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Life Sciences 11

Life Sciences 11 Course Overview

Big Ideas

Life is a result of interactions at the molecular and cellular levels.

Evolution occurs at the population level.

Organisms are grouped based on common characteristics.



In this course, we focus on the diversity of life. We start by exploring experimental design and then classification of life. We explore ecological interactions and the process of evolution. We look at life on the microscopic scale with prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms, and then on the macroscopic scale exploring the world of plants and animals. We will learn about evolutionary trends in complexity, while developing an appreciation for the incredible biodiversity on this planet. There are a few virtual labs in this course as well as some “at home” hands on components.

Where does this course fit?

  • Pre-requisite: Science 10
  • Graduation Status: One of the Grade 11/12 Science options required for graduation

Course Materials

  • This course uses the following textbook: Biology by Miller & Levine. This book is not mandatory to succeed in this course as there are online alternatives that also provide adequate information. Those alternatives are listed in the course introduction. The course notes are also adequate although  most students find that doing the supplemental readings from this text have a positive impact on their level of understanding 
  • You may pick up this textbook at the Vancouver Learning Network.  There is a $150.00 refundable deposit to borrow a copy of this resource. 

Brief Outline 

Course Module


1) Experimental Design and taxonomy

  • Basic experimental design principles (hypotheses, variables, validity, scientific method)
  • Taxonomic systems (Linnaeus, contemporary systems, cladistics, dichotomous keys)

2) Evolution

  • Natural selection (Darwin, what is evolution,)
  • Contemporary understanding (DNA, evidence of evolution, agents of change, rates of evolution, speciation)
  • Types of evolution (divergence, convergence, co-evolution)

3) Ecology

  • Levels of organization
  • Energy flow
  • Interactions within communities
  • Population ecology

4) Viruses and Monera

  • Viruses (structure, reproduction, immune system defenses)
  • Monera (classification, reproduction, human interactions, pathogens, antibiotics and immune system defenses)
5) Protists
  • General characteristics, diversity, human uses of protists

6) Plants

  • Intro to plants (general characteristics, classification)
  • Non-vascular and seedless plants (mosses, ferns)
  • Seed plants (angiosperms and gymnosperms)

7) Invertebrate Animals

  • General characteristics & evolutionary trends
  • Phylum characteristics and evolutionary trends for the following animal phyla: sponges, cnidarians, flatworms, roundworms, segmented worms, arthropods, mollusks, and echinoderms

8) Vertebrate animals

  • General characteristics & evolutionary trends
  • Class characteristics and evolutionary trends for the following animals: fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals

Assessment Percentage Breakdown

Assessment Type

Percentage of the Course

Startup assignment


Assignments (8 in total, one per module)


Module quizzes (7 in total)


Discussion assignment


Midterm exam


Final exam


You have up to a year to complete your course.

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