Yes, it's a chore, but everyone's got to do their ISA - it's part of the GCSE exam.
These pages contain some helpful tips and advice to get you started.
So what do you want help with? 'Click' on a link below...
a) Planning This is marked out of 8
b) Observing This is marked out of 8
c) Analysing This is marked out of 8
d) Evaluation This is marked out of 6
Follow these guidelines for laying out your planning exercise and you will maximise your chances of a top mark…
Prior knowledge check:
1) Your first Biology investigation will be a PLAN.
e.g. 'What is the effect of exercise on heart-rate?'
2) Your Second Investigation after Xmas will
be about ENZYMES,
particularly one called CATALASE ...
if you are doing 'Double award' (10.1, 10.2, 10.3) you will NOT need to
do a plan for this - yesss!
2) Your Second Investigation after Xmas will be about ENZYMES, particularly one called CATALASE ... if you are doing 'Double award' (10.1, 10.2, 10.3) you will NOT need to do a plan for this - yesss!
3) If you are in 10.4 or 10.5....hardluck! You WILL need to do a plan for this one too!
10.4, 10.5 students: see the links page for ideas. You should be aiming to write about the points in the list below:
will control temperature by using a thermostatically controlled water
bath set at 40ºC. This will ensure all enzyme reactions proceed at
equal rates.” |
will use the same concentration of sucrose solution throughout the
investigation i.e. 5 mg dm-3. This will ensure that there
is the same water potential in each test tube.”|
"I will use the same step height throughout - this ensures that the subject climbs the same height each time."
4) Pilot Study
Carrying out a preliminary study will allow you to demonstrate that you can modify things in the light of experience.
So show your pilot study method and results here, and then go on to say what worked well, and what didn’t, and how you plan to modify the ‘actual’ method.
Again, bullet points work best, and the method should be clearly
set out and easy to follow – don’t try to write continuous prose. As
a test, give your method to someone else to read through – they should
be able to carry out this practical without having to ask any questions.
Don’t forget to:
a) put in at least 3 repeat readings to make results statistically valid
b) justify (explain) why you are doing each step.
6) Apparatus list
This is the list of apparatus, along with any diagrams of the set up. You must include quantities, volumes, concentrations etc.
e.g. “I will need 50cm3 of 10% hydrogen peroxide.”
Don’t forget to justify (there’s that word again!) why you need this apparatus if you haven’t already done this in the method.
This is a safety audit / list that takes account of the need for safe working. There’s more to this than just “wear goggles and lab-coats”!
8) Treatment of results
a sketch graph of expected results, or how you would perform any
calculations. You could also ‘wrap things up’ here by justifying
the strategy you developed, and how it should answer the question you were
originally set .
“Tables should follow Institute Of Biology (IOB) guidelines:”
|Informative title. (“Table to show…”)|
|Independent variable is first column (e.g. conc. of H2O2 %).|
|No units in body of table.|
|'Table to show how heart rate varies after exercise'|
|Informative title. (“Graph to show…”)|
|Independent variable is the ‘x’ axis.|
|Axes are labeled… and have units.|
|Plots use ‘x’, and line of best fit (make sure there are enough points!).|
|Hand-drawn, in pencil. Do not use Excel - you need to show that you can draw graphs.|
“Calculations:” (A=6b) You need to show you can do a bit of number work!
|Should be ‘...more than simple mean’. e.g. could calculate gradients, rates, etc.|
|Conclusions should be based on your own data (therefore quote / analyse your data (results) extensively).|
|What do your calculations actually show? Do they match your earlier predictions?|
“Written analysis:” (A=8)
|Bring in more research / references / detailed biology to explain results e.g. about active sites, chances of collisions etc..|
|Should be more than the AQA textbook stuff, but not just copied blindly – unacknowledged copying is always ignored - related to this work.|
|You should aim for up to two A4 sides of discussion and analysis.|
|Put in a diagram or two - e.g. 'lock and key' model to explain your results?|
|You're getting tired by this stage but don't give up!|
|Try to emphasise criticism of both results and technique, followed by improvements to the reliability of your results, and the accuracy of your technique.|
|Think of it like this....|
|If you could write several bullet points of information on each of the above boxes, you should be about right...|
|Don't forget to account for so-called 'anomalous results' - e.g. why did they not follow the trend / pattern?|
|Any improvements you suggest should be related to this practical.|
|Discuss extending the range of the independent variable being studied, and think about intermediate values (between the ones you looked at).|
|Back up work on both hard drive and a floppy disc. Keep a copy until after the GCSE exam!|
|Don't get fancy! Best ‘font’ is Arial, Courier or Times New Roman.|
|Use 'subscript' or 'superscript' to get things like cm3 , or CO2|
|You can do this by first highlighting the number or letter, then clicking 'Format', 'Font', then 'Superscript' or 'Subscript' from the toolbar.|
|Advanced users can add appropriate buttons to their toolbar (by clicking the 'down-arrow' on the far right of the toolbar).|
|ALWAYS DO A SPELL-CHECK. (N.B. Catalase is not recognised by Microsoft spell-check! It suggests 'catalyse', which is wrong...)|
|Hand in your draft to your teacher for checking, then the completed report first week after half term.|
|If you are late handing it in, you may have to come in at lunchtimes to finish off.|
|Don't put it off and don't pretend this thing will go away - you HAVE to do this, so set your sights high and...JUST DO IT!|
|If you get stuck on anything or need some extra help, please ask your
teacher or click on a link below:
|See also: '10 things you need to know about Enzymes'|
|See also: 'Finishing off your coursework'|
|See also : 'Introduction to Catalase'|
|See also : 'Catalase Plan'|