Biology Unit 3 and 4


Biology is the study of life, both past and present. In this study you will learn about how cells maintain life and how life changes over time. You will learn how cells communicate, respond and regulate; about biochemical reactions in processes such as photosynthesis and respiration; and about the nature of the immune system. You will also learn how life changes and responds to challenges over time, the mechanisms, evidence for, and human impact on evolution. You will undertake a number of experiments to explore the forces at work in the cells. The skills and knowledge that you gain by performing these experiments will culminate with a major investigation project where you design and run your own experiment.

Who is it for?

This subject is for students who are interested in a pursuing higher education in botany, genetics, immunology, microbiology, pharmacology and zoology. What you learn in this subject can be applied in many fields of endeavour including biotechnology, dentistry, ecology, education, food science, forestry, healthcare, horticulture, medicine, optometry, physiotherapy and veterinary science. Biologists also work in cross-disciplinary areas such as bushfire research, environmental management and conservation, forensic science, geology, medical research and sports science.

What do you do?

Students who complete Biology Units 3 and 4 will participate in a range of activity types including:

  • practical investigations and the keeping of a lab diary
  • online interactives
  • online lessons
  • forums
  • development of a study resource
  • quizzes
  • development of a structured scientific poster.

What skills do you need?

To be successful in this subject you need some understanding of how to conduct a scientific experiment.

What skills do you develop?

Students acquire knowledge and skills of inquiry that help them to examine critically issues that arise in their own lives and in the public domain, to contribute to debate and to take part in making decisions about their own health and wellbeing and that of society. They build an understanding of the interconnectedness of all living things and their environment. The values and attributes that students develop will help them to recognise the strengths and limitations of science, respect evidence and be sensitive to differences in views and beliefs held by others. They will be able to work collaboratively and yet state their own views from an informed position.




You must have access to the internet in order to access this course. All weekly work will be completed and submitted online. Students require access to laboratory facilities to complete Unit 3 satisfactorily. If you are unable to use a laboratory at your school or workplace you will need to attend the VSV laboratory in Thornbury on a designated day in Semester 1.

Biozone Biology for VCE Units 3&4: Student Workbook, Biozone, 2016

Things to think about

Before attempting this study, students should have some knowledge of how to design, conduct and report on practical investigations including the ability to design hypotheses and experiments and analyse data.
It is of benefit if they also have knowledge of:

  • cell structure
  • cell functioning – specialised parts of cells and their functions; biochemical processes including photosynthesis and cellular resiration; general role of enzymes
  • composition of cells – major groups of organic and inorganic substances including carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, water, minerals, vitamins; their general role in cell structure and function
  • internal and external environments of cells – plasma membranes; membrane transport including diffusion, osmosis, active transport; surface area to volume ratio
  • cell replication – purposes of cell replication (mitosis and cytokinesis); cell growth, cell size and cell division.
  • structural adaptations – relating major features of organisms to survival value.

Things you can do now

Brush up on your Biology with the Khan Academy Biology course. This course covers a lot of the topics mentioned in the ‘Things to think about’ section. If you have not completed Units 1 and 2 VCE Biology, this resource will help you get up to speed for Units 3 and 4 Biology.




Things to have a look at


Gene Technology Access Center
You can check out some great Biology resources on this site.

Learn Genetics

Explore, study and play – topics include Genetics, Cell biology, Evolution and Human Health. You can also play with a few Virtual Labs that we use in our courses.

Biology 2e

Openstax Biology 2e is a free online Biology textbook.