Biology at Mount Kenya Academy is offered in both IGCSE and KCSE curricular at O level. This Department aims to nurture and stimulate an interest in and respect for the Natural World. Biology is quite popular at the school, given that many of our students opt to take it at both IGCSE and KCSE. Our main objective is to enable the learner appreciate the environmental problems and develop workable solutions besides having a good understanding of ourselves.
Mount Kenya academy has a well-equipped specialist Biology laboratory, together with a prep room. The Department is well resourced with the necessary equipment to carry out student-centred practical investigations, which form an integral part of the learning process at Mount Kenya. The School is lucky to be located on the foothills of Mount Kenya and therefore we have ready access to the wild, very necessary for the study of Biology.
Biology is taught throughout the school as a separate science from Years 9 to 11.The IGCSE course runs from Years 9 to 11. The Department follows the Cambridge International Examinations specifications (codes 0610). IGCSE places an increasing emphasis on the applications of Biology in today’s society and issues such as the causes of heart disease, methods of birth control, genetic engineering and the ecological impact of humans on the environment are investigated. Experimental work forms an integral part of the course.
Biology in Year 9
Students join Mount Kenya Academy in Year 9 and participate in three lessons of Biology every two weeks. The IGCSE Biology course begins in Year 9 and the topics of Characteristics of Living Organisms, Cell Structure and Organization, Enzymes, and Movement In and Out of Cells are learnt.
The Year 9 Biology course is assessed at the end of Year 9 with an end-of-year examination, in which students complete two papers comprising multiple-choice questions and structured questions with a weighting of approximately 30% and 70% respectively.
Biology in Year 10
At the end of Year 9 a good number of the students decide to carry on with IGCSE Biology into Years 10 and 11. The lesson hours double from 1 and a half to about three hours of Biology per week. In Year 10 the topics are plant and animal nutrition, Transport in Plants and Humans, Respiration, Gaseous Exchange and co-ordination in Plants are covered. The Year 10 Biology course is assessed at the end of Year 10 with an end-of-year examination, in which students complete three papers comprising multiple-choice questions, structured questions and practical questions with a weighting of 30%, 50% and 20% respectively.
Biology in Year 11
In Year 11, the topics of Sexual Reproduction, Growth and Development, Inheritance, Excretion, Homeostasis, Coordination and Control are mastered. The IGCSE Mock examinations are taken in January after which the decision whether to take the easier Core or the more challenging extended exam is made. At the end of the course CIE IGCSE Biology is examined as follows: Paper 1 multiple choice (core and extended) 45 minutes Paper 2 structured short answer (core only) 1 hour 15 minutes Paper 3 structured short answer (extended only) 1 hour 15 minutes Paper 5 practical test (core and extended) 1 hour 15 minutes
In the KCSE curriculum, Biology is taught from form one to form four.
In form one the topics that are covered include cell organization, movement in and out of the cell, plant and animal nutrition. At the end of the year the students sit one theory paper.
In form two we cover transport in plants and animals, gaseous exchange, respiration and excretion. At the end of form two, the students are allowed to choose to proceed with Biology at form 4 based on their performance in the end of year exam which is a theory paper weighing 100%
In form three the work covered include classification, reproduction in both plants and animals and growth and development. At the end of the year they sit two paper, a theory and practical paper weighing 60% and 40% respectively.
In the final year Form 4, the students cover genetics, evolution co-ordination and support and movement. In the month of March they sit a pre-mock exam comprising three papers: - Paper 1, paper 2 and a practical paper 3 weighing 30%, 30% and 40% respectively. This is also repeated in July as they sit the mock exams
During the course, all students are expected to cover the work required for the extended examination. However, some students are recommended to sit the easier core exam once the results of their mock exam are known.The school uses a combination of highly experienced and trained teaching staff as well as up to date lab equipment to enhance the students learning environment. The Teaching study is greatly supported by an equally well trained and experienced lab technician not to mention a group of highly motivated students.
The department is working towards making Biology as alive as can be by incorporating Biology into every aspect of life. This is achieved mainly during trips and trail walks away and around the school compound. This has also gone a long way in improving their skills in making observations, collecting and analysing data. The career talks we have from time to time have enabled the students realize that the Biology related field is wider that we all had visualized. There is more out there. We are training Genetic engineers, neurosurgeons and other great Biology related career persons.