Year 13 Biology Core Practical
One of the pillars of British education and mantras of O Castro British School is the promotion of research and critical thinking at all educational stages. It is a way of understanding teaching and learning process in which, although the acquisition of knowledge occupies an important place, the priority is always the practical application of theory.
This is true from the age of 3 in Early Years to 18 in Bachillerato, like our students in Year 13 (the equivalent of 2nd year Baccauraleate in the Spanish system). In their Biology class they work in one of the school’s laboratories investigating the effects of light intensity, temperature and carbon dioxide availability on the rate of photosynthesis using an aquatic plant.
Year 13 consolidated their theoretical knowledge by carrying out a practical investigation with an aquatic plant, elodea. They assembled a photosynthometer with the elodea positioned under a funnel which led to fine capillary tubing, so the students were able to directly measure the volume of oxygen released during photosynthesis.
The same criterion applies to the practices in Year 12, where they had to use a semi-quantitative method with Benedict’s reagent to estimate the concentrations of reducing sugars, using colour standards. Year 12 were given a mystery to solve in this experiment. They started with a ‘known’ sample of 2% glucose solution, which they needed to dilute with distilled water, creating a series of concentrations between 0.25% and 2%. Benedict’s solution was added to these samples, generating a range of colours. They were then given an ‘unknown’ sample, which they tested with Benedict’s reagent and compared the colours to estimate the concentration.