Planning of the Group 4 project is crucial if it is to be successful.

This is the part of the year when we start to think about the organisation of the group 4 project.  I will be provocative and say that if you are not thinking about it now, you may not be using it to its best effect.  Let’s consider a couple of the key issues:


Timing:  Students have no choice about the G4 project – it is a condition of their Diploma that they do this.  However good timing can ensure this does not become a problem.  The timing needs to consider that students sometimes have problems doing the work because ‘commitment’s get in the way.  If this happens then it clearly makes sense that the project takes place in the first of the two years not the second.  Further, if it is to be of use for the second year students, it needs to be at a time when it is not too late for them to make use of i.e., not too late in the spring term.  Finally, I would argue that the first term of the first year is too early for the students.  As such, we do the project in the first half of the spring term.

Having the project so early also means that if there are any students in other schools that somehow missed their project, they can join you – so it has the advantage of providing support for other schools – something that is very important in the IB world.


Logistics.  This is the time when you need the IB office to provide a list of the students in the year group and an indications of what G4 subjects they are taking.  In this way, groups can be organised so that multidisciplinary teams can be formed.

At my school we identify the Planning, Action and Reporting phases – each happening on a different day.  The Planning teams are not the same as the Action teams – the planning teams are larger at around 6 students per team.  The action teams have to be smaller because they are all supposed to contribute and so, 3-4 students is ideal.

Once the two sets of teams have been sorted out (the planning and actions teams), let the students know.  Ensure they are aware that if they are doing two or more Gp4 subjects, the action team they are in, has nothing to do with their HL or SL science – it is purely a mechanism to allow the project to work.

I would reminder everyone that the Gp4 project is the student’s responsibility – make sure the support staff are aware that they will not be hassled by this – there should be no stress involved.  If there are any problems to overcome, the students sort this out, not the staff.  The assessment is based on the process, not the actual final results.  And this point MUST be pointed out to the students – it is very important that they work together and have a good time – don’t worry so much about the actual outcome.

Plan now and get it sorted.  You know it makes sense!