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Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology. Practical Work Review. 1. Safety and use of apparatus. a) Students should:a) be able to comment critically on the suitability of apparatus for carrying out specific practical tasks in order to achieve measurements appropriate to the investigation

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salters nuffield advanced biology

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology

Practical Work Review

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology

1 safety and use of apparatus
1. Safety and use of apparatus

a) Students should:a) be able to comment critically on the suitability of apparatus for carrying out specific practical tasks in order to achieve measurements appropriate to the investigation

b) have an awareness of safety in the use of apparatus

c) during their practical work, consider the ethical issues arising from the use of living organisms and for the environment.

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology

a be able to comment critically on the suitability of apparatus
a) be able to comment critically on the suitability of apparatus…

 Students should consider the choice of apparatus to measure a variable.

  • e.g. using a micrometer/vernier callipers rather than a ruler because a ruler cannot be used accurately to measure lengths less than 1 mm.

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology

b have an awareness of safety in the use of apparatus
b) have an awareness of safety in the use of apparatus
  • Students should explain the reasons for using particular safety precautions or techniques.
  • These should specifically relate to the practical investigation, or to groups of similar investigations, and should not be too general.
    • e.g. the use of protective goggles to prevent accidental splashing of x into the eyes, because it is harmful to living tissue, but not, just wearing lab coats without explanation.
    • e.g. the use of aseptic technique in all aspects of microbiology to avoid contamination. Details of the various aspects of aseptic technique would be needed.
    • e.g. the use of a sand tray under the weighted fibres to prevent damage to toes when fibres break

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology

c during their practical work consider the ethical issues
c) during their practical work, consider the ethical issues ….
  • Students should consider whether it is necessary to use living organisms in their experiments.
  • If they do have to be used, it is necessary to ensure that their treatment is acceptable.
  • If carrying out ecological investigations they must consider any possible effects on the environment.

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology

2 producing reliable and valid results
2. Producing reliable and valid results

Students should:

  • a) appreciate that appropriate observations have to be made to validly test a hypothesis or idea. A hypothesis should be supported by a VERY good reason or explanation. Eg when testing the thermal stability of membranes in the beetroot experiment, a detailed description of the behaviour of the phopholipid bilayer at higher temperatures is required. Reference to the fluid mosaic model would be helpful.
  • b) appreciate that variables need to be identified, including both dependent and independent variables, and, where possible controlled or allowed for. Virtually all core pracs have an identifiable DV and IV

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology

2 producing reliable and valid results1
2. Producing reliable and valid results

Students should:

  • c) be aware that validresults are derived through precise, repeatable measurements or observations, made with apparatus and experimental procedures that are suitable for the task. Eg the use of micropipettes or graduated pipettes rather than measuring cylinders.
  • d) be aware that errors in readings can be systematic (values differing from the true value by the same amount) or random (values lying equally above or below an average value).

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology

a appreciate that appropriate observations have to be made
a) appreciate that appropriate observations have to be made
  • ‘Observations’ can be taken to include measurements.
  • Validity is the degree to which the data measure what they were intended to measure - so results are only valid if measurements correspond to the true state of the phenomenon being measured. (They are therefore accurate).If observed measurements can be compared with some accepted standard, it is possible to judge the validity of data.
  • So validity is the measure of confidence that can be placed in a conclusion.
  • The measurements taken should also be valid.
    • e.g. volume of O2 collected in 30 seconds is a valid measure of rate of catalase activity. Counting bubbles isn’t!
    • E.g.measuring change in light intensity with a light meter and data logger is a valid measure of protease activity

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology

b appreciate that valuables need to be identified
b) appreciate that valuables need to be identified…
  • The independent variable is the factor that is being varied.
  • The dependent variable is the one that the student measures in some way.
  • Any other variables that may affect the dependent variable should be controlled (kept constant) in order to produce results that are reliable.
  • Students should say HOW each variable is being controlled (eg pH, by means of a buffer solution – with pH of that solution stated)

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology

b appreciate that valuables need to be identified continued
b) appreciate that valuables need to be identified…(continued)

Students should

  • say HOW each variable is being controlled (eg pH, by means of a buffer solution – with pH of that solution stated, or temperature, by means of an electronic water bath)
  • Explain the effects of NOT controlling a key variable – in detail. Eg not controlling temperature in an enzyme-related experiment will result in DENATURATION of the enzyme because it is a protein. If the protein is denatured, the shape of the active site is changed and neither ‘induced fit’ of enzyme and substrate, nor ‘lock and key’ will result in successful enzyme-substrate complexes

