Summer holidays are here!
Here are some suggestions for a productive summer.
With eight weeks off, there’s a lot you can do to make next year more successful.
1. Unbroken rest.
Block out at least two full weeks with no school work. Let your mind wander, your health recover and your sleep be deep. Reset your balance, get active and maybe even try something new – and non-academic. You will feel better and be better able to focus on the challenges of next year. If you try to do a little work each day, it will always be in the back of your mind, causing stress.
2. Focused Extended Essay work
The Extended Essay is supposed to take around 40 hours of effort. That’s one full Monday-Friday working week. Set aside some time, with peace and the resources you need, to write the best draft you can. If your EE is causing you stress, get it done sooner in the break – you will be better able to enjoy the rest of your vacation.
3. Review this year’s learning
Once you have rested and recovered, set aside a full day or two to focus on Biology. Go through your notes, work on vocabulary, make connections across topics, practice questions from the book, re-read the chapters or presentations, watch (or re-watch) the CrashCourse videos, use the sortable syllabus to practice the assessment statements, practice drawing, labeling and annotating. There is a strong positive impact of spaced practice on learning, so taking the time to review will help make your foundation stronger for next year.
4. Read about science for fun
Science is far more than the list of assessment statements we study in class. It is a fast-moving pursuit of knowledge that connects ideas from around the world and across the disciplines. And there is a lot written about science every week. Dip into the science news, read longer articles or pick up a science book. You’ll enjoy it and it will help you make more connections.
As you read science, think about the following questions:
- How does this connect to what I already know?
- What vocabulary is important in this text? How much is known or unknown to me?
- What are the implications of this information for science or the wider world?
- What Theory of Knowledge questions does this connect to? What questions does it raise?
Some suggestions for summer reading:
- National Geographic’s Phenomena salon, with blogs by Ed Yong, Virginia Hughes, Carl Zimmer, Nadia Drake and Brian Switek. These are all excellent writers, bringing research to life in informative, current, mid-length articles. Ed Yong even posts a weekly ‘missing links’ collection of loads of collected articles, news items and funny bits from around the internet.
- Dip into the #IBBio stream on Twitter once in a while – teachers are posting links, resources and articles there all the time.
- TED’s Science stream has stacks of great talks that connect to our course.
- You can also hear lots of useful podcasts: The Guardian Science Weekly, Naked Scientists, Science Magazine Podcast, RadioLab and lots more listed at PopSci.com.
- For some great books you might want to check out Adam Rutherford’s Creation, Rebecca Skloot’s brilliant The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science and Bad Pharma, Richard Dawkins’s Selfish Gene, or The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing for a great compendium of lots of writers.
Have a great summer.
And keep that brain Fresh…