A 5-day FSC IB Biology course offers an unrivalled opportunity for students to develop their practical skills and deepen their understanding of ecological syllabus content in a variety of inspiring habitats before successfully undertaking an ecological investigation for their internal assessment.  

A wide range of mathematical skills are embedded into every course, including a variety of graphical forms, calculations such as Simpson’s index of diversity, standard deviation, uncertainties and percentage error, and the selection and use of appropriate statistical tests. 

IB ESS can also be incorporated into our IB programmes. 

Example Timetable

Example Timetable

The following is an example of how a 5-day course might look. Our courses are as flexible as possible to meet your requirements, with other topics and skills able to be substituted into this timetable, particularly if you are bringing ESS students as well as Biology. There will be some variation between what is offered at specific centres due to habitat availability.

Day 1

Arrive Midday 
Welcome by FSC staff, centre tour and introduction, pre-course meeting of FSC staff and teachers, allocation of wellies and waterproofs as appropriate.

Afternoon and evening - Immersion in Ecology 
A half day introductory session which is used to immerse, engage and inspire students in ecological skills and environments.  Current ecological ‘hot topics’ and synoptic links are introduced, and students are challenged to question the world around them.

Day 2

Morning - Ecological Energetics  
An investigation looking at energy flow and the efficiency of energy transfer within an ecosystem, either in freshwater or on the rocky shore, depending on the centre. Data will be analysed using a chi-squared test.

Afternoon and evening - Biodiversity 
Students will use random sampling to compare two habitats, calculate species diversity and investigate variation within a species using Student’s t-test. This could be done in various habitats, including rocky shore, woodland, heathland or moorland depending on the centre visited.

Day 3

A full day session investigating succession using systematic sampling. Students will measure abundance and distribution of species and analyse the data using Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient.

Day 4

Individual Investigations – Personal Engagement and Exploration 
Students will plan, justify and carry out their own ecological investigation for internal assessment. They will identify a research question, develop a methodology, including a trial where appropriate, carry out a risk assessment, and collect data.

Day 5

Individual Investigations – Analysis and Evaluation 
This session allows students time to process and analyse their own data, and research and reference their findings with the support field centre staff and resources.

Depart Midday 

How this course fulfills the specification

How this course fulfills the specification

IB Biology:

Detailed coverage of ecological content from:

  • Topic 4 - Ecology (4.1 Species, communities and ecosystems, and 4.2 Energy flow)
  • Topic 5 - Evolution and biodiversity (5.3 Classification of biodiversity)
  • Option C - Ecology and conservation (C.1 Species, communities and ecosystems, C.3 Impacts of humans on ecosystems and C.4 Conservation and biodiversity).

There will also be opportunities to make synoptic links to other units.


Detailed coverage of ecological content from:

  • Topic 2 - Ecosystems and ecology
  • Topic 5 - Biodiversity and conservation
  • Topic 4 - Water and aquatic food production systems and societies

There will also be opportunities to make synoptic links to other units.

Internal Assessment

Our courses will provide students with the opportunity to develop their practical skills and knowledge and apply these successfully to independently undertake a scientific investigation for internal assessment. Through first-hand experience in a variety of inspiring habitats students will be encouraged to demonstrate personal engagement with the exploration of their investigation.

For ESS students the sites and ESS issues encountered during the course will provide a context for their research question and encourage them to apply their results to a broader environmental and/or societal context.

Maths and Statistical Skills

Our courses include a wide range of applied maths and graphical skills and, depending on the topics covered, can cover the following statistical tests: Student’s t-test, Mann-Whitney U, Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient and the chi-squared test. Students can also calculate Simpson’s index of diversity using their own data.

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