Human biology covers a wide range of ideas relating to the functioning human. Students learn about themselves, relating structure to function and how integrated regulation allows individuals to survive in a changing environment. They research new discoveries that are increasing our understanding of the causes of dysfunction, which can lead to new treatments and preventative measures. Reproduction is studied to understand the sources of variation that make each of us unique individuals. Through a combination of classical genetics, and advances in molecular genetics, dynamic new biotechnological processes have resulted. Population genetics is studied to highlight the longer term changes leading to natural selection and evolution of our species.
As a science, the subject matter of this course is founded on knowledge and understanding that has been gained through systematic inquiry and scientific research. However, this knowledge is far from complete and is being modified and expanded as new discoveries and advancements are made. Students develop their understanding of the cumulative and evolving nature of scientific knowledge and the ways in which such knowledge is obtained through scientific investigations. They learn to think critically, to evaluate evidence, to solve problems and to communicate understandings in scientific ways.
An understanding of human biology is valuable for a variety of career paths. The course content deals directly and indirectly with many different occupations in fields, such as science education, medical and paramedical fields, food and hospitality, childcare, sport and social work. Appreciation of the range and scope of such professions broadens their horizons and enables them to make informed choices. This helps to prepare all students, regardless of their background or career aspirations, to take their place as responsible citizens in society.
The Year 11 syllabus is divided into two units, each of one semester duration.
Unit 1 – The functioning human body
This unit looks at how human structure and function supports cellular metabolism and how lifestyle choices affect body functioning.
Unit 2 – Reproduction and inheritance
This unit explores the mechanisms of transmission of genetic materials to the next generation, the role of males and females in reproduction, and how interactions between genetics and the environment influence early development.
The Year 12 syllabus is divided into two units, each of one semester duration.
Unit 3 – Homeostasis and disease
This unit explores the nervous and endocrine systems and the mechanisms that help maintain the systems of the body to function within normal range, and the body’s immune responses to invading pathogens.
Unit 4 – Human variation and evolution
This unit explores the variations in humans in their changing environment and evolutionary trends in hominids.