Welcome to IB Biology!
This class is a university-level introductory biology course offered at standard level (SL) and higher level (HL). The content of the IB Biology syllabus consists of 6 core topics at standard level, plus 5 additional topics for students enrolled in the higher level course, and one of four options for all students.
The headings below link to Google Drive folders I have created for each topic and subtopic. Because there is such a wealth of IB Biology resources globally, I generally use other educators’ presentations and study guides as support material. (Why reinvent the wheel?) I can’t take responsibility for the vast majority of the IB Biology resources available here. Chris Paine, Assistant Head of Science at Dulwich College in Shanghai and author of the extraordinary biology Weebly Bioknowledgy, is responsible for most of the materials we use in my classes. I’ve simply amended them in a few places and converted some of his files to the Google Docs format to simplify sharing through our Google Classroom platform. In particular, I would like to thank Chris Paine in Shanghai for so generously sharing his incredible Slideshare presentations, revision notes, and Bioknowledgy weebly site.
The core topics in IB Biology are as follows:
- Topic 1 – Cell biology
- Topic 2 – Molecular biology
- Topic 3 – Genetics
- Topic 4 – Ecology
- Topic 5 – Evolution and biodiversity
- Topic 6 – Human physiology
The additional higher level topics in IB Biology are:
- Topic 7 – Nucleic acids
- Topic 8 – Metabolism, cell respiration, and photosynthesis
- Topic 9 – Plant biology
- Topic 10 – Genetics and evolution
- Topic 11 – Animal physiology
IB Biology also includes a study of at least one of four options. Each option may be studied at both the standard level and the higher level.
- Option A: Neurobiology and behavior
- Option B: Biotechnology and bioinformatics
- Option C: Ecology and conservation
- Option D: Human physiology
Because my undergraduate degree is in ecology and resource conservation, I will strongly encourage all students in my class to take Option C – Ecology and conservation. If a student is determined to study one of the other three options, s/he may; however, s/he will be working largely on his or her own with somewhat limited input from me as I support the rest of the class. Students studying options independently have historically performed poorly on their IB Exams at the end of 12th grade.
At the start of the final year of the Diploma Program, students conduct an independent, in-depth investigation into a subject of their choosing. This Personal Exploration accounts for the Internal Assessment portion of a student’s overall grade in IB Biology.
A deep understanding of the IB command prompts is critical for success on the IB Biology exam at the end of the course. Knowing how to answer a question is almost as important as knowing the answer itself. Here’s a great presentation from master IB Biology teacher Stephen Taylor: