Living World, Year 9 and 10

Make sure you are familiar with the Living world stage 4 aspects of the Living world as this stage builds on previous knowledge.


Year 9 


The master of disguise, the cephalopod.

How do multicellular organisms respond to their environment in order to maintain themselves?

LW1: Multicellular organisms rely on coordinated and interdependent internal systems to respond to changes in their environment.

Some practical activities

1. How do multicellular organisms respond to changes in their environment?
  • Senses– an “Ask the doctor” epidose from clickview. The Doctors explore our senses – Dr Shalin finds out why hearing deteriorates with age; Dr Sandro busts some myths about improving your eyesight; and Dr Renee explores the link between smell & memory.
  • Sharpen my senses– video from the ” Redesign my brain” through Clickview. Todd Sampson puts brain plasticity to the test – honing his sight, hearing and touch for an incredible challenge – to crack open a safe with a million different combinations in under an hour.
Karate, Sunset, Fight, Sports
2. Describe how the coordinated function of internal systems in multicellular organisms provides cells with requirements for life, including gases, nutrients and water, and removes cell wastes.
3. Describe the role of, and interaction between, the coordination systems in maintaining humans as functioning organisms.
4. Outline some responses of the human body to infectious and non-infectious diseases
5.Discuss, using examples, how the values and needs of contemporary society can influence the focus of scientific research, eg the occurrence of diseases affecting animals and plants, an epidemic or pandemic disease in humans or lifestyle related non-infectious diseases in humans.

Additional content is not prerequisite knowledge for the following stages, but may be used to broaden and deepen students’ skills, knowledge and understanding in Stage 5.

  • debate why any investigation relating to biological research and involving or affecting animals, must be humane, justified and ethical
  • describe the range of functions carried out by some endocrine (hormonal) glands in humans


Year 9 


Decomposers and detritivores return nutrients back into the soil and thus sustain life.

How does the cycling of nutrients affect the health of the environment? 

LW2: Conserving and maintaining the quality and sustainability of the environment requires scientific understanding of interactions within, the cycling of matter and the flow of energy through ecosystems.

  1. What makes up an ecosystem?
  2. Outline using examples how matter is cycled through ecosystems such as nitrogen This click view video on the nitrogen cycle summarises this simply. For more detail, on other cycles click here to go to Khan Academy tutorials about many other cycles.
  3. Describe how energy flows through ecosystems, including input and output through food webs

General resources 

Changes to biotic and abiotic factors affect populations of organisms living in the system

Analyse how changes in some biotic and abiotic components of an ecosystem affect populations and/or communities.

How have human interactions affected how nutrients are cycled through the environment

Why is biodiversity important? Our planet’s diverse, thriving ecosystems may seem like permanent fixtures, but they’re actually vulnerable to collapse. Jungles can become deserts, and reefs can become lifeless rocks. What makes one ecosystem strong and another weak in the face of change? Kim Preshoff details why the answer, to a large extent, is biodiversity. A TED-ed lesson.

Assess ways that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ cultural practices and knowledge of the environment contribute to the conservation and management of sustainable ecosystems.

Fire-stick farming

and a video Bill Gammage discusses ‘The Biggest Estate on Earth’

2. Medicinal plants

TwitterLaunches_IndigenousEmoji.png.img.fullhd.mediumEvaluate some examples of ecosystems, of strategies used to balance conserving, protecting and maintaining the quality and sustainability of the environment with human activities and needs.

Additional content is not prerequisite knowledge for the following stages, but may be used to broaden and deepen students’ skills, knowledge and understanding in Stage 5.

  • investigate how models can be used to predict the changes in populations due to environmental changes, eg the impact of fire or flooding, introduction of a disease or predator
  • discuss the strengths and limitations of using models to make predictions about changes in biological systems


Year 10 

Red hair and blue eyes are recessive traits  caused by mutations in genes image source

How has our understanding of genetics improved our understanding of inheritance?

LW3: Advances in scientific understanding often rely on developments in technology, and technological advances are often linked to scientific discoveries

1. Relate the organs involved in human reproductive systems to their function. Click here for a simple summary. 

2. Identify that during reproduction the transmission of heritable characteristics from one generation to the next involves DNA and genes.

3. Identify that genetic information is transferred as genes in the DNA of chromosomes

  • What are traits? 
  • Genes and Inheritance: Priests, Peas, Punnets and Pedigrees a 22-minute video by click view.
  • DNA and Inheritance a video by click view. ( 11min) DNA, genes and chromosomes are the structures containing the genetic material of humans. Find out about these structures, what happens to them during cell division or meiosis, and how genetic material is inherited. This programme contains diagrams of the DNA molecule and processes such as cell division and the use of Punnett Squares to predict offspring ratios.

