Search Results for wolfram

IMaGE Inquiry: Why Them, Why There, Why Then?

Here’s a visual organizer for building quick context in orientation in time and space in a case study or unit of inquiry. It is not only for sciences – it could easily be applied to other subjects with the intention of contributing to a sense of international mindedness and global engagement (IMaGE).  The simple goal is for triplets of students to complete collaborative rapid research around the case: Why Them, Why There, Why Then? Click for pdf. This has been tested in rough drafts, and I’d love for some others to try it out and give feedback.

Some examples: 

  • Recent (or significant) discoveries or events (in the news, science, etc)
    • The Human Genome Project: Who was involved and why them? Where did it happen and why there? Why then and not before?
    • Antoni van Leeuwenhoek discovering animalcules. Why him? Where there? Why then? Why not other people, places or times
  • LangLit: Explore the author, location and time
    • I used it for a cover lesson on Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, with a group of students who had almost no prior knowledge.
  • I&S: Considering a significant development, event or innovation
  • Service Learning Cycle: An entry point into the “Research” phase of the cycle and determining reasons, needs and causes (thanks @AlisonKIS).

This is not a tool for in-depth research (though it could be expanded outwards). It is intended to get a quick, reliable orientation in time and space around a case study and the people or organisations involved.

Some great tools for this include Google Maps, Google Cultural Institute, Google Images, Wikipedia,, On This Day (, Charity Navigator and many more.

Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 13.16.21Also Wolfram|Alpha: People & History, Places & Geography, Socioeconomics, compare countries, compare companies and much more. See Stephen’s page on databases & Wolfram|Alpha here.

The results can be synthesised into further lines of inquiry (to use more rigorous research), but this should give students a vision of the case. What cultural or contextual cues can they recognise? How might this activate further connection and questioning?




Reflecting on the Impacts of Science


Objective D: Reflecting on the Impacts of Science is a great way to include elements of International Mindedness and Global Engagement (IMaGE) to the course, through the Global Contexts and real-world case studies. It doesn’t need to be a weeks-long endeavour and can be a powerful hook or anchor for the unit.

It also doesn’t need to be (should’t be) all doom and gloom (Stephen’s post here). Through connecting wonder for and appreciation of the world we live in and the science that can make it better, we can help drive meaningful, evidence-based inquiry and develop a “fact-based worldview” in our learners. Case studies can really help with this.

Here are some resources: 


A graphic organiser for analysing case-studies (or developing ideas) in CritD.

The colour image shows some instructions/suggestions. The b/w image can be stuck on the middle of a large sheet for mind-mapping, planning and discussion. To make an editable copy of just the map & instructions, click here.


The presentation below includes some sample case study videos and a lesson plan for tuning-in to Crit D. As always, this is Creative Commons, attribution, share-alike work, so please use appropriately.


What if…?

GlobalGoals@sjtylrWhat if we made explicit connections to the Sustainable Development Goals in the place of the factors in CritD?

There are many natural connections and some amazing resources out there, including Our World in Data’s SDG Tracker.

See the slide below for some outlines, hexagonal thinking cards and links to datasets. Animated gif by me.

@sjtylr CritD- Scientific Solutions to Global Issues (3)


Why Them, Why There, Why Then? Developing IMaGE through Orientation in Time and Place (Historical Contexts)

Here is a graphic organiser and thinking routine I developed to develop IMaGE in an inquiry through finding the orientation in time and place. A sense of history is a critical component of developing a student’s global competence and we can use tools like this to integrate history across the curriculum. Click on the image below for a post explaining the strategy.

@sjtylr Developing IMaGE in MYP Sciences (1)


I’ll keep adding to this post over time.

[IMaGE = International Mindedness and Global Engagment. To see my dissertation & resources on this, click here.]


There are many free, open-access databases which can be used for tasks ranging from simple data-finding to more authentic retrieval and analysis. As biosciences become increasingly informatic in nature, knowing how to access, use and interpret is a valuable skill.

Databases in IB Bio

Through the IBBio course, students should learn how to access and use databases for reliable information. It is also possible to use databases as the source for IA investigations, though this would need to be carefully managed.

Sample IA using database access: Is there a relationship between countries Human Development Index (HDI) and the incidence of tuberculosis?  (IBBio Teacher Support Material)

A challenge with using informatics/databases in IA work will be generating quality questions that can be explored effectively. However, there is huge potential for student exploration of real science in action and it might be worth exploring this with students, using the sample above, its feedback and plenty of time and provocation for ideation.

Databases might help in cases where there are insufficient data for analysis beyond the superficial (TSM). These are known as secondary sources of data – rather than primary experimental data (Bio Guide), and may allow for more efficient progress in IA work.

Example Databases

Data Nuggets

This is really cool, thanks @ibscience for sharing. A website devoted to data use in schools, connecting authentic datasets to the stories behind them. Here are some example DataNuggets and here are some datasets and links.



Wolfram|Alpha is an amazing computational search engine. Although not a database by itself, all results returned are sourced and students can access original data. For example, it can be used to re-create the queries in the sample IA above [HDI – Tuberculosis].

It’s great for gene data, climate, socioeconomics, nutrition, species and so much more.

I have a subscription to Wolfram|Alpha Pro Educator, from which you can download datasets and set practice questions in mathematics. It will also accept data for analysis, including t-tests.


Databases in Action: Gene Sequencing & Cladistics

This activity uses authentic DNA barcoding data to plot relationships between species. You will need these free programmes: BioEditClustalX and Treeview for gene-sequence alignment and cladograms. Huge thanks to Dr. Gillian Dean for leading us through this process in Bandung.





A1 Components of the Human Diet

Starter: Analyse your lunch with Wolfram|Alpha


TOK: Check out this cool infographic on the efficacy of various health food supplements, as well as this TED Talk on why Science Denialism is dangerous (and why do some people waste so much money on ineffective supplements, yet choose not to vaccinate their children against deadly diseases?).


Do you need eight glasses of water a day?

BBC Health guidelines on drinking water.

Scientific American article on water requirements.


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