Human Biology (T)

students at Gungahlin College

Course information

Human Biology covers a wide range of ideas relating to the functioning of the human body. Students learn about themselves, relating structure to function. They learn how integrated regulation allows individuals to survive in a changing environment and maintain homeostasis. They research new discoveries that are increasing our understanding of the causes of dysfunction, which can lead to new treatments and preventative measures. Reproduction and the development of the foetus are studied in order to understand the sources of variation that make each of us unique individuals. At a time when Australia is suffering a shortage of doctors, and there is an exponential growth in the allied medical field, the study of Human Biology has never been more important.

Post-school pathways

Do you enjoy or are you good at Biology? (pdf, 110kb).

Workload expectation

Three to four hours outside of class per week to complete homework and assessment tasks.

Course pattern

Available as a Minor or Major course.

Suggested Minor course

Semester

Unit

1

The Essentials of Human Life

2

The Aging Human Body

Suggested Major course

Semester

Unit

1

The Essentials of Human Life

2

The Aging Human Body

3

Human Health & the Environment

4

Treating the Human Body

Unit descriptions

The Essentials of Human Life

Human embryos undergo cell replication and specialisation to initially form different germ layers and later develop into specialised tissue types (connective, epithelial, muscular and nervous).  Students learn about the stem cells from which tissue form in the embryo and which are the foundation for the growing therapeutic treatment of a number of degenerative diseases.  In doing so students discover that different sorts of stem cells have different efficacies for treatment of disease. They also focus on the anatomy and physiology of different tissue types and their purposes in the mature human body.

The Aging Human Body

This unit investigates human reproduction and the development of the foetus in order to understand the sources of variation that make each of us unique individuals.  Students learn about the mechanisms of transmission of genetic materials to the next generation, the role of gametes in reproduction, the development of the embryo and tests for screening both the embryo and the newly born child for abnormalities.  The emphasis is on developing an understanding of the remarkable development and growth rate of the foetus.  Advances in technology, such as modern imaging technology, mean that we can trace this development in great detail and precisely mark developmental changes.  Students will also study in vitro fertilisation (IVF), sexually transmitted diseases and contraception.

Human Health & the Environment

This unit investigates the impact of environmental conditions upon the health of humans both at the individual and population level.  The World Health Organisation believes that “environmental risk factors, such as air, water and soil pollution, chemical exposures, climate change, and ultraviolet radiation, contribute to more than 100 diseases”, much of which is preventable with the appropriate planning.  The environmental causes of disease will be considered, based on the nature of the risk: biological, chemical, physical and social.  Students will also interrogate the environmental and demographic markers of specific chronic diseases such as the link between asbestosis and mining and malaria and living in the tropics.  With climate change, the parameters that not only affect the physical environment, but also the spread of biological risks will increase the global burden of disease, particularly zoonotic diseases.  Some simple solutions are promoting safe household water storage and safer management of toxic substance storage and use.  Students will consider not only the expression of specific environmental diseases but also the means by which the risk can be reduced and possible solutions.

Treating the Human Body

In this unit, students study the exponential growth of research and knowledge about the functioning of the human body that informs the Western mode of treating illness, and also consider alternative ways of treating illness in Australia.  The veracity of alternative diagnosis and treatment methods will be interrogated.  Student learning will be further enhanced through interaction with professional practitioners, wherever practical.