This term year 12 students were given a welcome break from the studying, assignments and lessons that have been the greater part of their school day for the past year. They were taken off timetable for two days to participate in the Group 4 project and allowed to explore the scientific world in a fun and creative way. This is what Science is really all about!
The Group 4 project is an interdisciplinary activity in which all Diploma Programme science students must participate. Students from the different Group 4 subjects must work together and analyse a common topic or problem selected by the Science department. It is a collaborative activity with the emphasis on the process rather than the product of the activity. The project could be based on a scientific or technological topic, and the topic could be quite specific or an open topic allowing for interpretation form the students. This allows for different concepts and perceptions from across Physics, Chemistry and Biology to be shared.
The project can be practically based or theory based. Students can design experiments to investigate the topic, make models, perform surveys, design simulations, they can even collaborate with other schools. The Group 4 project gives students the opportunity to appreciate the environmental, social and ethical implications of science and technology. It also helps them to understand the limitations of scientific study, for example, the shortage of appropriate data and/or the lack of resources. Students are allotted 10 hours to work on the project which is a very limited amount of time.
The Group 4 project is fun and students have the freedom to do whatever they can think of. The only limit is their imagination!
The title for this year’s IBDP Group 4 project was ‘Sustainable Living’. The IBDP students worked in groups of three to choose one aspect of sustainable living. The topics chosen were: Electric Cars, Vertical Farming, Catalytic Converters, Water Filtration, Estrogen Pollution, Nuclear Energy and Life on Mars. Over two days in school the groups completed experiments, conducted research and built models that related to their chosen topic. Some of their work included a model vertical farm made entirely out of recycled materials. Another group used recycled materials to build a model electric car, and yes it did work and very well indeed. At the end of the project they gave presentations on their findings and an opportunity for questions was given. The aim of the project is to work effectively in a group and to link physics, chemistry and biology to a single topic. The projects were very diverse but all groups completed an impressive amount of detailed research and gave excellent presentations. It is a challenging task but the students rose to the occasion and communicated their findings effectively.