Thursday, December 20, 2012

IB Science News

International Baccalaureate (IB) students in the 11th and 12th grade program at Westchester Academy for International Studies (WAIS) presented special group projects in science to the entire school earlier this year.

Known as the Group 4 Project, the student presentations are a huge undertaking that all WAIS IB Science students complete once in their two years of the IB Diploma Program. These projects were presented this year on Nov. 27.

The project encompasses IB Biology and IB Chemistry for juniors and seniors. Mixed biology and chemistry groups are created, each with eight or nine students. This year, 71 IB students formed eight separate groups. Each group was presented with an article about bioengineering to spark thinking.  
Students were then introduced to the theme created annually by WAIS IB science teachers.
This year’s theme was, “How do scientists and engineers mimic natural mechanisms or structures in nature to create products or machines that will improve or enhance human performance or efficiency?”
Students are given the freedom to interpret the theme as they like, as long as it ends with a student presentation/model and or process to emulate. The open-ended project gives students an opportunity to work together and respect individual contributions, while illustrating student creativity, ingenuity and intelligence. 
The students were given one month to complete the project and prepare presentations. The projects were counted as a test grade for both IB Chemistry and IB Biology classes. The Group 4 Project is required to earn the IB Diploma. Students must participate.

After teacher and peer evaluation, projects were opened up to the entire school for students to showcase their hard work. Presentations also demonstrate the power of group sharing to solve global inquiries. “The concept of the project is really process based, versus product based. The end results are normally very diverse and creative. It is exciting to see what the students come up with and the direction each group chooses to take,” said IB Biology and AP Biology teacher Laura Sigworth.


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