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Summary of the group 4 project

Page history last edited by mshindel@... 10 years, 4 months ago

Summary of the group 4 project

The group 4 project is a collaborative activity where students from different group 4 subjects work together on a scientific or technological topic, allowing for concepts and perceptions from across the disciplines to be shared in line with aim 10—that is, to “encourage an understanding of the relationships between scientific disciplines and the overarching nature of the scientific method”. The project can be practically or theoretically based. Collaboration between schools in different regions is encouraged.

The group 4 project allows students to appreciate the environmental, social and ethical implications of science and technology. It may also allow them to understand the limitations of scientific study, for example, the shortage of appropriate data and/or the lack of resources. The emphasis is on interdisciplinary cooperation and the processes involved in scientific investigation, rather than the products of such investigation.

The choice of scientific or technological topic is open but the project should clearly address aims 7, 8 and 10 of the group 4 subject guides. Ideally, the project should involve students collaborating with those from other group 4 subjects at all stages. To this end, it is not necessary for the topic chosen to have clearly identifiable separate subject components. However, for logistical reasons some schools may prefer a separate subject “action” phase (see the following “Project stages” section).

Project stages

The 10 hours allocated to the group 4 project, which are part of the teaching time set aside for IA, can be divided into three stages: planning, action and evaluation.



This stage is crucial to the whole exercise and should last about two hours.

The planning stage could consist of a single session, or two or three shorter ones.

This stage must involve all group 4 students meeting to “brainstorm” and discuss the central topic,

sharing ideas and information.

The topic can be chosen by the students themselves or selected by the teachers.

Where large numbers of students are involved, it may be advisable to have more than one mixed

subject group.

After selecting a topic or issue, the activities to be carried out must be clearly defined before moving from the planning stage to the action and evaluation stages.


A possible strategy is that students define specific tasks for themselves, either individually or as members of groups, and investigate various aspects of the chosen topic. At this stage, if the project is to be experimentally based, apparatus should be specified so that there is no delay in carrying out the action stage. Contact with other schools, if a joint venture has been agreed, is an important consideration at this time.



This stage should last around six hours and may be carried out over one or two weeks in normal scheduled class time. Alternatively, a whole day could be set aside if, for example, the project involves fieldwork.

Students should investigate the topic in mixed subject groups or single subject groups.

There should be collaboration during the action stage; findings of investigations should be shared

with other students within the mixed/single subject group. During this stage, in any practically based

activity, it is important to pay attention to safety, ethical and environmental considerations.

Note: Students studying two group 4 subjects are not required to do two separate action phases.



The emphasis during this stage, for which two hours is probably necessary, is on students sharing their findings, both successes and failures, with other students. How this is achieved can be decided by the teachers, the students or jointly.

One solution is to devote a morning, afternoon or evening to a symposium where all the students, as

individuals or as groups, give brief presentations.

Alternatively, the presentation could be more informal and take the form of a science fair where

students circulate around displays summarizing the activities of each group.

The symposium or science fair could also be attended by parents, members of the school board and the press. This would be especially pertinent if some issue of local importance has been researched. Some of the findings might influence the way the school interacts with its environment or local community.


Addressing aims 7 and 8

Aim 7—“develop and apply the students’ information and communication technology skills in the study of science”. Aim 7 may be partly addressed at the planning stage by using electronic communication within and between schools. It may be that ICT (for example, data logging, spreadsheets, databases, and so on) will be used in the action phase and certainly in the presentation/evaluation stage (for example, use of digital images, presentation software, web sites, digital video, and so on).

Aim 8—“raise awareness of the moral, ethical, social, economic and environmental implications of using science and technology”. The choice of topic should enable one or more elements of aim 8 to be incorporated into the project.


Addressing the international dimension

There are also possibilities in the choice of topic to illustrate the international nature of the scientific

endeavor and the increasing cooperation required to tackle global issues involving science and technology. An alternative way to bring an international dimension to the project is to collaborate with a school in another region.


Types of project

While addressing aims 7, 8 and 10 the project must be based on science or its applications.

The project may have a hands-on practical action phase or one involving purely theoretical aspects. It could be undertaken in a wide range of ways.

Designing and carrying out a laboratory investigation or fieldwork.

Carrying out a comparative study (experimental or otherwise) in collaboration with another school.

Collating, manipulating and analysing data from other sources, such as scientific journals,

environmental organizations, science and technology industries and government reports.

Designing and using a model or simulation.

Contributing to a long-term project organized by the school.


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