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Group 4 Project 2011: “Our Choice, Our Future”

EARCOS GIN Ning

EARCOS GIN Ning

Based on “High Noon: 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them,” by Jean-Francois Rischard. This is the theme of the 2011 EARCOS Global Issues Network Conference, and we will be sending two teams to represent the school at JIS in April. For these teams, the G4 Project will serve as preparation for their student-led workshops at the conference.

For all of us, it will be an interesting trans-disciplinary experience in real-world problem-solving using Science.

Let’s get working!

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The Group 4 Project is a central part of the Group 4 Experimental Sciences. It is a chance to come together as scientists and think about how science can address pressing current issues. Thinking from an interdisciplinary point of view, students research and investigate the latest science and its potential impacts on the world.

The aim of the Group 4 Project is “To encourage an understanding of the relationships between scientific disciplines and the overarching nature of the scientific method” (IB Biology Subject Guide, 2007)

To be successful in tackling current global problems and challenges, we must think from a truly trans-disciplinary point of view: within and beyond the sciences. We must consider the involvement of all stakeholders and make decisions based on reliable and authentic evidence. The role of the scientist is becoming increasingly important in policy decision making and communication to the public – and this is what we aim to model in our approach to the Group 4 Project.

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It is also a great opportunity to develop international mindedness and the following aims of the experimental sciences:

Aim 7: “Develop and apply the students’ ICT skills in the study of science”

Aim 8: “Raise awareness of the moral, social, ethical, economical and environmental implications of using science and technology”

And, of course, it makes up 10 hours of your 4PSOW – which is essential for your Sciences course – and is the only opportunity to be assessed for the fourth internal assessment criterion, Personal Skills:

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Guidance

-This project is designed to be evidence-based and to demonstrate the level of your research skills. You must be able to support all information presented with sources. Access to databases will really help you.

- Less is more when it comes to text. Graphics and datasets should form the basis of your presentation, with the factual exposition delivered in the oral presentation. Think about what kind of displays most engage you as the viewer.

- Collaboration is key. For this reason, you will all need to understand and be able to present all aspects of the project. Plan together, share ideas and set targets for your work over two days. In the action phase, come together as a group regularly to share your work with your group, evaluate your progress and set further targets.

- Read up on current science, economical and environmental news beforehand. Think about the theme, choose a good topic and run with it.

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Past themes: (click here for resources)

Each year, we choose a theme which allows for authentic trans-disciplinary links across the sciences and, as far as possible, Economics.

“How can Science help re-build a stable and sustainable economy?”

“How can Science aid progress towards the UN’s Millenium Development Goals?”

“How can Science help combat environmental damage?”

Welcome to 2011: International Year of Forests and Chemistry!

Happy New Year Scientists!

With the close of 2010, the UN’s International Year for Biodiversity and Rapprochement of Cultures, we welcome in 2011, International Year of Forests (UN) and Chemistry (UNESCO).

So was the International Year of Biodiversity a success?

Shark finning - still a problem in Indonesia. Click for a gallery of biodiversity wins and fails in 2010.

The official UN page still has lots of resources for biodiversity, including videos and reports. There is a also a good resource of articles and information from the International Institute for Environment and Development. One of the key conservation events last year was COP-10 in Nagoya – the Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. There are some good articles on the build-up and outcomes of COP-10 available at Current.com, as well as a summary at Wikipedia. The Guardian’s George Monbiot reviews the conference here, and they also have their own environmental review of 2010.

Eco-wins: new marine parks, recovering waterways, ecosystem pledges in Nagoya, and the hundreds of ground-level conservation and environmental efforts taking place across the globe. Also, 2010-2020 has been declared the decade for biodiversity!

Eco-fails: Deepwater Horizon, we’re still overfishing, forest clearance rampages on and what are we really doing about plastic pollution, water pollution, air pollution, factory farming, habitat destruction and uncontrolled urbanisation?

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Celebrate the forests!

UN International Year of Forests

Celebrate the forests!

Although global deforestation appears to be slowing down, it is still continuing at an alarming rate, according to the UN’s 2010 report on global forest resources. So what can we do about it in the International Year of Forests?

Check out some of these educational resources:

Here is CIFOR‘s (Centre for International Forestry Research) video for 2011:

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Clicky-clicky!

UNESCO International Year of Chemistry

The International Year of Chemistry 2011 aims to celebrate the achievements of Chemistry and its contrbutions to the well-being of mankind. Head on over to chemistry2011.org, the official page, for a growing wealth of resources and ideas.

Choice Chemistry resources:

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And finally…

Don’t forget that from August 2010 to August 2011 is also the International Year for Youth. Phew – so much to think about and take action on in 2011!

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Have a great and productive 2011, and remember that everything we do in class can be applied to life beyond school and to the global issues we face – and you will have to deal with.

I’ll be trying to postaweek2011 through the year. Why don’t you have a go too?

 

Virtual Urchin – Tutorials from Stanford

Here are some flash tutorials from the team at Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford. They make good use of the properties of the sea urchin’s gametes for studies and learning experiences:

Fertilisation and Development Lab

Fertilisation and Development

“Gametes of sea urchins yield exceptional experiences in the classroom; teachers and students alike are riveted by being able to observe fertilization, cell division and embryonic development. The gametes are easy to use, the developmental stages are readily seen with the microscope and the rapidity of fertilization and early cell divisions allows the student to ask questions and obtain answers within the bounds of a normal classroom schedule. The utility of urchins for inquiry-based science is unrivaled.”

Head on over there to have a go at some of their labs, including a neat microscope tutorial, practice with microscope measurements, fertilisation and development and a ocean acidification investigation.


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