Group 4 Project

EARCOS GIN Conference

This year’s theme (Jan 2011): “Our Choice, Our Future

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.

Group Topics:

GIN Team A: Kyung In, Bing, Florence, Woo Ju –  “Natural disaster prevention and mitigation – tsunamis

GIN Team B: Nicole, Angela, Rio, Velda, Christopher –  “Biotechnology

Karen, Su Young, Yi Fei, Gavin – “HIV/AIDS

Kennard, Min Jung, Crystal, Eric, Grace – “Where have all the fish gone?

Hannah, Brayen, Clarissa, Albert – “Water deficit

Jane, Jane, Monica, William, Woo Sun “Maritime safety and pollution: Ocean pollution

Sabrina, Leon, Kyu Min, Stella – “Deforestation

Pablo, Oscar, Bridie, Estelle – “Illegal drugs (heroin focus)

Ben, Christy, Melinda, Rachel – “Natural disaster prevention and mitigation – tsunamis


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.


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:



-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.


Past themes: (click here for resources)

“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?”

  1. I am an IB HL teacher and have struggled the past few years with the physics teacher at my school to come up with a Group 4 that we are really happy with. The apporach you have taken to the Group 4 is really cool. Looking at this, it seems as thought students didn’t conduct any experimentation, but rather gathered research already publshed, is that correct? Where did students find the most useful information? Did you point them to the best resources?
    If you have any samples of student work electronically I would love to see them. Also, any suggestions you have to making this type of Group 4 a success would be greatly appeciated. In the past, we have always done an experimental based group 4, something similar to an IA, but I would love to take another approach and make the Group 4 stand out.
    Thanks for your time.

    • Hi Jennifer,

      Some groups did carry out experiments, where others focused on research. It depended really on their issue and how they wanted to approach it. The most important aspect is the collaboration and thinking about how Science fits into the world.

      I don’t have any examples with me any more – I have moved schools.

      In the most recent run, two of the groups used their G4 project as the starting point for developing workshops for the Global Issues Network conference.

      Good luck!


  2. Hi Stephen,
    I’m trying to do a G4P during a trekking trip with my students. Do you have any experience with this sort of setting?

    • Hi Patricia,

      I’m sorry, I don’t. It would lend itself well to ecological investigations, though.

      Good luck,


  3. Hi Stephen,

    I am a HUGE fan of yours as a new HL Bio teacher. Your help has been AMAZING! It has allowed me the proper resources and some extra time to create my own Powerpoints and resources for the students to have in class. The videos are also incredibly helpful. 🙂

    As a new HL teacher, I am currently trying to come up with some ideas for our group 4 project. I like the ecosystem idea, but do you have any ideas that would apply to conducting a lab in a college type setting? We have colleges that would love us to come to their school and conduct the lab there.

    Thank you so much for your time!

    Kimmie Lis – HoustonISD – Lamar HS

    • Hi Kimmie,

      Thanks for the comment and kind words. Glad to be of help!

      It sounds like you have a great opportunity to explore with your students. I would suggest first picking a college that has a good track record of sustained work with high schools and get together with whoever would be working with you to lead the project. Make sure they understand the nature and requirements of the G4 project as an interdisciplinary experience, and I’m sure one or more of their departments or work groups would stand out as being most appropriate. Perhaps students could spend one day on orientation and learning experiences in the labs and a planning stage and a second day on the action phase, with the reflection taking place as a community presentation later on?

      I would love to hear about how it works out – you should blog it!

      Good luck,


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