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91153: Carry out a practical investigation in a biology context, with supervision
Updated February 2014. This document has been updated in its entirety to address new issues that have arisen as a result of the external moderation process.
‘Supervision’ means that the context and broad experimental conditions can be provided. It involves managing the sharing of others’ findings to ensure that sufficient data is collected by a range of students, or is provided by the teacher. An individual discussion with students in order to clarify their ideas in the planning stage is permitted.
The investigation can be a:
- fair test (e.g. the manipulation of a variable such as temperature in an enzyme investigation), or
- pattern/relationship (e.g. a field study of a population or community), or
- model (e.g. diffusion using agar jelly containing an indicator).
Students develop and complete their own, single investigation covering the complete process of planning, carrying out, processing and interpreting data, and reporting. Students can also:
- plan and carry out the investigation as a group for manageability. The teacher must provide written verification that each student has actively participated and recorded their own data, e.g. by submitting a class grid which indicates whether these requirements have been met
- have access to their portfolio of biological ideas and concepts learned during the teaching of the relevant context as they write their report.
The purpose must be re-written as a hypothesis linked to a scientific concept or idea. The conclusion is based on the trend (or absence) shown in the processed data, relevant to the purpose (and hypothesis), rather than just a summary of this data.
Findings of others are provided by the teacher, usually 2-3 sources, and must not include information which gives direction on developing the investigation. The sources provided as findings of others may include:
- qualitative information like diagrams/graphics from scientific reports, published textbooks e.g. the wilting of plants if excessive fertilizer is added
- quantitative information e.g. graphs, tables, statistical data from scientific reports, published textbooks, previous student grouped data or shared data.
In-depth and comprehensive investigations require a discussion of the biological ideas based on the findings and those from other source(s). For Excellence, the evidence explaining a valid conclusion based on relevant biology ideas can also be found in the discussion based on the student’s findings and those from the other source(s).
Dual Assessment with 91158 requires a task and assessment schedule for each investigation. Refer to the 91158 Clarifications document.