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Biology at Thomson
 

Courses Of Study


 

Grade 11 Biology,

College Preparation  (SBI3C1)

Prerequisite Course: Grade 10 Science, Academic OR Applied with mark of 70% of higher is strongly recommended.

  This course focuses on the processes that occur in biological systems. Students will learn concepts and theories as they conduct investigations in the areas of cellular biology, microbiology, genetics, the anatomy of mammals, and the structure of plants and their role in the natural environment. Emphasis will be placed on the practical application of concepts, and on the skills needed for further study in various branches of the life sciences and related fields.

SBI3C PigDissection 2013 0.12

Grade 11 Biology students at Thomson dissecting
the fetal pig, Sus scrofa, and studying its organs.

 

SBI3C GeorgeBrownWaterfront 2013

Grade 11 Biology students from Thomson sampling a career in dental hygiene at George Brown College, Waterfront Campus.

 

Grade 11 Biology,

University Preparation  (SBI3U1)

Prerequisite Course: Grade 10 Science, Academic with mark of 70% or higher is strongly recommended.

  This course furthers students’ understanding of the processes that occur in biological systems. Students will study theory and conduct investigations in the areas of biodiversity; evolution; genetic processes; the structure and function of animals; and the anatomy, growth, and function of plants. The course focuses on the theoretical aspects of the topics under study, and helps students refine skills related to scientific investigation.

SBI3U ROM 2012 0.11

Grade 11 Biology students from Thomson studying
biodiversity and evolution at Royal Ontario Museum.

 

Grade 11 Biology, Enriched (Pre-AP) University Preparation  (SBI3U3)

Prerequisite Course: 80% or higher in SNC2D3 or SNC2D1 with pending acceptance of Pre-AP application, available at thomsoncollegiate.com > About Thomson > Advanced Placement. 

This course furthers students’ understanding of the processes that occur in biological systems. Students will study theory and conduct investigations in the areas of biodiversity; evolution; genetic processes; the structure and function of animals; and the anatomy, growth, and function of plants. The course focuses on the theoretical aspects of the topics under study, and helps students refine skills related to scientific investigation.


SBI3U3 Pre-AP is different from SBI3U1 University-Preparation in that topics are covered in much greater detail through specific inquiry-based, student-directed teaching, experimental design & investigation, and peer-partner learning, for preparation for AP courses.  These topics include Mitosis and Meiosis, Dihybrid Crossing of Fruit Flies in Genetics of Organisms, Hardy-Weinberg Equation in Population Genetics, Chi-Square Testing in Evolution, and Transpiration.  


To successfully learn all of the course content, SBI3U3 Pre-AP students must demonstrate strong skills in organization, self-directed independent learning, reading, and understanding of scientific literature.  To successfully perform and complete labs, SBI4U0 AP students must demonstrate strong skills in questioning, understanding problems, reasoning (ability to analyze information using deduction and inference), and technical writing (communicating clearly in writing).

  

Grade 12 Biology, University Preparation  (SBI4U1)

Prerequisite Courses:  Grade 11 Biology, University Preparation with a mark of 70% or higher is strongly recommended.  Also strongly recommended is Grade 11 Chemistry, University Preparation OR Grade 12 Chemistry-College Preparation.

  This course provides students with the opportunity for in-depth study of the concepts and processes that occur in biological systems. Students will study theory and conduct investigations in the areas of biochemistry, metabolic processes, molecular genetics, homeostasis, and population dynamics. Emphasis will be placed on the achievement of detailed knowledge and the refinement of skills needed for further study in various branches of the life sciences and related fields.

SBI4U DNAFingerprint 2013

Grade 12 Biology students from Thomson investing their
own DNA fingerprint at Ontario Science Centre.

 

Grade 12 Biology, Advanced Placement (AP) University Preparation  (SBI4U0)

Prerequisite Courses:  80% or higher in SBI3U3 or SBI3U1 with pending acceptance of AP application, available at thomsoncollegiate.com > About Thomson > Advanced Placement. 

