Unit planning: Biology

This section of the site has two purposes.  First, it is here that you will find curriculum related material - particularly, the unit planners and advice on how to address the ATL planners on Managebac if your school is using that program.

Secondly, this section replaces "teacher notes."  For the different components of the curriculum, you will find lesson plans, with links to activities on the site that you may find helpful for students to develop an understanding of key concepts as well as critical thinking skills.

Unit plan: Biological approach

Below you will find a unit planner for the biological approach. The unit is interwoven with the cognitive unit. The first half of the unit focuses on memory - looking particularly at neurotransmitters,...

LP 1: Memory and the brain

In order to study the biological approach, I have divided into two mini-units. The first unit is an extension of the memory unit. The second unit is a unit on the ultimate decision – love.The first...

LP 2: Brain imaging techniques

The following lesson plan is an introduction to brain imaging techniques - a key way in which psychologists are able to study the brain.Although I will focus on MRIs (structural) and fMRIs (functional)...

LP 3: Memory and neurotransmission

This lesson focuses on the role of neurotransmission in human behaviour - specifically, on memory.In keeping with the rest of the content of this mini unit on the biology of memory, acetylcholine will...

LP 4: Memory and hormones

A hormone is a chemical that is secreted by glands in the endocrine system. Unlike neurotransmitters, they are released directly into the blood stream. Hormones may act as neurotransmitters and attach...

LP 5: Ethics in animal research

Although this topic is part of the HL extension, I have both my SL and HL students take part in this lesson. As ethics in the biological approach is something that all students could be asked on the...

LP 6: Introducing love

The following mini-unit on "love" is the second half of the biological unit. I will complete the "interpersonal attraction" unit in the second year of the course, but this will introduce the biological...

LP 7: The evolution of attraction

The following lesson is on the evolution of attraction. It starts with an overview of evolutionary theory and then looks at two key studies of the role of biology in attraction.The lesson finishes with...

LP 8: Pheromones and attraction

The question of the role of pheromones in human behaviour is a tricky one. First, it is not agreed that there even are pheromones in humans. This makes the use of animal research rather impractical....

LP 9: Genetics and sexuality

The following lesson plan is my final one for SL for year 1. The lesson focuses on how psychologists investigate the genetic origins of behaviour. And to complete our "love unit" for this year, we look...

LP 10: Animal models (HL)

This final lesson for the first year of the course looks at the question of animal models and our ability to generalize from animal research.As part of this lesson, we review research on the brain and...

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Comments 7

Paulomi Choudhury 20 February 2018 - 03:13

Dear John,
This website has been the best resource , especially in the light of the confusion regarding the new curriculum. I am about to start biological approach soon but I would have love to have seen what kind of content you would recommend before I start teaching . Is there any approximate date by when the BLOA will be populated on the site? I could plan my lessons accordingly . Thank you !

John Crane 20 February 2018 - 09:51

Dear Paulomi,

I have been outlining it and will start this week. You will see a general "unit plan" under the heading "Unit Planning: Biology" in the menu in the left margin. Hopefully that will give you a few ideas. The textbook online will be the basis for the lesson plans.

Maja Hull Heyde Nielsen 2 May 2018 - 12:55

Hi John. It seems I am unable to plan a lesson without your lesson planning ideas ;-) Will you put up LP ideas for Pheromones and the Genetics part of the Bio Approach also? Thanks, John.

John Crane 3 May 2018 - 05:15

Dear Maja

I am working on them now. Hoping to have them both up in the next week or so. I am wrapping up the school year by looking at love. Right now assessing students on decision making - which they have really liked. Very surprised with their enthusiasm!

Psychology ASGBSA 4 May 2018 - 16:18

Hi John,
Yes same here they really enjoyed decision making I have one lesson left to give on cognitive biases then considering giving them a small assessment on it. Hopefully by then you would have posted the love LPs. Really appreciate the lesson plans they are a lot of help.


John Crane 4 May 2018 - 16:31

Love will happen this weekend....

Maja Hull Heyde Nielsen 5 May 2018 - 18:25

Read your last comment out of context and thought, "hey, good for you", haha.
Thanks for the reply. Am teaching pheromones on Monday, so will have to try to put something together. You must be a genius getting your students to love thinking and decision making. No such luck for me. Thanks, again.
Best, Maja