Science / Year 8 / Science Understanding / Biological sciences

Curriculum content descriptions

Cells are the basic units of living things; they have specialised structures and functions (ACSSU149)

  • examining a variety of cells using a light microscope, by digital technology or by viewing a simulation
  • distinguishing plant cells from animal or fungal cells
  • identifying structures within cells and describing their function
  • recognising that some organisms consist of a single cell
  • recognising that cells reproduce via cell division
  • describing mitosis as cell division for growth and repair
ScOT terms



Atoms Alive: Introduction to cells

Discover that all life is divided into two cell types. Learn about the difference between simpler prokaryotes, such as bacteria, and more complex eukaryotes, the group to which humans and multicellular organisms belong. See the amazing microscopic world teeming within a drop of pond water.


Eyeballing colours

Fiery red, cool blue and sunny yellow are phrases used to describe feelings associated with colours. But what actually is colour? Why is it there and what helps us to see it? Follow Chloe Sheridan as she unravels the complexity of seeing colour by delving into its physics and biology. She entered this video in the 2013 ...


Coral bleaching

This is a detailed plan for teaching a unit on coral bleaching. It includes a unit outline, overview and aim, learning outcomes, inquiry questions, background information about coral bleaching, lesson plans and a guide to assessment. The lesson sequence is based on the inquiry based 5Es approach to teaching Science, with ...


BTN: Cancer - when the baddies take over

Cancer is a major disease in Australia and there are many different types, including leukaemia, and breast and skin cancers. View this clip to discover more about how cancer forms, why it occurs, and what cancer research is being done.


How does the retina work?

When electrons in your retina absorb photons of light they don't emit light, they cause a molecule to change shape - and that lets you see colour!


Cell World - Google Play app

A good starting point to find out about cells. Discover some parts of a cell and their features by navigating the cell in 3D in a game-like environment. Free when reviewed on 12/5/2015.


Atoms Alive: Cells and energy

Cells are like chemical factories. Discover the different ways cells get energy to carry out their daily operations. Learn about the different types of metabolic processes inside cells, such as those that break down molecules to release energy and those that assemble building blocks to make more complex components.


Could you make a unicorn by crossing DNA?

Good question! Find out whether this is possible by watching as biologist at MIT, Dr Sera Thornton explains. What is a genome? And why do genomes need to be decoded? If the rhino genome was successfully decoded and the part that described the rhino horn was isolated, what would the process be for creating a unicorn?



This resource consists of 2 sets of automated illustrated slides with voice over presenting information about fermentation and useful microorganisms. It includes the use of terms such as enzymes and anaerobic respiration.


Science Talk 2007: Tim Entwistle

An interview and tour of the Royal Botanic Gardens of Sydney and its herbarium with Dr Tim Entwistle, a plant scientist and the NSW Government Botanist. Tim talks to a pre-service teacher from Macquarie University about his love of plants, in particular freshwater algae. In the herbarium we find out why it is so important ...


Exploring the human body

This resource for basic physiology and anatomy has a comprehensive outline of all the systems of the body and sensory organs, with animated graphics and activities to help explain them, plus links to visual and interactive resources online.


Composition of inhaled and exhaled air

This resource consists of 2 sets of automated illustrated slides with voice over presenting information about how the process of respiration changes the composition of gases present in inhaled and exhaled air. The second set demonstrates experiments to show that carbon dioxide and water vapour are exhaled.


Associate Professor Liz Harry

This minute video segment from Catalyst discusses Professor Liz Harry work on developing new antibiotics. A better understanding of the processes that regulate cell division in bacteria may lead to the development of new medicines.


Breathing and Respiration

This resource consists of five sets of automated illustrated slides with voice over presenting detailed information and explanations about the mechanism of human breathing and the respiration system.


Specialised Cells in the Breathing System

Students use this resource consisting of five slides with diagrams, written explanation and voice-over to understand how cells in the mucous membrane perform their function. There is a two-question quiz and a summary slide.


SunSmart Millionaire

An interactive quiz game that engages students to learn about sun safety. Students can use this resource to also access information about the scientific method of investigation and information about electromagnetic radiation, skin and cancer. This resource also allows students to develop their information processing skills ...


Cell structure and function

This resource is designed to support student learning in Stage 4 Science. It provides an interactive overview of animal cells, plant cells and bacteria and inludes some VR clips.


Science Talk 2007: Martina Doblin

An interview and lab tour with Dr Martina Doblin, a phytoplankton ecologist at UTS. Martina talks to students and their teacher from Concord High School about her work studying microscopic organisms such as the toxic algae that make up harmful algal blooms.



Students use this resource consisting of four slides with diagrams, written explanation and voice-over to understand the different types of microbes that can cause disease. There is a two-question quiz and a summary slide.


White Blood Cells

Students use this resource consisting of nine slides with diagrams, written explanation and voice-over to understand how the white blood cells defend the body against disease. There is a two-question quiz and a summary slide.