GCSE biology

SteveHants

Member
Livestock Farmer
Essay based education has some merits, it allows the student to demonstrate their understanding of content and apply it in their own way and at their own pace.

Multiple choice exams seem to be laid out to make automatic marking possible.
I would strongly argue that exams, generally are a crap form of assessment.

They only really assess people's ability to memorise things.
You can however, standardise them and have easy mark schemes so millions can be assessed.

I've removed almost every exam in my modules where I can. I think I have two, over everything I teach now.
 
Soz, where has the actual question been posted? The OP and Ladycrofter's diagram don't actually contain the question as far as I can see?

No, none of us have seen the actual question but it is very similar to the kind of questions I saw when doing my GCSEs. I can recall these very readily. It is trying to check if students understand the nature of energy losses in the food chain, I am not surprised this remains in the curriculum to this day.
 

Muddyroads

Member
NFFN Member
Location
Exeter, Devon
Former biology teacher here: A basic but very poorly worded question. The answer they are looking for is that in ascensing every step in the food chain, there's ten-fold loss in energy. This is fact, not politics. It starts with plankton, then krill, and goes up to apex preditor. So you can feed ( in theory) 10X more people with plants then you can by feeling the plants to animals, and then feeding the animals to people.
View attachment 1036920
This assumes that meat is produced from grain. My sheep and cattle are produced from grass, most of which is permanent pasture and all of it sequesters carbon.
Have I just undermined the argument?
 

kiwi pom

Member
Location
canterbury NZ
Yes, but the plant that grows best in the UK is grass and we can't eat that and survive. So we feed grass to animals who convert it to meat, something we can survive on.
Grass is a very good crop for some of the UK's agricultural land but probably not the best for prime arable land that is capable of producing way more calories with crops like potato's, carrots, etc.
Someone will correct me if I'm wrong but growing wheat for broiler chickens is more efficient than growing it to feed beef cattle etc.
If you're feeding beef and sheep concentrates the land used to produce them has to be added to that animals production. How many in the UK finish stock off grass?
It's a complicated question (we don't even know what the question actually was) with a growing population and increasing competition for land use, I think its worth asking.
 

Muddyroads

Member
NFFN Member
Location
Exeter, Devon
Grass is a very good crop for some of the UK's agricultural land but probably not the best for prime arable land that is capable of producing way more calories with crops like potato's, carrots, etc.
Someone will correct me if I'm wrong but growing wheat for broiler chickens is more efficient than growing it to feed beef cattle etc.
If you're feeding beef and sheep concentrates the land used to produce them has to be added to that animals production. How many in the UK finish stock off grass?
It's a complicated question (we don't even know what the question actually was) with a growing population and increasing competition for land use, I think its worth asking.
It’s worth asking, but only if the answer is truthful and not the woke none sense that seems to be prevalent in todays schools.
 

kiwi pom

Member
Location
canterbury NZ
It’s worth asking, but only if the answer is truthful and not the woke none sense that seems to be prevalent in todays schools.
Yes of course. That's the big problem, different groups twist the science to fit their narrative. Whatever the question was I hope it is marked to show the student is actually thinking about the problem and not just following the current trend.
I think it should be a problem that young people are aware of though.
 

Danllan

Member
Location
Sir Gar / Carms
I haven’t got the full story but apparently the in todays GCSE biology exam, one of the questions was based around something like explain why a plant based diet was better than meat based diet.
Not sure if anyone has the full story or question and obviously there won’t be photos of the question, but I’ll leave it for discussion…how can this allowed as a life changing exam question?
But it is... it's what we've evolved to as hunter gatherers: lots of vegetation supplemented by mixed protein with occasional binges of it.

I farm beef and lamb, and I'm no veggie / vegan nutjob; but there is absolute medical evidence that humans in our current evolutionary state are best off with far more plant based food than is currently the case in a typical Western diet.

Equally, it's a simple fact that general health is aided by eating meat, just not quite as most now do. (y)

(apologies if somebody has already written this, just responding to the OP as seen)
 

alomy75

Member
Former biology teacher here: A basic but very poorly worded question. The answer they are looking for is that in ascensing every step in the food chain, there's ten-fold loss in energy. This is fact, not politics. It starts with plankton, then krill, and goes up to apex preditor. So you can feed ( in theory) 10X more people with plants then you can by feeling the plants to animals, and then feeding the animals to people.
View attachment 1036920
Please Miss; what is an Apex Preditor? (Sorry-couldn’t resist!)
 

ladycrofter

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Highland
This assumes that meat is produced from grain. My sheep and cattle are produced from grass, most of which is permanent pasture and all of it sequesters carbon.
Have I just undermined the argument?
Ha ha yes if you finish off grass! That would be an excellent debate for pupils, they would need to actually calculate calories per kilo, killout, etc. And let's not forget to add in the milk from a native cow reared old- style who got milked once a day.
I had pupils who could do this and engage in intelligent debates, so all is not lost 🥇
 

DaveGrohl

Member
Location
Cumbria
But it is... it's what we've evolved to as hunter gatherers: lots of vegetation supplemented by mixed protein with occasional binges of it.

I farm beef and lamb, and I'm no veggie / vegan nutjob; but there is absolute medical evidence that humans in our current evolutionary state are best off with far more plant based food than is currently the case in a typical Western diet.

Equally, it's a simple fact that general health is aided by eating meat, just not quite as most now do. (y)

(apologies if somebody has already written this, just responding to the OP as seen)
Well quite, but there’s plants and there’s plants. It is also worth remembering that people’s health is badly affected by the plant side of the equation. You don’t get obese and succumb to the modern disease because you eat too much meat. It’s the plants and the processing of the plants that do that to you.

I choose to remain indifferent to this particular outrage until we find out the exact wording of the question. It sounds like it’s a deeply theoretical question purely about energy which has really got nothing to do with whether plants are better for us and the planet than meat. There are far more dangerous misinformation campaigns than this particular question I rather think. I’ll reserve my outrage for them in the meantime…
 

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Man fined £300 for bonfire-related waste offences

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

court-640x360.jpg
A man has pleaded guilty at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court to waste offences relating to a bonfire next to the electrical sub-station on the Circular Road in Newtownards, Co. Down.

Gareth Gill (51) of Abbot’s Walk, Newtownards pleaded guilty to two charges under the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997, for which he was fined £150 each and ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy

On June 25, 2018, PSNI officers went to Gill’s yard, where they found a large amount of waste consisting of scrap wood, pallets, carpet and underlay.

Discussion with Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) officers confirmed the site...
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