Contemporary VCE Biology

The following resources have been produced by a group of preservice teaching students at Deakin University in collaboration with scientists and education academics — as part of ReMSTEP.

These Teaching Sequences, Biology Skill resources, and Multi-media resources are aligned with the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority VCE Biology Curriculum Units 1 and 2 (2016–2020) and Units 3 and 4 (2017–2021).

Contemporary VCE Biology Teaching Sequences

Presented here are teaching sequences that bring contemporary biology into the classroom. Pre-service teaching students from Deakin University have worked with scientists and education academics to develop and deliver teaching and learning sequences that could contribute to students learning in VCE Biology. The focus is on bringing current research science and practice into the VCE Biology Study Design.


Stem Cells

VCE Biology Unit 2 Areas of Study 1 and 3

This sequence focuses on the types and functions of stem cells and the application of stem cell technology. A/Prof. Megan Munsie contributed her understanding of the ethical, social and regulatory issues with stem cells and a drama inquiry looking at issues associated with stem cells was facilitated by Dr. Jo Raphael.


Alien Invasion

VCE Biology Unit 1 Area of Study 2

In this sequence students investigate the impacts of introduced species on ecosystems. Focusing on the Arid Recovery conservation program in Central Australia, they consider the work undertaken by ecologists like Dr. Nicola Munro in tackling invasive species problems.



VCE Biology Unit 3 Area of Study 2; Unit 4 Area of Study 2

The following teaching sequence uses the contemporary field of cancer immunotherapy and Dr. Misty Jenkins’ research into CAR-T cell immunotherapy to explore cancer and its treatments. The concepts of humoral and cell-mediated immune responses within the adaptive immune system are investigated.


Responding to Antigens

VCE Biology Unit 3 Area of Study 2

This teaching sequence introduces immunity and explores the ABO blood groups to provide insight into the antigenic response. Helen Haysom enriches this sequence with her expertise in blood typing and transfusions. Pathogens as an antigen source, the non-specific and specific immune responses to invading pathogens and the lymphatic system are investigated.


Human Impact on Biological Processes

VCE Biology Unit 4 Areas of Study 1 and 2; Unit 1 Area of Study 1

This teaching sequence uses the research undertaken by Dr. Nancy Endersby-Harshman investigating control measures for mosquito-borne diseases (MBD) to examine the impact of human culture and technological applications on biological processes. This is an excellent example of developing strategies to deal with the emergence of new diseases in a globally connected world.


Cellular Signalling

VCE Biology Unit 3 Area of Study 2

This four-module sequence presents an inquiry-based unit that links the research of Professor Leigh Ackland on metastatic breast cancer with cellular signalling and the stimulus-response model. Contextualised learning experiences with authentic explorative and elaborative activities are used to explore these concepts.



VCE Biology Unit 4 Area of Study 1

This learning sequence uses contemporary research in evolution undertaken by Dr Matthew Symonds and his PhD student Uday to provide a context for investigating evolutionary relationships. Studying the Aloe vera plant provides this context for investigating biogeography and phylogenetic trees to help reconstruct the evolutionary history of organisms and help explain how they came to be where they are.


Survival Through Adaptations and Regulation

VCE Biology Unit 1 Area of Study 2

This learning sequence uses contemporary research on animal adaptations undertaken by Dr Matthew Symonds to provide a context for studying the survival enhancement of various adaptations of organisms. A variety of student centred activities are provided to support student exploration of adaptations, biomimicry and thermoregulation in birds.