In this unit, students are introduced to some of the challenges to an organism in sustaining life. Students examine the cell as the structural and functional unit of life, from the single celled to the multicellular organism, and the requirements for sustaining cellular processes in terms of inputs and outputs. They analyse types of adaptations that enhance the organism's survival in a particular environment and consider the role homeostatic mechanisms play in maintaining the internal environment. Students investigate how a diverse group of organisms form a living interconnected community that is adapted to, and utilises, the abiotic resources of its habitat. The role of a keystone species in maintaining the structure of an ecosystem is explored. Students consider how the planet's biodiversity is classified and the factors that affect the growth of a population.

This unit is delivered in Year 11.

Unit details

Study level:
Vocational and further education (TAFE)
Unit code:


Assessment tasks will be designed to reinforce and extend knowledge in accordance with each unit's learning outcomes, including the setting of practical application tasks designed to provide evidence of competence outcomes, within periodic and scheduled timelines. Students will be expected to demonstrate the following knowledge: Outcome 1 On completion of this unit the student should be able to investigate and explain how cellular structures and systems function to sustain life. Outcome 2 On completion of this unit the student should be able explain how various adaptations enhance the survival of an individual organism, investigate the relationships between organisms that form a living community and their habitat, and analyse the impacts of factors that affect population growth. Outcome 3 On completion of this unit the student should be able to design and undertake an investigation related to the survival of an organism or species, and draw conclusions based on evidence from collected data.Assessment will follow the requirements set out in the VCE Biology Study Guide: The award of satisfactory completion for a unit is based on whether the student has demonstrated the set of outcomes specified for the unit. A variety of learning activities and assessment tasks will provide a range of opportunities for students to demonstrate the key knowledge and key skills in the outcomes. Assessment will be a part of the regular teaching and learning program and will be completed mainly in class and within a limited time-frame. All assessments at Units 1 and 2 are school-based. For this unit students are required to demonstrate achievement of three outcomes. As a set these outcomes encompass all areas of study in the unit. Practical work is a central component of learning and assessment. As a guide, between 3½ and 5 hours of class time should be devoted to student practical work and investigations for each of Areas of Study 1 and 2. For Area of Study 3, between 6 and 8 hours of class time should be devoted to undertaking the investigation and communicating findings.

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