Apex Academy Courses

Biology, Grade 11

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Biology, Grade 11

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.

Prerequisite: Science, Grade 10, Academic

Course Outline

Module 1 Overview: The diversity of living things

Guiding Question:
How does biodiversity insure and ensure the health of natural ecosystems?

All living things can be classified according to their anatomical and physiological characteristics. The diversity of living things in a given ecosystem, whether it is as large as a rainforest or as small as the inside of your intestines, determines the health and strength of that ecosystem. Human activities, like agriculture or construction, often have negative affects on biodiversity, and this spells trouble for ecosystems around the world.

Module 2 Overview: Genetic Processes

Guiding Question:
Are all genes created equal? Are they all passed onto the next generation in the same way, or are different genes inherited in different ways?

Now that we’ve learned a bit about just how diverse life is on Earth, we can look at how each generation comes to look or function the way that it does. The DNA in your nucleus dictates the way every structure in your body functions and the way every structure in your body looks. We know we get our DNA from our mother and father, but how does nature choose which genes come from our mother, and which genes come from our father? It turns out that there are rules that govern how those genes get passed on to you and which genes get expressed in you. In this module, we will learn how your parents’ genes get distributed just before the magical moment when your mom’s gamete and dad’s gamete combine to make you! 

Module 3 Overview: evolution

Guiding Question:
What does it really mean to live long and prosper? Would I choose to live longer or reproduce?

So far in this course, we have learned that the world holds a vast diversity of life forms, and that all diversity is due to genetic mutations that are introduced in every generation. In this module, we look at what keeps certain mutations around and what causes other mutations to be removed from the population. As I mentioned before, the name of the game is to live long and prosper, and only those individuals with mutations that confer a survival advantage or allow the individual to make a lot of babies will stick around. Evolution is the mechanism by which we see exactly which mutations are worth keeping and which are not.

Module 4 Overview: Animals - Structure and function

Guiding Question:
How important is it that our organ systems work so well together?

Now that we’ve learned about the great biodiversity of our planet, the genes that underlie that diversity, and the evolutionary forces that determine which genes are useful and which are not, we shall move on to focus our studies on animals. Specifically, we will learn about the structures that make up three main organ systems: the digestive system, the circulatory system, and the respiratory system. The structures that make up these systems are perfectly made for their particular functions and they are perfectly designed to work with each other to keep animals alive. We have evolution to thank for that.

Module 5 Overview: Plants - Anatomy, Growth and Function

Guiding Question:
How can we use an understanding of plants to ensure that life on planet Earth is properly supported?

Plants are primary producers and provide nutrition to pretty much every other living thing on Earth. There are 80,000 species of edible plants and 70,000 species are used for medicine. Plants are kind of a big deal. So, in this module, we move from animals to plants, and we’ll look at the organ systems that are important to plant growth and reproduction. 

Assessment Breakdown

Course Work, Assignments, and Proctored Tests: 70%
Culminating Independent Study Project: 10%
Final Exam: 20%