This course provides students with the opportunity for in-depth study of the concepts and processes that occur in biological systems. Students will study theory and conduct investigations in the areas of biochemistry, metabolic processes, molecular genetics, homeostasis, and population dynamics. Emphasis will be placed on the achievement of detailed knowledge and the refinement of skills needed for further study in various branches of the life sciences and related fields.

SBI4U0 AP is different from SBI4U1 University-Preparation in that that topics are covered in much greater detail through specific inquiry-based, student-directed teaching, experimental design & investigation, and peer-partner learning.  These topics include Diffusion and Osmosis, Catalysis of Enzymes, Plant Pigments & Photosynthesis, Cell Respiration, Bacterial Transformation, DNA Analysis using Restriction Enzymes, Physiology of the Circulatory System, Animal behaviour, and Buffers & Dissolved Oxygen.

To successfully learn all of the course content, SBI4U0 AP students must demonstrate strong skills in organization, self-directed independent learning, reading, and understanding of scientific literature.  To successful perform and complete labs, SBI4U0 AP students must demonstrate strong skills in questioning, understanding problems, reasoning (ability to analyze information using deduction and inference), and technical writing (communicating clearly in writing).

 

  At Thomson, the curriculum of the AP Biology course (SBI4U0) is completed concurrently with the Grade 12 Biology, University-Preparation course (SBI4U1).  At least 25% of both Grade 12 AP Biology (SBI4U0) and University-Preparation courses (SBI4U1) comprise of inquiry lab-based opportunities.  In other words, students complete more than all 12 AP Biology Investigation Labs, identified by The College Board to ensure success on the AP Biology exam.  Below are examples:

IMG 0003-001 - Copy SBI4U nutrient lab 2013-015 DSC00526 IMG 1493 AP Lab 5 Cell respir
AP Biology Lab 1: Diffusion and Osmosis AP Biology Lab 2: Enzyme Catalysis AP Biology Lab 4: Plant Pigments & Photosynthesis  AP Biology Lab 5: Cell Respiration
DSC00800-001 - Copy DSC02447-001 DSC00925-001 - Copy - Copy
AP Biology Lab 6: Molecular Biology AP Biology Lab 7: Genetics of Organisms  AP Biology Lab 11: Animal Behaviour 

 


Comparison of Final Grades  

 

Grade 10 Science, Academic and Grade 11 Biology, University Preparation

  Analyses of trends of final marks accumulated from 2003 to 2011 (Table 1) led us to suggest that students who completed Grade 10 Science, Academic (SNC2D) with an 70% or above have demonstrated sufficient understanding, skills, and work habits to maintain their successful results in Grade 11 Biology, University Preparation (SBI3U).

  Students achieving below a 70% in SNC2D are therefore strongly recommended to enroll in Grade 11 Biology, College Preparation (SBI3C).

  Table 1. Correlation of marks of students at David & Mary Thomson Collegiate Institute, TDSB who completed Grade 9 Science, Academic (SNC2D) and Grade 11 Biology, University Preparation (SBI3U) in their subsequent academic year.  Data from 635 students was obtained from 2003 to 2011.

  As shown in Table 1, a total of 66 out of 122 (54%) students who earned a mark between 70% and 79% in SNC2D maintained their average or higher after completing SBI3U.

  A lower percentage of students (14% from a total of 21 out of 146) who earned a mark between 60% and 69% in SNC2D earned a mark of 70% or higher after completing SBI3U.  This is important to know as it is an indicator of how successful a student would likely be enrolled in Grade 12 Biology, University Preparation (SCHU).  A minimum mark of 70% is required for acceptance to most chemistry programs at universities.

