This post is aimed at teachers who are about to start teaching the new course that will be taught starting this Autumn (examinations in 2016).
The group 4 project is still around – this, in my opinion is good news (you may beg to differ!) However, with the changes to internally assessed lab work (IA) there is now no requirement to assess anything during the G4P.
You did hear me correctly – there is no need to assess anything through the G4P, indeed, there is nothing to assess!
So what, you may ask, is the purpose of the G4P?
First and foremost it is a valuable vehicle to use with your IB students. It gets them working together. Collaborating. Working as teams and as individuals – all the skills that were assessed through the personal skills (PS) assessment criteria.
So even though PS are not formally assessed, they are still important and should not be devalued. You could argue that the GP4 (or PS) is the essence of what the IB is all about and these skills are mirrored through the learner profile.
So as a minimum, the G4P has real value.
However, we liv e in a society that demand more value for money or ‘value added’ so how can we get more out of the G4P than just the above? How can we give the G4P some meaning – something that will help us to ‘sell’ it to our students (and science teachers!)
I feel that it could be used for two extras – probably not at the same time – but read on and you may think differently.
1, Could the G4P be used as a way of teaching the new IA criteria to the students? By all means, set the project up as you have done in the past, sort the students out as you do, take them away for a weekend (I know this is increasing in popularity with schools). The way you do it doesn’t matter – it’s what you do with it. So when the students are working on the scope of their project, teach them about Personal Engagement (PS). Ask them how are they going to record their passion and enthusiasm for the project? What evidence would a moderator be looking for?
When he students are carrying out the research, teach them about the Exploration (Ex) – Is the research question fully focussed, have they included back ground information, did they forget about safety?
And so on – do you follow my train of thought?
2, The other way you could use the G4P is to carry out a ‘practice’ IA. In order to do this, you should have already trained up the students and introduced them to the IA criteria and they will have a chance to put the theory into practice.
That said, both these ideas do have a massive flaw – they are collaborative exercise, where as the IA is individual but I do think that with some thought and creative selling of the ideas from you they could work and become a reality.
Finally, one more thing you may need to take on board is ‘when?’ – if you are going to use one of the above ideas, you may well need to rethink when you will carry out the G4P and this may have implications on an already over busy IB year planner – I can’t really offer you any help on this – except speak to the right people and be humble in what you ask for!!
As ever, your thought and comments would be gratefully received – how are you thinking of carrying out your next G4P?