The power of scientific knowledge to transform societies is unparalleled. It has the potential to produce great universal benefits or to reinforce inequalities and cause harm to people and the environment.
Group 4 experimental sciences – Biology, Chemistry and Physics (HL and SL) and Environmental Systems and Societies at Standard Level (SL) – each involve both the traditional study of knowledge and the developing an understanding of scientific methods and techniques.
Scientific literacy includes an understanding of how scientists justify knowledge claims and an understanding of the scientific world view. While the “scientific method” may take on a wide variety of forms, it is the emphasis on a practical approach through experimental work, problem-based learning and collaborative activity that characterises each of the Group 4 subjects.
Science is highly collaborative and the scientific community is composed of people working in science, engineering and technology. It is common to work in teams from many disciplines so that many areas of expertise and specialisations can contribute to a common goal that is beyond one scientific field. It is also the case that how a problem is framed in the paradigm of one discipline might limit possible solutions, so framing problems using a variety of perspectives, in which new solutions are possible, can be extremely useful.
In order to reproduce this collaborative approach, all the students participate in a Group 4 project. It also encourages students to appreciate the environmental, social and ethical implications of science. Students are given a broad theme which they then explore; planning, conducting and evaluating their chosen investigation. Findings are then presented to a broader audience.
Take a look at this student-produced video of a project. We think you'll agree that the students learnt a lot together and had a lot of fun!
"The thing I like best is the relationship and respect between teachers and students. You know, they treat you like a young adult, which we are."“