 

Grade 11 Biology, University Preparation and Grade 12 Biology, University Preparation

  Analyses of trends of final marks accumulated from 2003 to 2011 (Table 2) led us to suggest that students who completed Grade 11 Biology, University-Preparation (SBI3U) with a 70% or above have demonstrated sufficient understanding, skills, and work habits to maintain their successful results in Grade 12 Biology, University Preparation (SBI4U).

  Students achieving below a 70% in SBI3U are therefore strongly recommended to enroll in Grade 12 Health Science, University/College-Preparation (SNC4M).

  Table 2. Correlation of marks of students at David & Mary Thomson Collegiate Institute, TDSB who completed Grade 11 Biology, University Preparation (SBI3U) and Grade 12 Biology, University Preparation (SBI4U) in their subsequent academic year.  Data from 465 students was obtained from 2003 to 2011.

  As shown in Table 2, a total of 42 students out of 100 (46%) students who earned a mark between 70% and 79% in SBI3U earned a mark of 70% or higher after completing SCH4U.

  In comparison, a significantly-lower number of students (23% from a total of only 21 out of 91) who earned a mark between 60% and 69% in SBI3U maintained a 70% average or higher after completing SBI4U.  This is important to know because the mark of 70%, mostly likely higher, is the prerequisite for admission to most chemistry programs at universities.

 


Pathways of Science at Thomson 

Prerequisites for Enrollment in Future Science Courses

 

Grade 9 Students

  Students completing Grade 9 Science, Applied (SNC1P) with an 85% or above have demonstrated sufficient understanding, skills, and work habits to maintain their successful results in Grade 10 Science, Academic (SNC2D).

  • Students achieving below an 85% in SNC1P are therefore strongly recommended to enroll in Grade 10 Science, Applied (SNC2P).


Grade 10 Students

  Students completing Grade 10 Science, Applied (SNC2P) may NOT enroll in a Grade 11/12 U-level course (i.e. SBI3U, SCH3U, SPH3U).
  • However, Grade 11 Environmental Science - Workplace level (SVN3E) is strongly recommended for students NOT pursuing post-secondary sciences but need a third science for graduation. 

  Students completing Grade 10 Science, Academic (SNC2D) with a 70% or above have demonstrated sufficient understanding, skills, and work habits to maintain their successful results in Grade 11 University-level Biology (SBI3U), Chemistry (SCH3U), and/or Physics (SPH3U).

  • Students achieving below a 70% in SNC2D are therefore strongly recommended to enroll in Grade 11 and/or 12 C-level or M-level courses.

Pathway chart

 Students completing Grade 10 Math, Academic (MPM2D) with a 70% or above have demonstrated sufficient understanding, skills, and work habits to maintain their successful results in Grade 11 Chemistry (SCH3U), and/or Physics (SPH3U).

  • Students achieving a 70% or above in MPM2D are therefore strongly recommended to enroll in Grade 12 C-level Chemistry and/or Physics courses.

 

Grade 11 Students

  Students completing Grade 11 University-level Biology (SBI3U), Chemistry (SCH3U), and/or Physics (SPH3U) have demonstrated sufficient understanding, skills, and work habits to maintain their successful results in Grade 11 University Preparation Biology (SBI3U), Chemistry (SCH3U), and/or Physics (SPH3U).

  • Students achieving below a 70% in SBI3U, SCH3U, and/or SPH3U are therefore strongly recommended to enroll in Grade 12 C-level or M-level courses.

  At the present time, Grade 11 Science, Workplace (SNC3E) is NOT available.  However, Grade 11 Environmental Science - Workplace pathway (SVN3E) is strongly recommended for students interested in enrolling in a general senior science course for their third science credit. 

 

Grade 12 Students

  At the present time, both Grade 12 Earth and Space Science (SES4M) and Grade 12 Science, Workplace (SNC4E) are NOT available.

 

 

 


What is Biology and Its Areas of Study?

 

 

  Biology is the study of living things and their processes.

