Become a Future Science Leader!

No matter whether you’re an aspiring Biologist, Physicist, Chemist, or inventor, the IB Diploma is a fantastic stepping stone to studying your subject at university. However, an ambitious student can be left directionless with so many choices and questions – which subject should I follow? How do I break in to the science industry? With that question in mind our academics set about creating the perfect course for aspirant scientists - “Future Science Leader”. What is it? Future Science Leaders is a new ...

OSC Biology guides

This blog was written by Ashby Merson-Davis, an experienced IB teacher and author of a range of OSC Biology guides. When the IB started to expand in the UK it quickly became clear that there was a dearth of textbooks. HL could get by with A Level texts but there was nothing for SL. I decided to write an SL text and then wrote to a number of schools in Europe to see if they would be interested. It was basic, photocopied, ...

Nature of Science

This month has seen the first examinations of the new syllabus and the Online Curriculum Centre (OCC) is awash with comments and discussions. Some of the comments I have read relates to disappointment that the Nature of Science had a marginal role within the papers. Though NoS was perhaps not as prominent in this exam as some may have thought, it does not mean it is peripheral to the course. Good science teaching requires a sound understanding of the Nature of Science. It should, ...

CALP

I would like to draw your attention to a page found within the TSM that I believe to be relatively new,  Cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP). This focuses on language proficiency, specifically a conceptual framework of language proficiency as devised by Dr James Cummins1, exploring English literacy development and the social and academic barriers that limit learning for English-language learners (ELLs). Cummins introduced a distinction within language between English for social or basic survival which he referred to as Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) and ...

Internal Assessment

This is not a regular post, perhaps its an anomalous one (?) But please do no exclude it. I am presently moderating Internal Assessments and I feel compelled to write on behalf of all the moderators out there, who open up a bag of scripts to find not a single word has been written on the submitted labs. Please Please Please ANNOTATE your scripts. I know that the syllabus is changing and that the Internal Assessment has had a revamp etc. However, you will still ...

Resources for building your own mesocosm

As summarised in my previous blog, Practical 5 Setting up sealed mesocosms to try to establish sustainability Guidance: Mesocosms can be set up in open tanks, but sealed glass vessels are  preferable because entry and exit of matter can be prevented but light can enter and heat can leave. Aquatic systems are likely to be more successful than terrestrial ones. The two key concepts addressed when studying a mesocosm include; A mesocosm as a model of a larger ecosystem A closed ecosystem, one in ...

Viruses and Ebola

This month I want to show you a series of videos that focus on viruses. The first explains how a virus invades the body and the relevant cells, to replicate and produce disease causing symptoms in the body. The second video discusses transmission of a virus and explains why most  cause some harm but are not normally so aggressive as to cause immediate death. The third video is a documentary from the BBC that looks at the history of Ebola and explores ...

Data presentation and the new syllabus

In an early post, I mentioned the arrival of the Teacher Support Material for the new IB Biology guide and I would like to focus on the processing and presentation of data for this blog. I, like other Biology teachers have been continually frustrated by the diverse interpretations of IA samples that I have, in the past, mailed off. After one report, I decided the best way to understand the moderation process, was to become a moderator. That year, I confidently ...

Microbiology

My past experience of working with microbiology is small and the schools I have worked in, have generally kept away from using them. So when a student wished to base her extended essay on the manipulation of bacteria from three regions of her skin, and to culture at 37C; alarm bells began to ring and I began to perspire Via my membership with the Association of Science Education (ASE), I came across the following link from the Microbiology in Schools Advisory Committee. This ...

Changes to DP Biology (IV) Exam structure and assessment objectives

One of the big areas for change,  can be found in the exam structure. I will work through each paper in turn; Paper 1 A key change is the inclusion of objective 3 questions. The idea being to ask the students to apply knowledge gained, in new situations and for the paper not to be simply factual recall. The overall weighting of the paper remains at 20% with objectives 1+2 = 10% and objectives 3 = 10% There is no change to the number ...