Unit 6 notes for biology A2 level edexcel.

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Unit 6 notes for biology A2 level edexcel.

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WBI06

Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Total marks: 50

Number of questions: 3

There are 8 Core Practicals at A2 and these includes:

Unit 4: core practicals

1. Describe how to study the ecology of a habitat e.g.

Does the abundance of a particular species vary with a

change of a particular biotic factor or abiotic factor?

Does the pattern of vegetation change as you move from

one point to another?

2. Describe how to investigate the effect of temperature on the

development of organisms. E.g. Seedling growth or hatching

success rate of brine shrimps eggs.

3. PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction)

4. DNA PROFILNG

5. Investigating the strength of antibiotics

Unit 5: Core practicals

6. Describe how to investigate rate of respiration practically using

simple respirometers

7. Investigate the effect of exercise on tidal volume and breathing

using spirometers

8. Investigate habituation to a stimulus e.g. using snails

Note: AS core practicals may also be included e.g. May 2010 paper

had beetroot experiment

or null hypothesis for investigations.

A hypothesis is a testable scientific prediction. Think of them

as questions to be answered in an investigation.

The null hypothesis is the reverse of the hypothesis. It forms

the basis of statistical tests and is either rejected or accepted in

these tests

Null hypothesis always begins with, there is no significant

difference between or there is no significant correlation

between

Know the practical procedures of each core practical

Independent and dependent variable

Controlled variables

Errors: Identify systematic and random errors

Anomalous results

Reliability Issues

Validity Issues

Question 2

This second question is a data based question.

Students may be required to suggest a suitable hypothesis/null

hypothesis (read revision guide page 88)

The student should be able to tabulate data ( page 87)

Calculate means

Present the data in suitable graphical form (page 87)

Apply a statistical test ( notes below & page 88)

The student should be able to explain the meaning of any

calculated test statistic in terms of 5% significance limits.

5% significance level which is also written as p= 0.05means

that there are 5 chances in 100 that the result obtained in an

investigation could occur even if there was no difference

between two data sets

All biological investigations are based on 5% significance

levels or 95% confidence level

Types of statistical tests

You are not expected to know the formulae or fine details of each

test but you should concentrate on selecting the correct type of

test and demonstrate your understanding of how to interpret the

results

There are three main statistical tests

1.

2.

3.

4.

Students T test

Mann- Whitney U test

Spearmans Rank Correlation test

Chi-squared test

1. Students T test

This is used to measure the amount of overlap between two

data sets.

It tests whether there is significance difference in means between

two data sets e.g. the difference between the mean lengths of

leaves in a shaded site and a sun exposed site.

The calculated t value is compared against the critical value at

5% significance level for the number of degrees of freedom (d.f.). d.f

= na+nb-2 where n is the number of samples

If the calculated t value is larger than the critical value, we

reject the null hypothesis and accept the alternate hypothesis

that there is a significant difference between the means of the two

data sets.

Example 1

A t test was applied to test whether there is a significance difference

between mean of red blood cells of athletes before and after

training in a highland.

ANSWER

Example 2

Answer

The Mann Whitney U test whether there is a significance

difference between medians of two data sets. E.g. The density of

blue bells at two sites of a rocky show.

Then a formula is used to calculate U values i.e. U 1 and U2

The smallest U value is compared against the critical values which

are given in a table at 5% significance.

If the smallest U value is less than or equal to the critical value

we reject the null hypothesis, and accept the alternate

of two data sets.

3. Spearman rank correlation test (rs)

This test is used to look for correlations between two variables i.e.

the independent and dependent variables in an investigation.

In a correlation, a change in one variable/factor is reflected in

change of another factor i.e. when one increases the other factor

increases or decreases.

E.g. whether there is correlation between increasing the temperature

and enzyme activity.

There is a formula used to calculate r s value which is then compared

against critical value at 5% significance level. The formula is always

given and a table of critical values is also given in a table.

If the rsvalue is greater than or equal to the critical value for

the number of samples, then we reject the null hypothesis,

and accept the hypothesis that states that there is a significant

correlation between two variables.

Example:

Answer

6

4. CHI-SQUARED TEST (X)

- It is used to test for goodness of fit, that is, how the observed

and expected values compare i.e. one must have expected

values so that during the investigation the observed values are

compared with expected values.

- The requirements for the X test are:

The chi-squared value which is always given

Degree of freedom (n-1)

Confidence level = 95%

Critical value which is obtained from the table using

significance level (5%) and degree of freedom (DF).

If the X value is more than or equal to critical value,

reject the null hypothesis and vice versa.

Question 3: Planning Question.

This Question requires the student to describe issues relating to

planning of scientific investigations.

The candidates are required to give answers under the following

headings

(a)

-A consideration of sampling techniques to be

employed in the investigation if it is a field

investigation.

-There are only two types of sampling

1. Random sampling using quadrats

2. Systematic sampling using line transects.

issues of the proposed method.

The most potential safety hazards of the investigation are

described and the steps to minimize them are also identified.

- Consider use of lab-coats for protection against

paints/dyes/biting insects/scratches from bushes, etc.

- Consider use of goggles for eye protection

- Consider use of gloves to protect from sharp cutting objects/

holding toxic or hazardous substances

- Use gumboots in slippery and wet areas

- Use sterile apparatus in microbial experiments and nutrient

agar solutions

NOTE: All animal experiments raise ethical issues

- This question requires the student to suggest and describe

the preliminary work to be undertaken. This is like a trial

investigation or a pilot study meant to ensure the proposed

method works. If its a laboratory investigation the method

should be tried out and if it is a field work the site should be

visited and the proposed sampling technique tried out. This

is done :

- to determine the independent variable

- to determine the dependent variable

- identify variables to be controlled i.e. kept constant

- determine the time scales

Examples

(b)

This part of the question requires the student to give a

detailed method and explanations of how important variables

are to be controlled.

- A clear statement of the dependent variable is given i.e.

exactly what is to be measured.

- A clear statement of the independent variable is stated

- The range of the independent variables is suggested.

- A clear consideration of the time over which the

investigation is to be carried out.

- Suitable details of how the measurements are taken or

how data is collected.

- At least two variables that can affect the investigation

are identified.

- A description of how the above to variables are

controlled.

- The investigation must be repeated for reliability.

- The total mark for the question is 10 which includes 2

marks for SPG (Spelling and Grammar)

(c)

This part of the question requires the student to give a

clear explanation of how the data are to be recorded,

presented and analyzed in order to draw conclusions.

- The student is expected to draw a table of results which

matches the proposed method.

- The tables should have clear headings and units.

- The means should be calculated from the repeated data.

- A suitable graph, a line or a bar graph, should be drawn

with correctly labeled axes.

- The student should make reference to a suitable statistical

test e.g. a t-test or a Mann-Whitney for significant

difference, a Spearmans Rank test for correlations, or Chi

test goodness of fit.

(e) This question requires the student to give limitations for

method of investigation used.

- Limitations are genuine difficulties or factors that the

investigator cannot be able to control.

Examples:

- If you are comparing two areas in ecology, its difficult to

match the conditions on both sites.

- It is difficult to control environmental conditions

- Its difficult to control movement of animals.

- Controlling fitness or health levels of organisms.

- If experiment is done in the laboratory its difficult to

match the natural conditions in the natural wild

conditions

- Difficult to control genetic variations within organisms.

- Difficult to control all variables affecting a particular

dependent variable.

Good luck.

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