  Within Biology, there are many specialties with a range of levels of organization.  In order from smallest to largest, some of these to learn at DMT include the following:

  • Biochemistry (study of chemical reactions at the cell level for organisms to live)
  • Genetics (study of genes and heredity)
  • Molecular Biology (study of biological functions at the molecular level)
  • Biotechnology (study of manipulating genetics and transformation)
  • Cell Biology (study of cell as a complete unit and the chemical interactions within)
  • Microbiology (study of microorganisms and their interactions with living things)
  • Physiology (study of the functioning living things and their organs/parts)
  • Botany (study of plants)
  • Anatomy (study of form and function of living things)
  • Zoology (study of animals, including their classification, physiology, development, and behaviour)
  • Ecology (study of interactions between living and non-living things with each other and their environment)
  • Environmental Biology (study of the natural world as affected by human activity, and the impacts of such activities)
  • Population Biology (study of how populations change and become extinct)
  • Evolution (study of origin and descent of species over time).

  There are five ideas that hold true to all aspects of biology.  This is called the Central Dogma of Biology:  DNA (genetic code for each living thing) is transcribed (reverse copied) into mRNA (reverse-copied template of the DNA), which is translated (interpreted) into polypeptides (2D building material), which is assembled into proteins (3D, functional material for all life).

 

Study Resources:

 

Benefits of Studying Biology

  Have you ever wondered how there can be seedless grapes and how they can reproduce? Why do mosquito bites feel itchy? Why do I crave for salty chips?  Is drinking too much Coca-Cola bad for me?  Why do I need a new flu shot every year?  Can we clone a human being?  What's all this fuss about stem cell research?  How are twins made?  What makes us yawn?

  To understand our place on Earth, we must understand biology.  Ever since the beginning of our existance, we learned about and used our knowledge of plants and animals.  We knew which plants and animals were harmful and helpful.  We knew where to find the plants and animals to use their parts for food, shelter, and transportation.  Eventually, we learned to grow plants and raise animals ourselves, plus use them not only for basic needs but for medicines.

  We are only one type of living thing, but we have an effect on all of them.  Recent innovations in biology include cloning living things and transforming organisms with genetic engineering, redesigning living things that never existed before.  These have raised ethical issues beyond our previous imagination.  There are over seven billion humans on the Earth.  As the population continues to grow, we are using up natural resources and creating pollution.  Styrofoam, plastic bags, deforestation and over-fishing are problems today.  However, these will become bigger problems for the next generation because very few people today understand how important biology is all of us.  We are changing the Earth's landscape, water, and atmosphere more quickly than ever before.  The consequences can affect our way of life forever.  It will be interesting to see what comes of this in the future!  As you become more informed about biological processes, from small-scale genetically-reprogramming stem cells for curing diseases to large-scale destroying an Arctic wildlife refuge for accessing oil reserves, you can make educated choices to support and critique the decisions that leaders are making for us.

 

What Can Studying Biology Teach Me for Success in Life?

  Biology is all around us and within us.  Understanding biology enables us to better understand our environment and how it changes.  Studying biology can help you to become more learned on the science behind how living things survive.  After high school, you can be more educated about the biology of forensic sciences shown in programs like Crime Scene Investigation, and biological issues making news headlines like cloning stem cells, deforestation, cures for diseases like cancer and AIDS, extinction of endangered species, and vaccinations.

  Biology is both an abstract and hands-on subject.  Biological studies can range from the level of microscopic molecules to macroscopic ecosystems.  Studying biology can take you to work in a laboratory and outdoors in a natural surrounding.  By exploring the outdoors, you can reconnect with great nature, observe it differently every time, and wonder about it.

