New Zealand’s flora and fauna from fossil evidence, comparative anatomy, and molecular studies.

Section E: Human evolution: Similarities and differences between humans and other living primates. Interpretation and evaluation of scientific evidence pertaining to human evolution and trends in biological and cultural evolution.

Section F: Biotechnology: Techniques: restriction enzymes, ligation, polymerase chain reaction, DNA sequencing using gel electrophoresis, DNA fingerprinting, gene cloning using a vector (plasmid, bacteriophage), transgenesis, tissue culture, genome analysis. Research ways that humans manipulate genetic transfer and the biological implications on: ecosystems, genetic biodiversity, health or survival of individuals, survival of population, and evolution of populations.

Last modified: Thursday, 16 October 2014, 10:45 AM