This course contains content from both the ‘AS’ and ‘A’ Edexcel B Biology specifications and includes:

  • Sampling methods of Core Practical 15 and abiotic factor and species distribution of Core Practical 16a.
  • Practical endorsement which includes opportunities to assess students across all 5 CPACs.
  • The study of up to two contrasting ecosystems.
  • Coverage of ecological content from Topic 3 and 10.
  • Coverage of a wide range of maths and graphical skills covered including Index of Simpson Diversity Index and up to two different stats tests.

Example Timetable

Day 1


Arrive Midday
  • Students greeted by FSC staff.
  • Welcome talk and Centre tour.
  • Pre-course meeting with FSC staff and teachers.
  • Allocation of wellies/waterproofs.

Afternoon and Evening

Introduction to Ecology, Biodiversity and Classification (AS/A).

Students will:

  • Investigate the taxonomy, ecology and adaptations of some common species.
  • Agree on class and individual course objectives.
  • Complete Core Practical 15: Investigate the effect of different sampling methods on estimates of a population size (quadrat comparison of quadrat)
  • Use field sampling methods, such as random sampling, to investigate and calculate biodiversity in contrasting habitats.
  • Practice looking for ecological patterns and posing relevant scientific questions.
  • Consider how biotic and abiotic variables and human impacts (such as climate change), may affect biodiversity.
  • Use a range of data analysis methods.(inc: Student’s t-test for Core Practical 15)

Day 2

Morning, Afternoon and Evening

Succession and Ecosystems (AS/A).

Students will:

  • Complete Core Practical 16a: Investigate the effect of one abiotic factor on the distribution of one species.
  • Use field sampling methods, such as non-random sampling, to determine the distribution and abundance of organisms in a named habitat(s) where succession may have occurred.
  • Practice looking for ecological patterns and posing relevant scientific questions.
  • Understand the stages of succession from colonisation to a climax community.
  • Explore how ecosystems are maintained and dynamically change over time with abiotic, biotic and human factors (such as climate change).
  • Understand how the concept of niche accounts for distribution and abundance of organisms in a habitat.
  • Do an annotated biological drawing of a named organism.
  • Build upon their knowledge of phylogenetic classification and modern techniques for identification.
  • Consider anatomical, physiological or behavioural adaptations of key species.
  • Use a range of data analysis methods (inc: Correlation Co-efficient for Core Practical 16a)

Day 3


Energy and Ecosystems (A).

Students will:

  • Measure the abundance of different organisms from different trophic levels within a named ecosystem (freshwater, marine or terrestrial).
  • Understand gross and net productivity.
  • Use primary and secondary data to quantify the efficiency of biomass and energy transfer.
  • Use a range of data analysis methods.


Depart at Midday
  • Review of the course.
  • Signposting further actions and opportunities with the FSC and beyond.
  • Final farewell from FSC staff.

Please note: to ensure safe and quality learning experiences for students, the timetable may alter depending on weather conditions and local factors at centres.

How this course fulfills the specification

Specification Links

Practical and Maths Skills

Required Practicals

As well as through completing the Core Practicals, there will be further opportunities to practice apparatus and techniques (esp. a, e, h, k and l) and to cover the key practical skills that students will be directly assessed on in their exams.
These skills will be integrated and contextualised into the whole day themes dependent on the habitats and species available.
This course is well suited to prepare students to complete Core Practical 16b (see 5 day Programme).

Practical Endorsement

There will be opportunities to assess CPAC skills areas throughout the course.
Students will be encouraged to use IT for data collection and analysis.

Maths and Stats Skills

The course will cover a wide range of maths and graphical skills and will cover two statistical tests: Student’s t-test and Correlation Co-efficient.
Students will also calculate the Simpson Diversity Index.

Added value of this course

  • Develop personal skills
  • Have fun
  • Be inspired by a passion for the subject
  • Build friendships

Why Choose FSC?

  • Expert tuition by fully trained staff

  • Stunning locations across the UK

  • Outstanding curriculum knowledge

  • Rigorous health and safety procedures

  • Support before and after your visit

  • Free places for visiting staff