Group 4: Experimental Sciences

The Group 4 Project

The Group 4 Project is a mandatory 10-hour collaborative activity where students from different Experimental Sciences subjects – biology, chemistry, and physics – investigate a scientific or technological topic, allowing for concepts and perceptions from across the disciplines to be applied. The emphasis of the project is on the processes involved in scientific investigation rather than the product.

The project can be practically or theoretically based and is divided into three stages: planning, action, and evaluation.

At Stratford Hall, the Group 4 project takes place at the end of Grade 11 as part of a multi-day outdoor retreat. In the past we have completed this project both independently and in collaboration with other IB schools; locally and at Pearson United World College on Vancouver Island. As our experimental science program evolves, we look forward to forging partnerships with scientific and IB communities in BC to further enhance the collaborative dimension of the project.

Biology SL and HL


Biology is the study of life evolving over three billion years to produce over eight million species that share the Earth today, more than at any other time. In this course, students will study the micro and macro processes that drive the biological world, through which they will gain a deeper understanding of the Nature of Science, the overarching theme in all Group 4 subjects. The distinction between SL and HL is one of breadth and depth. SL and HL students undertake a common core syllabus and a common Internal Assessment scheme. SL students sit in the same class as HL students. Most SL topics are covered in the first year of the programme. HL students are required to study more demanding extension material, as well as plant biology and animal physiology.

Topics for the course are listed below. Students approach their study of each sub-topic through the following framework:
What is the essential idea? How does this knowledge reflect the nature of science? What are the understandings? How is the knowledge applied and what skills are required? How does this learning relate to the real world, to international- mindedness, and to the Theory of Knowledge?

Grade 11

Grade 12

Cell biology

Molecular biology

Genetic ecology

Evolution and biodiversity

Plant biology (HL only)

Human physiology

• Advanced topics in metabolism, cell respiration & photosynthesis (HL only)


• Animal physiology (HL only)

Objectives and Practices
The ability to formulate meaningful questions, analyze, evaluate, and synthesize scientific information and data is the foundation of all scientific knowledge. Students are given the opportunity to demonstrate and apply their knowledge and to reflect on the methodologies of science, and how these compare to the methodologies of other areas of knowledge. At the core of DP Biology is the development of inquiry through the scientific method, an extension of the investigative skills and scientific language developed in MYP sciences. Biology HL and SL promote international-mindedness by exploring current and relevant world issues in biology, ranging from biotechnology and the greenhouse effect, to genetic diseases and cultural evolution.

Students will be assessed formatively and summatively on their Approaches to Learning skills, on their performance on tests and exams, and on their experimental work. The final mark out of 7 is based on their achievement on three exams (80%) written at the end of their second year, and on one 10 hour scientific investigation (20%), completed at the beginning of their second year.

External Assessment

Internal Assessment
(Externally Moderated)

Paper 1: Multiple Choice 20%

Paper 2: Data Analysis and Extended Response- 40% at SL; 36% at HL

Paper 3: Further Options for Study, 20% at SL; 24% at HL

Scientific Investigation: 20%

Students are evaluated on their personal engagement, exploration, analysis, evaluation and communication.

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