Alt Text

S1 Cell Biology Course Plan


Curriculum Area Curriculum for Excellence ‘Benchmark’ Activity

Body systems and cells



Identifies the structures found in plant and animal cells and describes their functions.


Describes the main similarities and differences between plant and animal cells.


Researches and describes the structure and function of some specialised cells, for example, nerve, root hair, red blood cell, sperm and egg.

Microscopy to look at a variety of cell types e.g. plant, animal, microorganisms (yeast and bacteria).


Investigate the functions of different cells used by humans e.g. potato cells (for food), nerve cells, yeast cells (for bread/alcohol production), bacterial cells (for treating sewage/making yoghurt).


Draw labelled diagrams of a typical animal and plant cell and compare the structures present. Match names of structures to functions. Pupils could make their own 3D model cell.


Research different specialised cells and identify how their structure relates to function.


Body systems and cells




Applies knowledge from investigations to describe the essential resources that micro-organisms need to grow and reproduce, for example, food, water, warm temperature and a suitable pH.


Draws conclusions from investigations to describe how conditions and chemicals can promote and restrict growth, including temperature, antibiotics and antifungals.

Research common bacteria and fungi (ebug website).

Investigate the growth of microorganisms from appropriate surfaces, e.g. finger dabs and surface swabs.


Define the term microorganism and identify the three main types.


Sequence activity to describe how microbes are grown in the lab. Grow bacteria from cultures (using wire loop.


Experiment to look at the effect of washing on bacteria on the skin (finger dabs on agar from washed and unwashed hands). Extend by looking at the effects of different soaps.


Anticipate and apply safety measures to control all risks and hazards

Investigations using fermenters with yeast to compare results such as cloudiness when conditions are changed.

Look at the effect of temperature on the growth of microorganisms.  Grow bread mould and investigate what mould fungus feeds on.


Discuss methods used to prevent microbes growing and causing diseases such as food poisoning e.g. fridges and freezers; hygiene; disinfectants; antiseptics; sterilization; preserving.  Discuss control of athlete’s foot e.g. antifungal powder. Investigate common antifungal creams, antibacterial cleaners or antibiotics.


Experiment could be carried out to look at the effects on some disinfectants or antiseptic on the growth of bacteria in Petri dishes. Pupils could produce a public health leaflet on hygiene and preventing spread of microbes.







Knows that DNA is found in the nucleus of most cells and that it contains the instructions for the development and function of living things (genetic code).

Describes a gene as a piece of DNA which controls specific characteristics in an individual and demonstrates understanding that every individual has a unique combination of genes.


Describes DNA profiling as a way of using technology to analyse DNA to see a unique pattern for an individual and gives examples of practical applications (paternity tests and forensics).


Presents reasoned arguments on the ethical implications of collection, processing, storage and ownership of genetic information or DNA profiles.

Extract DNA from e.g. kiwi or strawberries


Investigate the role of proteins in biological systems and industry e.g. antibodies, washing powders. Investigation to compare biological and non-biological washing powders


Investigate the use of DNA in profiling in forensics, paternity, archaeology, or to assess future health risks.


Carry out gel electrophoresis using the wizard DNA SSERC practical – use this to introduce the concept of DNA profiling.

Analyse pictures of DNA profiles / DNA fingerprinting.


Investigate other application of DNA profiling other than forensic use e.g. matching up family members following a natural disaster or evolution or family trees.


Class discussion / debate on the ethics of DNA profiles.




and interdependence





Describes the process of photosynthesis (using the word equation) in terms of reactants (raw materials) and products.


Applies knowledge gained from practical investigations to explain how green plants make their own food in the form of sugars and store this as starch.


Investigates and presents information on how plants help to sustain life, for example, by providing oxygen, food, habitat, raw materials and medicines.


Investigate the production of starch in leaves under different conditions or the effect of different light conditions on leaves and roots using bicarbonate indicator.


Discuss with pupils how plants obtain food. Test leaves for starch.

Ø  Look at the need for light by covering part of the leaf with a stencil.

Ø  Look at the need for chlorophyll by using a variegated leaf.

Ø  Test a leaf that has been starved of carbon dioxide.

Write the word equation for photosynthesis. Videos on photosynthesis.


Investigate factors affecting photosynthesis (rate – bubbler experiment).

Inquiry and investigative skills


Design procedures to test an hypothesis, controlling and varying an increased number of more complex variables


Present data/ information using an increasing range of ways, choosing appropriately from an extended range of tables, charts, diagrams and graphs and using suitable scales


Interpret and analyse the data and information and establish relationships between variables and link to the original hypothesis


Establish links between the findings and original questions and hypothesis or prediction. Use understanding of science concepts to explain the findings


Evaluate range of aspects of the investigation/enquiry including relevance and reliability of evidence


Communicate effectively in range of ways including orally and through scientific report writing


Inquiry and investigative skills developed throughout the variety of activities listed above.