A level Biology activities June 2014


The first lesson after the AS exams was a surprise to the AS biology students as they were to be volunteers in a research project for the University of Hertfordshire, Pharmacology Department. The bottom line was it didn’t hurt! The top line was it was fun and, most importantly, the findings could be useful in the development of drugs to prevent conditions of the skin. The PhD student who conducted the research demonstrated the scientific skills which we teach, such as fair testing, and explained how the method was conducted so that the results would be valid and reliable. Science was definitely in action and we were part of it.


Mrs Hayward



Trip to the Natural History Museum

The students looked at the pentadactyl limb, researched interesting facts about the human body and looked at ‘science in action’ at the Cocoon.



The pentadactyl limb has evolved in thousands of different ways due to the different uses it has depending on the animal it is attached too. The pentadactyl limb exists in animals from dolphin to horse to bat, animals which each use the same limb in a completely different way. Every pentadactyl limb has the same base structure of five digits but they all look very different and also do very different things. This is all because of evolution.

The pentadactyl limb has 5 digits on the hand and foot. It also has a specific pattern of bones.

The structure of a human arm includes a bone between the shoulder and the elbow called the humerus. Below the elbow are 2 other bones, the radius and the ulna, followed by a set of wrist bones and then the 5-digit fingers and toes. This is an example of a pentadactyl limb.

The pentadactyl limb is common to humans, other mammals (although whales and dolphins have lost their hind limbs), birds, dinosaurs, and other reptiles and amphibians.


100 Very Cool Facts About The Human Body






Immerse yourself in the Cocoon experience in the Darwin Centre. Marvel at huge wall displays and projections as you journey through the futuristic building.

Interact with the science of nature like never before in the state-of-the-art cocoon building. Take a self-guided tour and witness real specimens, incredible displays and animated interactive activities. Get up close to scientists at work.

Entrance is free

Duration: approximately 45 minutes.

No advance booking is required.

The Cocoon experience begins on the 7th floor of the building, which is reached by glass lift. The journey takes you down 2 floors on several levels and you exit on the 5th floor.

At the core of Cocoon are the Museum’s vital plant and insect collections that go back 400 years to the Museum’s origins. View some of our most historic specimens and books for the first time in the historical display area at the start of the tour. Learn about great collectors and naturalists. Turn pages of virtual herbarium sheets and see exquisite 17th-century illustrations.


Rare herbarium book


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