The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) provides a challenging and rewarding educational experience based on the philosophy that students should embrace enquiry and apply critical thinking skills to real-world situations. We developed these core skills through our IBDP Group 4 Project using 'A Mission To Mars' as their context.
As part of the IB Diploma Programme, students can choose academic subjects from six subject groups (1-6). Group 4 is entitled ‘Natural Sciences’ and it is a requirement that students study either Biology, Computer Science, Chemistry, Design Technology, Physics, Sports, Exercise and Health Science or Environmental Systems and Societies.
The compulsory project encourages Year 12 students studying different disciplines to work together. Through the project, they gain the opportunity to appreciate the environmental, social and ethical implications of science. Scientists in the real world work in multi-disciplinary teams and this project provides an opportunity for students to experience this in a challenging, fun and creative way.
Students did not just research, they actively experimented and in some cases engineered and built potential solutions to the issues they explored. There were projects focusing on everything from diet to medicine, suit construction to recycling water, dust storm surfing and even a rover inspired by the way a snake moved!
In the afternoon the students exhibited their work: they explained and justified their projects to each other, teaching staff and visiting Year 10s.
The project ends with Year 12s reflecting on the process and through it, they have highlighted the importance of teamwork in science and how an interdisciplinary approach provides valuable insights and solutions.
Chris Paine, Head of Science