  In the laboratory, students can study chemicals involved in biology.  You cannot see the makeup and changes of chemicals processes at the most basic level.  Therefore, studying chemistry teaches you how to think and understand at the tiny microscopic level.  For instance, you already know your muscles ache after exercising continuously, telling you to stop and breathe in more oxygen.  However, knowledge of the buildup of lactic acid (the cause of pain), not broken down due to insufficient amounts of oxygen in your cells, helps us to better understand why must breathe faster when we exercise more vigorously.  By practicing the creation of mental images of biochemical pathways and paying close attention to details, students learn to make connections between the macroscopic (visible) and microscopic, abstract world. Students practice the skill of using their imagination to create a possible solution by piecing together information.  This can be an important skill to have in your future when you may need a creative solution to a problem.

  Biology can also teach you symbolic skills.  Communication in biochemistry involves interpretation of chemical symbols, formulas, and equations. Understanding their meaning can be complicated.  To illustrate this point, we all can understand the expression:  3 apples + 3 apples = 6 apples.  Without practice in interpreting chemical symbols, interpreting the expression 36 ADP + 36 Pi --> 36 ATP is not as straight-forward.  With practice in examining a chemical equation numerically and symbolically, you can improve as a visual learner and interpreter.

  To succeed in biology, one ought to be curious, look forward to challenges, and motivated to solving problems successfully.  Biology, as a science, requires you to use the fundamental principles of scientific investigation.  Experiments must be planned using logical reasoning to solve problems.  To answer the question of an experiment, a student thinks of a justified reason for the kind of observations to make, how to make them, and why.  Without careful planning, valued time, energy, and resources can be wasted.  You can develop this important skill of planning carefully.

  By studying biology, students learn to become resourceful.  They learn new technical terminology and practice research for the right kinds of information. Biologists continually read about new things and build on their technical vocabulary.  Biology involves technical knowledge of equipment and procedures.  Biology is a very hands-on subject and collecting data using precise measurements builds up students' mechanical skills and instills patience during experiments.  Many types of measuring probes are used as data is entered into a computer.  You can learn and improve your computing skills, including computer modelling, in determining how your data can best be displayed for presentation and analysis.

  Observations and analysis of data are important parts of any experiment.  Communication skills are practiced whenever student decides how their data is best presented visually for analysis.  Students practice discussing, orally and in writing, the meaning of any patterns identified in the data.  By practicing conveying technical information to an audience less familiar with chemistry, students learn to become better teachers.  In analyzing data, students pay close attention to details in the data, find errors in their scientific method, and make self-corrections through the practice of deduction and logical reasoning.  Beyond high school, you can extend these skills of perseverance and learning to consider alternative viewpoints.

  Concepts in biology are connected with other areas of science.  Students learn to integrate their research in biology to chemistry, physics, math and statistics, geology, geography, computer, education and/or business, among others.  As well, studying biology in society makes aware of issues of ethics that impact nature.  By examining, debating, and forming a personal opinion about issues of bioethics in class, students are already thinking about applications of biology to other issues and subjects relevant in their future.  You can receive a comprehensive education on many subjects and how they relate to each other. (Perhaps you may even realize, only after studying biology, that your interests in learning is embedded in another subject!)

  Students are given opportunities to investigate work independently, fostering skill of self-discipline.  Opportunities for collaborating with peers in completing research, peer evaluating, and solve problems builds team-work, a sense of responsibility and leadership skills.

  Biology can teach you to appreciate cultures, history, and politics.  Human history has documented many significant technological revolutions in agriculture and industry.  With the introduction of antiseptics, antibiotics, and anesthetics in the 20th century, it can considered the period of the medical revolution.  We in the 21st Century are living in the dawn of the biotechnology revolution.  With advances in stem cell research and more breakthroughs in genetics research, we can perhaps live in the day when all disease can be cured.

 

Keys of Students' Success in Learning Biology

  To be successful in a biology course, you ought to enjoy preparing yourself for challenges.  You ought to enjoy learning but more so really enjoy understanding how everything works.

