Big idea: The cellular basis of life

Organisms are made of one or more cells, which need a supply of energy and molecules to carry out life processes.

"The cellular basis of life" is one of 15 big ideas of science in the Best Evidence Science Teaching collection. Understanding of the big idea is built up by a series of key concepts at age 11-16, which have been organised into teaching topics.

The research-informed resources for each key concept make up a progression toolkit that provides:

  • appropriately-sequenced steps for learning progression
  • diagnostic questions to reveal preconceptions and common misunderstandings
  • response activities to challenge misunderstandings and encourage conceptual development

Download teacher guidance notes for this big idea

 

 

Resources for age 11-14

Topic 1: Cells

Topic 2: From cells to organ systems

Topic 3: Biochemistry

 

Resources for age 14-16

Topic 4: Cell structure

Topic 5: Exchange and transport

  • Key concept 1
    Diffusion, osmosis and active transport

    Resources for this key concept will be uploaded in summer 2021.
  • Key concept 2
    Supplying cells – exchange surfaces and transport systems in humans

    Resources for this key concept will be uploaded in summer 2021.
  • Key concept 3
    Supplying cells – exchange surfaces and transport systems in plants

    Resources for this key concept will be uploaded in summer 2021.

Topic 6: Coordination and control

  • Key concept 1
    The human nervous system

    Resources for this key concept will be uploaded in autumn 2021.
  • Key concept 2
    The human endocrine system

    Resources for this key concept will be uploaded in autumn 2021.
  • Key concept 3
    Homeostasis

    Resources for this key concept will be uploaded in autumn 2021.

Topic 7: Biochemistry

  • Key concept 1
    Biological molecules and enzymes

    Resources for this key concept will be uploaded in summer 2022.
  • Key concept 2
    Photosynthesis and limiting factors

    Resources for this key concept will be uploaded in summer 2022.
  • Key concept 3
    Cellular respiration and ATP

    Resources for this key concept will be uploaded in summer 2022.

Is there a recommended teaching order?

The Best Evidence Science Teaching resources can be incorporated into your existing scheme of work, if desired. 

However, we have used research evidence on learning pathways and on effective sequencing of ideas to develop maps that suggest how key concepts can be sequenced to build understanding of big ideas of science. These maps can help with curriculum planning.

View the key concept map for biology