School & Career

What is The Point in Learning Biology?

Last time we looked at uses of English, both in day-to-day life and in careers. Today we will focus on Biology – the study of life and living organisms in more detail that you could ever think necessary. So how is Biology useful in our day to day lives? How can we put the skills learned in Biology to use?
Here is where to find BIOLOGY … every day and everywhere

We Are What We Eat

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“We Are What We Eat” by Nicholas Kashian
Photo by Darren Kumasawa

Have you heard that expression before? In Biology we learn all about the food we eat. What is good for us, and what isn’t? Most importantly we learn why certain things are better than others. We all know that too much sugar rots our teeth. But how does it do that? Why is brown bread better than white bread? What use does our body have for certain foods? And how does it get from our plate to the loo?  Feeding ourselves forms the very backbone of our survival. Knowing how to do it right helps prevent us from having all kinds of health problems. Biology teaches us about that.

 

How Did We Get Here?

Evolution of Mr Potato Head by Babaghan

Evolution of Mr Potato Head by Babaghan

Evolution. Why are we the way we are? How did we develop from apes? How are we still developing? What makes us different from other animals and why are we more intelligent? Biology helps us recognize our place and role in the natural world and understand what we are capable of doing that our monkey cousins can’t.

 

Understand our Body

Not only nutrition as mentioned above, but pain, how we reproduce, why we girls have periods. What are bones made of and why do we have them? What does the heart do? What does it look like? How does it work? This is information which will be useful to us every day of our lives. Every time we fall ill, or someone near us falls ill, understanding how our body works, and why it is reacting that way to lifestyle changes, bacteria or viruses makes illness seem less scary.

Of course, GCSE Biology will not give you the knowledge of a doctor, but it will give you the basics, enough to understand what the doctor is saying, and, as importantly, the ability to ask questions to understand more.

 

Get Gardening

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Photo by Peter

 

Everyone can appreciate flowers and trees. How do they grow? How do we help them? How do they reproduce? Knowledge of plant biology opens doors to lots of hobbies as well as careers. Would you like to grow your own herbs? Vegetables? Flowers? Why do some plants and trees thrive in certain environments and not in others?

 

Science Skills

 

Analysis, attention to detail, the ability to discover why and how. During Biology we don’t just rely on books, we take a look for ourselves, and the further we study Biology, the more we look at.

You may find the idea of dissecting a pig’s foot or heart gross, but what better way to learn how they work? For the less squeamish looking at the leaf of a tree through a microscope will tell you so much more about how that tree lives than reading about it in a book ever will.

 

 

So, a better knowledge of who we are and how we work, the ability to observe and be analytical are some of the reasons we study Biology at school. But what careers will use the skills we learn at school. Of course, all kinds of doctors, dentists, surgeons, nurses and vets all need masses of knowledge of Biology, but there are lots more.  Let’s look at three biology related careers closely:

 

Jobs Using Biology

 

Work in a zoo or animal park. It may sound glamorous work, but it is in fact very hard, involving lots of cleaning and feeding. But for people who really do want to work closely with animals and build up a relationship with them than working in zoos or animal parks, observing animals, doing everything possible to ensure their health and happiness could be an option. Biology teaches us about health, nutrition and reproduction. As the role of zoos has evolved from being pure entertainment in the past with little concern for the animals, to playing important roles in education and conservation now, the specialist knowledge of zoo keepers becomes ever more important.

 

 

Paramedic. These are the last people we usually want to meet, but when we do need them we are grateful when they get there. We only deal with paramedics when we are ill or hurt enough to need emergency medical treatment. Paramedics are first on the scene with the ambulance, and their job is to assess what is wrong and how to make a patient stable or comfortable until a doctor can be seen. They save our lives, working under lots of pressure. Knowledge of the human body and how it works is vital to these people.

 

 

 

Dietician. A dietician advises her clients on their diet. She looks at what they eat, how much and how often, and advises on what changes need to be made to eat more healthily. She needs detailed knowledge of the digestive system and nutrition as well as the ability to analyse and work out solutions to problems. Skills she will have started to learn at school.

 

 

 

Biology, like all the sciences, can be broken down into specialities, depending on whether you are interested in plants, medical research, animals, human anatomy, nutrition or even birds or insects.
Here are some more career options for those of you interested in biology to think about:
horticulturalist, anatomist, agricultural scientist, forensic scientist, natural reserve ranger, zoologist, genetic engineer…as well as every medical speciality you could imagine.

 

 Rebecca is a freelance writer, translator and coach who lives in France. In her spare time,she enjoys history, cooking, travelling and reading.

 

 

 

Cheetah pic 

 

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