  It is essential that you be comfortable with math and applying it to solve problems, because there is a lot of it! (It is strongly recommended that you enroll in as many math courses - Algebra, geometry, calculus - as possible so that you are equipped to solve many more chemistry challenges.)

  It is also important that you enjoy the challenges of thinking to solve problems.  Skills not only in math, but organizing data, looking for patterns, and logic reasoning will be practiced.

  Familiarity with the computer is very helpful.  You will learn to use different sensor probes for collecting data.  After transferring data to a computer, you will need to use a program for organizing and presenting your data collected in a meaningful way for analyses.

  Like anything that is worth being proud of, biology is also a lot of work.  Even the most brilliant biologists had to study regularly.  Paying attention in class and taking notes, reviewing the notes while reading and adding notes if the book explained a concept better or different than the teacher in class.  Look at examples and complete practice questions, even if they are not going to be taken up in class.  All of these habits, even if you did not need to apply them before, are essential now in biology.

  Because biology is the study of living things, including us, you will find biology questions so interesting that you are motivated to solve more.  You may find your working alone, but you will also be given opportunities to work alongside fellow eager students and teachers.

 

  The Science Department is always looking for new ways to make our courses both challenging and interesting. Our courses offer students the opportunity to learn through practical experiments, problem solving, and use of computers. Homework is seen as an essential part of students learning.

  The time to get serious about your marks and thinking about your future is now.  Your academic success in Grades 11 and 12 are going to be more important than ever!  Many Canadian universities are considering Grade 11 marks for early admissions. Our goal as DMT teachers is to help you plan your goals for successes both in your courses this year and afterwards, plus work towards achieve them successfully.

  To ensure that you can be successful, it is just as important to enroll in the biology course best suited to meet your interests and goals for your future.

 

What To Do If You Are Failing Biology

  Express your concern to your teacher.  Ask your teacher for specific suggestions on what you can do to pass.  Many of the assessments (some quizzes or assignments) in the course are considered "assessments for" (diagnostic and formative) and "assessment as" (formative).  The purpose of these assessments is to act as a "self-check" to see that you are learning newly-taught material.  You are expected to make mistakes as it is evidence that you can learn.  These assessments do not count toward your final mark.  Ask you teacher again if the quizzes and/or assignments that you failed are such assessments.

  Your teacher respects an honest effort, even if you started late.  Continue to come to class and on-time because it makes a big difference.  Continue to take notes from your teacher and write down notes from the board because what s/he says and writes are important.  Continue to seek notes from a classmate and see if your note-taking skills can improve: Perhaps your classmate wrote down notes that you felt were not important or you notes can be made neater.  Continue to start your homework and try to complete it.  Continue to complete as many problem-solving questions as you can because you will become more comfortable with the concepts to try others.

 

What To Do If You Feel Like Withdrawing From Biology?

  Give yourself credit if you have been doing your very best.  If you have tried everything but can not produce the results that you want, give yourself a break.  Be assured that nobody has ever been perfect and every successful person in history has failed at something.  It is a part of life; however, how you handle this can affect your academic future.  Please discuss this feeling with your teacher.  S/he can offer some advice or suggestions that you did not think of before.

  Consider your options carefully.  Do not regret your actions or words later.

  If you have not put forth the effort to study, complete your homework and/or hand in assignments, for whatever reason, it is worth considering the option to withdraw.  If you are going to withdraw, be sure to do so before the Full Disclosure Date one week after Midterms.  Your failing mark will not be recorded on your Ontario Student Transcript.

  If you withdraw from the course after the Full Disclosure Date, your failing mark will be recorded on your Ontario Student Transcript.  This poor mark will lower your academic average, harming your chances of meeting admission targets for university or college.

  After withdrawing from the course, you can discuss remaining in the class as an auditor.  When auditing a course, the student attends lessons but is not awarded the course credit.  However, it is worth considering because information learned may "stick with you" and you can be more prepared if you choose to repeat the course in the future.

 

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 August 2017 04:04