I have now completed a fully animated PowerPoint for topic 5 of Edexcel A Level Biology B. This covers the biochemical processes of cellular respiration and photosynthesis. You can view a sample of the PowerPoint here:
It is probably my most advanced presentation to date, with complex animations for the electron transport chain and photophosphorylation.
It is designed for the Edexcel syllabus but would be a suitable resource for any A Level or post 16 biology course.
Even better, I am now working hard to produce teaching videos for all my topics. These feature stripped back versions of the PowerPoint with my explanations. The playlists for respiration and Photosynthesis can be found here.
Some of the hardest questions in IGCSE Biology are the 6 marker questions and the paper nearly always finishes with one which is more than often about carrying out an experiment. As there is no coursework for this course they must make sure they test you on your experimental knowledge throughout the paper.
If you can master these questions you are giving yourself a good chance of achieving a top grade.
In my new revision resource I have written 10 original example 6 marker questions followed by a mark scheme for each one. You can download it here:
Note carefully how many of the answers are looking for the same things, especially in the practical questions. The key is to think about the variables.
Remember that the aspect the scientist is altering is the independent variable. Whatever they measure or record in the experiment is the dependent variable and all other variables in the experiment must be controlled. If you explain how to vary the independent variable, how specifically to measure the dependent variable and how to control the other variables then you should do well.
It looks like mrexham.com will be specifically making resources for the Edexcel Biology B course starting in 2015. Many of the courses have overlapping topics so many of the resources will be relevant for other courses as well. For now please enjoy this useful outline I have made for the Edexcel Biology B course.
By now I’m sure you will have all looked at the various options for which specification to choose from. For my department the first question was did we want to choose a context based or content based course. The traditional courses are content led, this means that the topics are discreet and are just taught as individual topics, rather than the context based courses which give a context to each section of the specification. For example, the context may be the blood and you would teach various topics from that context, such as cells, immunity and hormones.
As teachers we always give context to what we are teaching and in this way the content based courses are more flexible as you can arrange topics how you want and apply your own contexts where relevant. However, the content in the context based courses seems to be more current and interesting.
Once you decide which approach to take, the task of deciding which exam board to choose is actually quite tricky. Now that coursework as such has been removed from the qualification, the differences between the options are very slight. The content is much the same across all exam boards and so it just comes down to the type of assessment, style, resources, loyalty and personal preference.
Please fill in this poll and write in the comments your opinions and thoughts regarding this important decision.
I have been meaning to write this post for a while in order to let you know what the plans are going forward for mrexham.com, and this week seemed like as good a time as any with the GCSE results coming out and a new academic year starting.
Firstly I would like to thank everyone who has used the website in the last year, I have received some great emails and tweets and I am really glad that it’s been useful to so many people. I’ve now decided to take mrexham.com in a few different directions. Firstly I am making some of my key resources, which take the most time and effort to make, available to purchase through sellfy.com. This has meant spending more time on these resources to make them as clear and informative as possible, and it has also given me the impetus to make more of them! There will soon be a PowerPoint for each section of the IGCSE course along with revision quizzes.
I will continue to make free resources as well, including Quizlets, revision sheets, YouTube dissections, practical demonstrations, worksheets and I also intend to write Socrative quizzes for teachers.
Given that there will be a new A-Level starting in 2015 (read the Ofqual announcement here) I will no longer be adding to the current A-Level pages and resources. Instead I will focus on making new resources ready for the launch of the new linear A-Level next year. I will also be blogging about the various courses and exam boards offering Biology A-Level as my department make their decision about which to choose.
Thank you once again for all the positive feedback and please let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to see on mrexham.com!