VCE Biology Program

The School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne, is running programs for VCE Biology students from 13 to 24 July 2020.

Our 2020 programs

people using microscopes

The School of BioScience’s Student Laboratory Workshop enables students to complete practical laboratory activities in a tertiary education setting to support Outcomes 1 and 2 of Unit 4, VCE Biology 2020:

  • Analyse evidence for evolutionary change and the effect on population structure using Drosophila melanogaster as a model,
  • Using tools and techniques to manipulate DNA to demonstrate the evolution of antibiotic resistance.

We also offer an Issues in Gene Technology Workshop that provides an agricultural context to the key knowledge of VCE Biology Study Design, Unit 4, and maps to Area of Study 2: ‘How do humans impact on biological processes’.

Students can attend the Student Laboratory Workshop alone or both activities on the same day.

2020 is the 20th  anniversary of the VCE Biology Program. We are proud to have shared our excitement about science with the 50,000 students who have participated in the program since it began.

By attending the workshops our students have access to technology and resources that we would otherwise be unable to provide for them.

Kevin Osbourne, Mordialloc College, Victoria.

Program details

Dates: 13 - 24 July 2020
Location: The University of Melbourne, Parkville

Student Laboratory WorkshopIssues in Gene Technology Workshop
LocationMendel Laboratory, BioSciences 5 Building,
University of Melbourne
The University of Melbourne, location TBC
Duration2 hours1.5 hours
Time slots9:30 - 11:30am
12 - 2pm
2:30 - 4:30pm 
10 - 11:30am
12 - 1:30pm

When you register for the Student Laboratory Workshop, you will be asked to nominate three possible time-slots, in order of preference. If also attending the Issues Workshop, you will only need to nominate one time-slot.

Program cost: $27 (plus GST) per student
Special arrangements:

  • Schools travelling long distances to participate may be able to access a grant to offset travel costs
  • Schools affected by bushfires may be able to participate in the program at no cost
  • Please contact Dawn Gleeson ( to find out more.

About the activities

  • Student Laboratory Workshop

    The 2-hour hands-on workshop in a well-equipped lab will enhance students’ theoretical concepts of biology and support their achievement of prescribed VCE content in a way that is not possible in most schools

    • All equipment and materials will be supplied to students and teachers
    • Notes will be provided online
    • Teachers should be present to verify their students’ work
    • BioSciences staff will act as demonstrators to provide individual attention to students (one staff member per 8–12 students)
    • Any class size is welcome. However, small classes from different schools may be combined in the same session.
  • Issues Workshop: 'Issues in Gene Technology'


    Part of the Get Into Genes program, this 90-minute non-laboratory-based workshop provides an agricultural context to the key knowledge of VCE Biology Study Design, Unit 4, and maps to Area of Study 2: ‘How do humans impact on biological processes?’.

    Students will consider the agricultural applications of gene technologies and issues relating to food and fibre production while working towards Outcome 2: ‘Explain how biological knowledge is applied to biotechnical applications, and analyse the interrelationship between scientific knowledge and its applications in society’.

    Students will also develop their understanding of the key knowledge point given under Biological knowledge and society: ‘The distinction between genetically modified and transgenic organisms, their use in agriculture to increase crop productivity and to provide resistance to insect predation and/or disease, and the biological, social and ethical implications that are raised by their use’.

    Get into Genes offers a suggested SAC and Assessment Rubric related to the Issues in Gene Technology workshop, which can be adapted to the school’s requirements.

    The workshop is designed to empower students to:

    • think independently and analytically about technology and its use in society
    • become aware of how gene technology is regulated in Australia
    • debate with peers, deconstruct arguments and consider issues from a range of perspectives.

    The workshop involves:

    • Animated presentations covering the fundamentals of gene technology and its regulation in Australia
    • Structured and interactive debate on topical issues in gene technology
    • Guidance towards critical thinking
    • Cooperative group activities such as brainstorming and card-sorting.

    The Issues Workshop is free to attend, and available only to those who have registered for the Laboratory Workshop.

Registration and payment

Register now

We will make bookings in order of receiving them.

Please indicate whether your students will attend the Student Laboratory Workshop alone, or both activities (on the same day). There is no extra charge for the Issues Workshop.

We will ask for confirmation of your numbers and send an invoice by 20 April 2020. Payment must be received by no later than Friday 8 May 2020. Once payment is received you will be provided with the student and teacher notes electronically.

If you do not confirm your booking with payment by Friday 8 May, your booking will be cancelled and offered to a school on our waiting list. Refunds are not possible for cancellations after Friday 5 June.


Booking enquiries: Danielle Dimech, +61 3 8344 6259,

Workshop enquiries: Dawn Gleeson, +61 3 8344 4765,