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Problem Solving Standard Grade Biology

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4 th Year Supported Study Your prelim will involve both Knowledge and Understanding (KU) – the Biology facts AND Problem Solving (PS) – the Maths side of the course. Problem Solving Skills include graphs (bar and line), averages, ratios, percentage increases, percentage decreases, pie charts, questions about a passage, etc.

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Problem Solving Questions The answer is usually in the data or information provided, all you have to do is find it Alternatively you may need to calculate the answer from the data given e.g. ratios and percentages You may have to draw a line graph, bar chart or pie chart READ THE QUESTIONS CAREFULLY!

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Working With Percentages Percent means per hundred or for every hundred To calculate a percentage Create a fraction and multiply by 100 e.g. In a class of 24 pupils 14 are boys, what is the % of girls in the class? ANSWER If 14 of the pupils are boys, 10 of the pupils are girls Express this as a fraction Convert to a % by multiplying by 100 Percentage of girls in the class is 10 / 24 X 100 = ?

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% Increase and Decrease You can be asked to calculate a percentage increase or decrease Change X 100 Original e.g. a piece of carrot of mass 10g is placed in salt solution for 2 hours and then reweighed. Its new mass is 9.4g, calculate the % decrease in mass. ANSWER Change in mass = 0.6g Original mass =10g % decrease = 0.6 x 100 10 = 6%

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Cont. You may be asked to calculate a % of a number e.g. What is 40% of 200? 40 X 200 = 80 100

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Ratios A ratio compares two or more quantities in a particular order Your answer must contain only whole numbers e.g. A class of 25 pupils contains 15 boys, calculate the ratio of girls to boys in the class. ANSWER Number of girls = 10 Number of boys =15 Ratio of girls to boys is 10:15 Both 10 and 15 can be divided by 5 Ratio of girls to boys is 2:3 There is no number that can divide both 2 and 3 without giving a fraction so the answer is left as 2:3

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Averages You may be asked to calculate an average What is average of these numbers? 23, 45, 28,32 ANSWER 23+45+28+32 = 128 Divide by 4 Answer = 31

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Control Experiments A control is an experiment where every thing is kept the same except for one factor This is usually the factor that is thought to cause the effect we are observing We can substitute a liquid with distilled water Dead tissue or glass beads for living tissue A control makes an experiment FAIR

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Reliable Results To make results reliable we can do several things 1.Repeat the experiment several times and calculate an average of the results 2.Get data from other students and calculate an average of the results

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Drawing Line Graphs You may be given a table of results and be asked to use them to draw a line graph Use the table headings to label the axes The factor that the experimenter controlled is always put on the x-axis The factor that is measured in the experiment is put on the y-axis Sometimes one of the axes is already labelled for you

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Plotting a Line Graph Choose a simple scale going up in multiples of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 etc Make sure that the scale you have chosen means that you will use more than half the grid given Never choose an awkward scale like each square going up in multiples of 3 or 7 Plot each point using a sharp pencil and mark with an X Join the points using a ruler Do not join to 0,0 unless it is in the table

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Bar Charts Chose a suitable scale as for line graphs All the bars must be the same width Do not waste time colouring in the bars If you want to make them more visible, cross hatch them neatly

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Pie Charts

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