Higher Human Biology (revised)
Higher Human Biology
Within SSERC we have a range of activities which may be useful to support learning and teaching and these are listed in the following sections. Please note that some activities may be useful in more than one Unit and indeed may be useful in other Courses (e.g. Higher Biology, Advanced Higher Biology) and our categorisation of activities reflects this flexibility.
The Higher Human Biology Course has four mandatory Units:
- Human Cells
- Physiology and Health
- Neurobiology and Communication
- Immunology and Public Health
The Units can be accessed from the links in the left-hand menu.
Genetic diseases feature in several areas of the Higher Human Biology curriculum. SSERC has produced a resource which examines 10 of these genetic conditions. The resource is available here.
Statistics for School Biology Experiments and Advanced Higher Projects
We are delighted to announce that SSERC has recently published ‘Statistics for School Biology Experiments and Advanced Higher Projects’. This guide has been written by Graeme Ruxton (Professor of Biology at the University of St Andrews) and Jim Stafford (Senior Associate with SSERC). Graeme has a particular interest in making the principles of experimental design and the use of statistics in analysing experimental results accessible to the widest range of learners including school students and his book Experimental Design for the Life Sciences influenced the development of the Investigative Biology Unit of Advanced Higher Biology. Jim has been a Principal Teacher of Biology, a Local Authority Science Adviser and Quality Improvement Officer. During his career Jim has worked with various partner organisations on a number of areas of science education, including leadership training, health and safety guidance, and the development of national qualifications in biology.
SSERC has been involved in the preparation of resource packs to support the Higher Human Biology Assignment. We have, to date, produced two such resources and these are available from the links below. Please note that these are draft resource packs at this stage. Final versions will be made available in the near future.
The following will be useful to those with an interest in the Ebola outbreak:
Special Collection (Science, Thursday 18 September 2014). Given the current outbreak, unprecedented in terms of number of people killed and rapid geographical spread, Science and Science Translational Medicine have made this collection of research and news articles on Ebola viral disease freely available to researchers and the general public. Access the collection here.
The Zika virus
We have gathered together some background notes on the Zika virus together with links to other information sources. Access our notes here.
Emphasis is placed on the maintenance of the diploid number of chromosomes in the division of somatic cells and reduction division to the haploid number of chromosomes in gametes from germline cells. Consideration is given to the research and therapeutic value of stem cells and to uncontrolled division of cancer cells providing opportunity to look at wider social issues and the relevance of applied biological science. This Unit recognises the central importance of DNA to cell processes. The emphasis is on the expression of the genotype encoded by DNA into the phenotype of protein structure and function through the mechanisms of transcription and translation. The control and regulation of metabolic pathways is essential to cell function. Metabolism should be seen as a network of connected and integrated pathways with reversible and irreversible steps and alternative routes. The role of genes in coding for enzymes that control and regulate pathways further demonstrates the central importance of DNA and the regulation of gene expression in the cell.
The Human Cells unit is divided into 8 main areas of content viz: Division and differentiation in human cells, Structure and replication of DNA, Gene expression, Genes and proteins in health and disease, Human genomics, Metabolic pathways, Cellular respiration, and Energy systems in muscle cells. In the sections that follow you will find a series of links to resources and activities - some of these have been produced by SSERC whilst others are from sources which we are happy to endorse/recommend.
This Unit focuses on reproduction and the cardiovascular system, two areas where biological research and knowledge is of particular significance and relevance to the human species.
The study of reproduction provides a good and clear opportunity to develop understanding of the mechanisms of hormonal control including releaser hormones, stimulation and inhibition, feedback control, multiple effects of hormones, cyclical and non-cyclical activity. By exploring physiology in health-related contexts opportunities arise naturally to discuss in an informed way social, moral and ethical issues that relate to being a responsible citizen and an informed contributor to society.
Study of the cardiovascular system allows learners the opportunity to examine epithelial, connective and muscle tissue. The pathology of cardiovascular disease helps to deepen understanding of the cardiovascular system as well as to develop biological concepts such as reaction cascades and the activation of enzymes when required in applied contexts that are of particular significance to health in Scotland. Homeostatic mechanisms can be explored through study of regulation of blood cholesterol and blood glucose, factors in the onset of atherosclerosis, diabetes and obesity.
The Physiology and Health unit is divided into 8 main areas of content viz:The structure and function of reproductive organs and gametes and their role in fertilisation, Hormonal control of reproduction, The biology of controlling fertility, Ante- and postnatal screening, The strucutre and function of arteries, capillaries and veins, The structure and function of the heart, Pathology of cardio vascular disease, blood glucose levels and obesity. In the sections that follow you will find a series of links to resources and activities - some of these have been produced by SSERC whilst others are from sources which we are happy to endorse/recommend.
The study of the nervous system in humans also allows learners to gain an insight into the biological basis of psychology, further widening their scientific experience. The approach taken to the nervous system is based more on its function than structure.
The degree of communication of which humans are capable has led to complex and sophisticated social behaviours. Studying learning, the change in behaviour as a result of experience, lends itself to experiential practical work.
The Neurobiology and Communication unit is divided into 4 main areas of content viz: Divisions of the nervous system and parts of the brain, Perception and memory, The cells of the nervous system and neurotransmitters at synapses, and Communication and social behaviour. In the sections that follow you will find a series of links to resources and activities - some of these have been produced by SSERC whilst others are from sources which we are happy to endorse/recommend.
The Immunology and Public Health unit is divided into 4 main areas of content viz: Non-specific defences, Specific cellular defences, The transmission and control of infectious diseases, and Active immunisation and vaccination and the evasion of specific immune response by pathogens. In the sections that follow you will find a series of links to resources and activities - some of these have been produced by SSERC whilst others are from sources which we are happy to endorse/recommend.