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology

c be aware that valid results are derived through precise repeatable measurements
c) be aware that valid results are derived through precise, repeatable measurements …..
  • Reliability is a measure of the confidence in a set of measurements or observations.
    • This depends on the number of measurements or observations that were taken.
    • Ideally a large number of replicates (repeat measurements) should be taken, and any results that vary considerably from the others should be repeated or discounted.
    • A mean can be calculated to be representative of the set of results.

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology

c be aware that valid results are derived through precise repeatable measurements1
c) be aware that valid results are derived through precise, repeatable measurements …..
  • To be reliable measurements should also be accurate.
  • To be accurate a measurement should be close to the true value.
  • Precision is that part of accuracy that is in the control of the student.
  • Precision involves the choice of apparatus and the skill with which it is used.

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology

d be aware that errors in readings can be systematic or random
d) be aware that errors in readings can be systematic or random
  • Systematic error
    • values differing from the true value by the same amount
  • Systematic errors may be the result of the student not knowing how to use a piece of apparatus correctly.
    • e.g. parallax errors when reading scales on pipettes or thermometers, or not calibrating a colorimeter before use.

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology

d be aware that errors in readings can be systematic or random1
d) be aware that errors in readings can be systematic or random
  • Random error
    • values lying equally above or below an average value
  • Random errors can occur if the student’s concentration wanes during a long series of measurements.
    • The use of an appropriate sensor and a data logger can reduce this and introduce objectivity.
  • Random errors can also be the result of variation in biological material.

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology

3 significance of results data
3. Significance of results /data
  • Students should realise that the significance of differences or trends within data is dependent on the degree of error within the experiment.

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology

realise that the significance of differences or trends within data
realise that the significance of differences or trends within data…..
  • In a set of replicate results, there is likely to be some variation.
  • This can be quantified by the range, standard deviation or standard error
  • The greater the variation in the replicates, the greater the ‘degree of error’.
  • The greater the degree of error, the lower the significance of any trends in the results.

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology

4 presenting data
4. Presenting data
  • Students should be able to discuss the most appropriate methods for presenting data in order to identify trends and patterns closely, and to an appropriate degree of accuracy.

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology

be able to discuss the most appropriate methods for presenting data in
be able to discuss the most appropriate methods for presenting data in…..
  • Tables
  • Graphs
    • Bar chart
    • Pie chart
    • Histogram
    • Line graph
  • See Biological Nomenclature IOB

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology

tables
Tables
  • An informative title.
  • The first column containing the independent variable.
  • The second and subsequent columns should contain the dependent variables
  • Informative column headings.
  • Units in heading, not next to the numerical data.
  • Additional columns can be added to include calculations based on raw data such as %, rates etc.

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology

graphs
Graphs
  • A graph is a visual representation of data. Trends and patterns are often more easily seen in a graph, and anomalies more easily identified.
  • The student should decide on appropriate scales, and whether to start a scale at zero or some other value.
  • The most appropriate type of graph should be chosen to accurately represent data, i.e. bar chart, histogram or line graph.

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology

bar chart
Bar chart
  • A bar chart is to be used when the independent variable is non-numerical or discontinuous,
  • e.g. the percentage of cells undergoing stages of mitosis

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology

pie chart
Pie chart
  • A pie chart can be used to display data that are proportions or percentages.
  • There should be labels or a key.
  • Ideally no more than 6-7 sectors, otherwise than can be confusing

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology

histogram
Histogram
  • A histogram is to be used when the independent variable is numerical and the data are continuous, but classified into groups.
    • e.g. number of leaves of different lengths.

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology

line graph
Line graph
  • A line graph is used to show the relationships in data, which are not immediately obvious from tables.
  • Both the dependent and independent variables are continuous.
  • LOBF or joining points (as the case may be) should be justified

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology

5 using results to draw conclusions
5. Using results to draw conclusions
  • Students should appreciate that statements, explaining the trends and patterns in data from an investigation, should be supported by evidence from the data and their own biological knowledge.
  • The reliability of a conclusion is dependent of the experimental method used and the validity of the results obtained.

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology