Module 1 Cells as the basis of life program

In this sample biology unit, students are introduced to the study of microbiology and the tools that scientists use in this field. These tools will be used throughout the course to assist in making predictions and solving problems of a multidisciplinary nature.

Cells are the basis of life. They coordinate activities to form colonial and multicellular organisms. Students examine the structure and function of organisms at both the cellular and tissue levels in order to describe how they facilitate the efficient provision and removal of materials to and from all cells in organisms. They are introduced to and investigate biochemical processes through the application of the Working Scientifically skills processes.

Inquiry questions

1. What distinguishes one cell from another?

2. How do cells coordinate activities within their internal environment and the external environment?

Working scientifically skills

In this module, students focus on conducting investigations to collect, process and analyse data and identify trends, patterns and relationships related to cell structure and function. Students should be provided with opportunities to engage with all Working Scientifically skills throughout the course.


A student:

  • develops and evaluates questions and hypotheses for scientific investigation BIO11/12-1
  • designs and evaluates investigations in order to obtain primary and secondary data and information BIO11/12-2
  • conducts investigations to collect valid and reliable primary and secondary data and information BIO11/12-3
  • selects and processes appropriate qualitative and quantitative data and information using a range of appropriate media BIO11/12-4
  • analyses and evaluates primary and secondary data and information BIO11/12-5
  • solves scientific problems using primary and secondary data, critical thinking skills and scientific processes BIO11/12-6
  • communicates scientific understanding using suitable language and terminology for a specific audience or purpose BIO11/12-7
  • describes single cells as the basis for all life by analysing and explaining cells’ ultrastructure and biochemical processes BIO11-8

While all Working Scientifically outcomes have been presented in this sample unit of work, teacher judgement should be used about which skill descriptors students will be working towards and engaging with.

In the sample unit of work, Working Scientifically outcomes are placed after content descriptors.


  • Formal – depth study
  • Informal – teacher and peer evaluation.


Please note:

Syllabus outcomes and content descriptors from Science Biology Stage 6 Syllabus© NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2021.

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