  • How Mendel’s pea plants helped us understand genetics – Hortensia Jiménez Díaz a TED-ed video. Each father and mother pass down traits to their children, who inherit combinations of their dominant or recessive alleles. But how do we know so much about genetics today? Hortensia Jiménez Díaz explains how studying pea plants revealed why you may have blue eyes.

4. Outline how the Watson-Crick model of DNA explains:

 Additional Resources

Rosalind Franklin: DNA’s unsung hero – Cláudio L. Guerra a TED-ed video. The discovery of the structure of DNA was one of the most important scientific achievements in human history. The now-famous double helix is almost synonymous with Watson and Crick, two of the scientists who won the Nobel prize for figuring it out. But there’s another name you may not know: Rosalind Franklin. Cláudio L. Guerra shares the true story of the woman behind the helix.

General genetics website resources

  • National human genome research project contains many useful fact sheets regarding genetic research and information on genetics in general.
  • hereditary,genes and DNA a detailed summary of major concepts in this topic
  • Genetics website from the University of Utah. This site covers basic to advanced concepts and includes lot s of information, activities and videos.
  • This link will take you to an amazing website full of useful information for those really interested in the living world.


Additional content is not prerequisite knowledge for the following stages, but may be used to broaden and deepen students’ skills, knowledge and understanding in Stage 5.

  • assess the role of the development of fast computers in the analysis of DNA sequences
  • research into how information technology is applied in bioinformatics

What are some issues arising with increasing use of genetic biotechnologies? 

  1. describe, using examples, how developments in technology have advanced biological understanding, eg vaccines, biotechnology, stem-cell research and in-vitro fertilisation
  2. discuss some advantages and disadvantages of the use and applications of biotechnology, including social and ethical considerations
  • Why is it so hard to cure cancer? A TED-Ed video. We’ve harnessed electricity, sequenced the human genome, and eradicated smallpox. But after billions of dollars in research, we haven’t found a solution for a disease that affects more than 14 million people and their families at any given time. Why is it so difficult to cure cancer? Kyuson Yun explains the challenges.
  • Gene therapy database of resources
  • Challenges in gene therapy Gene therapy is not a new field; it has been evolving for decades. Despite the best efforts of researchers around the world, however, gene therapy has seen only limited success. Why? Gene therapy poses one of the greatest technical challenges in modern medicine. It is very hard to introduce new genes into cells of the body and keep them working. And there are financial concerns: Can a company profit from developing a gene therapy to treat a rare disorder? If not, who will develop and pay for these life-saving treatments?
  • Ethical consideration in gene therapy 
  • click view video on genetic engineering looks at some of the ethical considerations around this technology.
  • A TEDEd talk about nature v nurtur “The battle between nature and nurture | Irene Gallego Romero | TEDxNTU”
  • Epigenetics and the influence of our genes | Courtney Griffins | TEDxOU


Year 10

Natural selection in a nutshell.Image source 

Here is a video showing how bacteria can evolve resistance to antibiotics.

How is the diversity of life explained by the theory of evolution by natural selection? 

LW4: The theory of evolution by natural selection explains the diversity of living things and is supported by a range of scientific evidence.

Evidence for evolution 

Describe scientific proof that present-day organisms have evolved from organisms in the past

Relate the fossil record to the age of the Earth and the time over which life has been evolving

  • the fossil record and evidence for evolution from BBC bitesize
  • From a giant fireball to producing prokaryota, dinosaurs and eventually mammals like us, the Earth has gone through great geological change over the last 4 billion years. this video called geological time scale is from click view
  • radiocarbon dating a video from click view and more information from this website from the science learning hub in NZ with interviews of scientists and techniques relevant to aging rocks.

Natural selection – evolution through genetics and the environment.

Explain, using examples, how natural selection relates to changes in a population, eg in the development of resistance of bacteria to antibiotics and insects to pesticides

Outline the roles of genes and environmental factors in the survival of organisms in a population

General links and resources 

Additional content is not prerequisite knowledge for the following stages, but may be used to broaden and deepen students’ skills, knowledge and understanding in Stage 5.

  • describe examples of advances in science and/or emerging science and technologies, in areas that involve biological science such as dentistry, environmental science, biomedical engineering, physiology, pharmaceuticals or nanotechnology