ASHS Coursebook: 2BIO (Level 2 Biology)

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Information icon.svg 2BIO
NCEA Level:
Primary Qualification:
Primary Learning Area:

What is this course about?

Through studying biology you will develop the scientific literacy needed to be a critical citizen in your everyday life, and through this develop the skills, attitudes, and relevant content knowledge needed in preparation for further study and science related careers. You will come to understand that:

  • Biology is the scientific study of living things. Life is incredibly varied, yet based on common processes.
  • Biologists – and students studying biology – seek evidence to explain the nature of living things, and to understand where and how life is evolving, how evolution links life processes and ecology, and the impact that humans have on all forms of life.
  • Biology explores the interconnectedness of all living things and the environment. Through learning in biology, students discover that life involves interactions at all levels of organisation: cells interact with their environment and with each other, so do organs, organisms and ecosystems. No living thing exists in isolation from its environment.

What will I learn?

You will learn about the Nature of Science and how it is relevant to citizenship, further study, and biology related careers through the following big ideas in biology:

  • All organisms share a common set of essential life processes

Because of their shared evolutionary history, all organisms share a common set of essential life processes (movement, respiration, sensitivity, growth, reproduction, excretion, and nutrition) and use the same genetic system to maintain continuity.

  • Organisms interact with each other and with their environment

Living systems are organised and regulate themselves at the cell, organism, and ecosystem levels. Each of these dynamic systems maintains stability in response to a changing environment and their responses impact in turn upon the environment.

  • Species arise, change, and become extinct over time

Evolution results in diverse adaptations to ensure survival. This diversity allows organisms to occupy different niches within an ecosystem.

  • Genetics maintain continuity plus allow for change

The inherited sequence of DNA underlies an organism's phenotype such as shape or blood type. Heritable mutations allow evolution or genetic change over time.

What sorts of things will I do?

You will be involved in the active exploration of what biology is, and how biologists use a range of approaches and perspectives when viewing problems or issues through:

  • Connecting your new ideas to current and historical scientific knowledge and present their findings for peer review and debate
  • Developing your understanding of the relationship between investigations and scientific theories and models through investigations
  • Evaluating accounts of the natural world and considering the wider implications of the methods of communication and/or representation employed
  • Developing a coherent understanding of socio-scientific issues to identify possible responses at both personal and societal levels

What standards are covered by the course?

These are the standards offered for the 2017 course.


Summary of standards:
NCEA Level Standard Number Name of standard

Version Number

Credits Assessment Timing of assessment NCEA Numeracy*
Carry out a practical investigation in a biology context, with supervision 2 4 Internal Term 1
AS91156 Demonstrate understanding of life processes at a cellular level 2 4
External Prelim exam:

Week 9, Term 3

NCEA exam:


2 AS91155 Demonstrate understanding of adaptation of plants or animals to their way of life 2 3 Internal Term 2 N
AS91158 Investigate a pattern in an ecological community, with supervision 2 4
Term 2 N
2 AS91157 Demonstrate understanding of genetic variation and change 2 4 External Prelim exam:

Week 9, Term 3

NCEA exam:



Total available credits: 19

  • Note:  None of the standards in Level 2 Biology contribute to the literacy requirements for university entrance from 2014.

Course Endorsement

A merit or excellence course endorsement for Biology may be obtained by completing 14 credits in the above standards at merit or above for merit course endorsement, or 14 credits at excellence for excellence course endorsement. The 14 credits must include at least 3 external credits, and must be completed in the same school year. More information about NCEA course endorsements is available here:

Vocational Pathways

Vocational Pathways provide a framework for students to show how their learning and achievement is valued in the workplace by aligning learning to the skills needed for industry.

Follow this link to see the profiles for this course.

Assessment Calendar

Link to the ASHS Assessment Calendars

Frequently asked questions?

What do I need to be able to successfully complete level 2 Biology?

  • It is highly recommended that students have quality level 1 science credits including the genetics external.
  • The ability to communicate ideas clearly through both written and visual means.
  • An interest in the living world and science in general.

What resources are recommended?

  • It is highly recommended that students have their own internet and word processing capable device (a cell phone is not sufficient).
  • You will be given access to digital course materials and resources through google classroom.
  • There are a variety of other textbooks and revision guides available at the school library.

What stationary, do I need?

The usual basic stationary and:

  • a 2B8 hardcover lecture book
  • a 20 page clearfile
  • a scientific calculator