VCE Biology: Cell size, structure and function

Subject Area: VCE Biology, Unit 1, Area of study 1, Outcome 1
Author: Shaun Davis, Amy King, Matthew Price and Samantha Haby


Create a blog that demonstrates your understanding of Unit 1, Outcome 1, cell size, structure and function.​

Key Knowledge

  • Cells as the basic structural feature of life on Earth, including the distinction between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells
  • Surface area to volume ratio as an important factor in explaining the limitations of cell size and the need for internal compartments (organelles) with specific cellular functions
  • The ultrastructure of plant and animal cells in terms of their organelles and identification of these organelles using the light microscope and electron micrographs.

Key Skills

Analyse and evaluate data, methods and scientific models

  • Process quantitative data using appropriate mathematical relationships and units
  • Organise, present and interpret data using schematic diagrams
  • Explain how models are used to organise and understand observed phenomena and concepts related to biology, identifying limitations of the models

Communicate and explain scientific ideas

  • Use appropriate biological terminology, representations and conventions
  • Discuss relevant biological information, ideas, concepts, theories and models and the connections between them Identify and explain formal biological terminology about investigations and concepts
  • Use clear, coherent and concise expression
  • Acknowledge sources of information and use standard scientific referencing conventions

Curriculum links

Unit 1

  • Area of Study 1​: Cell size, structure and function
  • Outcome 1 a reflective learning journal/blog related to selected activities or in response to an issue

VCAA Biology Study Design 2016-2021, retrieved from



Procedural Properties


Purpose This task was a summative assessment to test the students’ understanding of Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic cells. Students are to describe the size, structure and function of these different cell types.

This task also assess the students’ ability to communicate and explain scientific ideas in a clear manner, incorporating biology terminology.

Administer This task will be completed over two classes following a practical activity on cell structure. In this practical students used microscopes to observe different types of cells . The blog will be individual work completed in class time.
Record The students’ results (score and grade) were recorded on their progress reports and went towards their final grade for the subject.
Interpret The students’ scores were used as evidence to assess the students’ understanding of cells, including; prokaryotic, eukaryotic, plant and animal. The knowledge assessed in this task related directly to VCAA Biology Unit 1 key knowledge. The data collected was not used to direct future teaching.

The evidence collected is adequate to assess student understanding of cells. There are a range of skill levels within the task to allow for students understanding to be interpreted and potentially mapped to a developmental progression.

Use The assessment was used to report on the capability of the student knowledge in relation to Unit 1 Biology for their Semester report.

As the assessed part of the task was completed under test conditions, the evidence collected is an authentic measure of individual students.

Feedback was written on the assessment task to guide students in their revision for another upcoming summative assessment piece which would also include adaptations. However, more follow up should have been done to help students ‘bridge the gaps’ in their knowledge.


Understands that cells can belong in different categories prokaryotic, eukaryotic cells and these can become subgroups of bacteria, plants and animal cells and identify that this is due to​ structural differences.

Students can use existing knowledge and apply it to their blog. They are carrying out basic procedures and steps.

Students can link the task with existing knowledge into a discussion. Students are developing a sound knowledge of the topic and can also begin to explain their ideas.

Students are able to develop connections with the task, their understandings and scientific theory outside of that given in the class.

Students demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the cell structure and function and can clearly synthesise their ideas with concepts gained inside and outside of the classroom.



This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit  or send a letter to Creative Commons, PO Box 1866, Mountain View, CA 94042, USA.

click to enlarge




Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s