Apart from mere subject-specific learning, pupils should be given the chance to acquire competences that they can also use independent from a topic or subject. In order to facilitate this ability, the German curricula have now been altered to teach pupils a wide variety of practical skills as well as ways how to reason on a scientific basis. The curricula contain both concept- and process-oriented competences, with basic concepts being classed among the contentual dimension of concept-oriented competences. They are topic-linking, superordinate rules and principles which link different scientific phenomena. The article emphasises the competences’ importance and gives tips how every teacher – even without national standards – can approach biology lessons in a new style.
Key words: basic concepts, biology, curriculum, scientific literacy