Each year, our grade 11 students are required to take part in a compulsory element of the IB Diploma known as the group 4 project. For those of you that do not know, the IB Diploma is made up of 6 groups of subjects that students have to choose from. Group 4 contains subjects relating to experimental sciences, which include Biology, Chemistry and Physics at ISSH. It is most common for students to pick 1 or 2 of these subjects to study during their Diploma, but during the Group 4 Project they have to work with students from a subject they do not study. This encourages students to work collaboratively on topics of a multidisciplinary nature.
At ISSH, we present the students with a theme which they must form a research question from. Each group has to collect data to try and answer their research question. For example, last year’s theme was ‘water’. Students developed some very interesting research questions such as ‘how does depth of river water affect current force?’, this was then related to biodiversity at different river depths.
We often take students to different locations to stimulate their thoughts. Last year we were limited by Covid restrictions, so we had to stay fairly local but we still went to the hydroelectric power plant in Eglisau for a guided tour and then spent the day by the river swimming and collecting necessary data. Luckily, this year we can once again take part in overnight trips, so we will travel to Engleberg and stay in a mountain cabin for two nights. Here we will hike, swim, and of course, collect data related to this year’s theme, which is ‘altitude’.
Beyond academics, the group 4 project presents an opportunity for our students to work together to achieve a common goal and solve problems that lie outside of their comfort zone. This encourages an understanding of the relationships between disciplines and the overarching nature of the scientific method.
(The picture shows last year´s cohort in front of the hydroelectric plant near Eglisau)