The Group 4 project is a compulsory component of the Diploma Programme and a collaborative activity where students from different group 4 subjects, (Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science and Physics) work together on a scientific or technological topic. Concepts and perceptions from across the disciplines are shared with the aim to encourage an understanding of the relationships between scientific disciplines and the overarching nature of the scientific method.
Collaboration between schools in different regions is encouraged and this year we had 2 biology students from Phorms school in Munich joining our group.
The theme this year was Citizen Science – Grade 12 students took part in a variety of projects which are described.
Students were split into 6 groups of 4 students and each group took on a different citizen science project. Their aim was to take part in the project and then produce a poster about the project they took part in with the aim of increasing awareness of citizen science in the local school community and ultimately that everyone can be a scientist!
Group 1: Ornithio – birdwatching https://www.ornitho.de/
Initially, before the group 4 project begun, I honestly anticipated myself hating every minute of it. Considering we are grade 12, I thought we had far too much work to “waste” an entire Friday afternoon on something that “bears no significance to our learning”, or so I thought. Once the group 4 project started, I realised very quickly how important Citizen Sciences are in our world. The scientific understandings of many different subjects practically depends on Citizen Sciences. Naturally, we decided to take part in one!
Our group picked bird watching, something which I have not ever done or have any understanding of. We went down to the river and spotted 57 birds across 17 species! Best of all, I actually enjoyed the entire process and got to learn a lot during the group 4 project. It touched upon the importance of collaborative skills that are vital for every IB student.
At the end, I realised how much I actually enjoyed the group four project, and what it really is all about. The group 4 project, from my experience, is not solely about learning new things in an academic environment, it is about working together, collaborating with different people, and trying out new things that you would not otherwise have the opportunity for.
For the group 4 project the group which I was in helped an organization by uploading data on its website called ornitho.de. Ornitho.de allows people all around Germany to upload data they have collected from bird watching to their website. This was a fun experience as I had never been bird watching. The feeling of being a small part of this huge project was also rewarding. BIIIRDZ
Group 2: EyeWire https://www.eyewire.org/
For the Group 4 Project, my group was doing a citizen science project called EyeWire. We were playing a game, and by playing this game we helped scientists discover new types of neurons. In general, playing the game was fun but became a little boring over time. We didn’t know too much about the science behind EyeWire so we just decided to find out what citizen science is and how people contribute to it.
Group 3: EyesOnALZ: Stall Catchers http://eyesonalz.com/
For my group 4 project, I worked on a Citizen Science project to do with Alzheimer’s. In this project, my group had to play a game called Stall Catchers. In this game there are multiple scans of the brain of mice and we had to recognise if the blood vessels are flowing or stalled. Scientists have collected multiple scans of the brain of mice and need help to go through all of them.
Group 4: EarthEcho Team 1 http://www.worldwatermonitoringday.org
My group collected data about the Neckar River, such as the temperature, oxygen levels, pH and turbidity (how cloudy, or dusty the water is). After conducting the experiments to get the required data, we submitted it to the website. This data is now part of a large bank of information which allows scientists to understand and work towards healthier global water bodies.
Group 4: EarthEcho Team 2
My group decided to do EarthEcho as our group 4 project because out of all the other options this one we could do a bit of work inside, go outside and collect data, and create a poster. We had to collect water and measure the temperature and the pH of the water. This data helps scientists to figure out how to get a healthier bodies of global water.
Group 5: Notes from Nature https://www.notesfromnature.org/
My group worked on Notes from Nature, which is a project dedicated to digitising labels of insects and plant samples. The database that this information goes into can be used by scientists and researchers to find patterns in the distribution of species around the world, which can lead to better policies for conservation. Together we managed to make 70 transcriptions, this included different insects (including arctic butterflies) and pressed plants. Each transcription does not take very long or require many instructions, so it is very easy for anyone to get involved in this project.