In DP experimental sciences, students explore the concepts, theories, models and techniques that underpin each subject area and through these develop their understanding of the scientific method.
A compulsory project encourages students to appreciate the environmental, social and ethical implications of science. This exercise is collaborative and interdisciplinary and provides an opportunity for students to explore scientific solutions to global questions.
Past experience shows that students will be able to study a group 4 science subject at SL successfully with no background in, or previous knowledge of, science. Their approach to study, characterized by the specific IB learner profile attributes—inquirers, thinkers and communicators—will be significant here.
However, for most students considering the study of a group 4 subject at HL, while there is no intention to restrict access to group 4 subjects, some previous exposure to the specific group 4 subject would be necessary. Specific topic details are not specified but students who have undertaken the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) or studied an international GCSE science subject would be well prepared. Other national science qualifications or a school-based science course would also be suitable preparation for study of a group 4 subject at HL.
ISU offers three course for group 4:
Biologists have accumulated huge amounts of information about living organisms, and it would be easy to confuse students by teaching large numbers of seemingly unrelated facts. In the Diploma Programme biology course, it is hoped that students will acquire a limited body of facts and, at the same time, develop a broad, general understanding of the principles of the subject.
Although the Diploma Programme biology course at standard level (SL) and higher level (HL) has been written as a series of discrete statements (for assessment purposes), there are four basic biological concepts that run throughout: structure and function; universality versus diversity; equilibrium within systems; and evolution.
Students at ISU, over the two-year programme, study the following topics:
- Statistical Analysis
- The Chemistry of Life
- Ecology and Evolution
- Human Health and Physiology
- Plant Science
- Neurobiology and Behaviour
- Ecology and Conservation
Chemistry is an experimental science that combines academic study with the acquisition of practical and investigational skills. It is called the central science, as chemical principles underpin both the physical environment in which we live and all biological systems. Apart from being a subject worthy of study in its own right, chemistry is a prerequisite for many other courses in higher education, such as medicine, biological science and environmental science, and serves as useful preparation for employment.
The Diploma Programme chemistry course includes the essential principles of the subject but also, through selection of options, allows teachers some flexibility to tailor the course to meet the needs of their students. The course is available at both standard level (SL) and higher level (HL), and therefore accommodates students who wish to study science in higher education and those who do not.
Grade 11 will cover the following topics:
- Atomic Theory
- States of Matter
Grade 12 will cover the following topics:
- Acids and Bases
- Redox Reactions
- Organic Chemistry
- Environmental Chemistry
Physics is the most fundamental of the experimental sciences, as it seeks to explain the universe itself, from the very smallest particles—quarks (perhaps 10–17 m in size), which may be truly fundamental—to the vast distances between galaxies (1024 m).
At the school level both theory and experiments should be undertaken by all students. They should complement one another naturally, as they do in the wider scientific community. The Diploma Programme physics course allows students to develop traditional practical skills and techniques and to increase facility in the use of mathematics, which is the language of physics. It also allows students to develop interpersonal skills, and information and communication technology skills, which are essential in modern scientific endeavour and are important life-enhancing, transferable skills in their own right.
Physics is, above all, a human activity, and students need to be aware of the context in which physicists work. Illuminating its historical development places the knowledge and the process of physics in a context of dynamic change, in contrast to the static context in which physics has sometimes been presented. This can give students insights into the human side of physics: the individuals; their personalities, times and social milieux; and their challenges, disappointments and triumphs.
Grade 11 & Grade 12 will cover the following topics:
- Measurements Motion in Fields
- Mechanics Wave Phenomena
- Thermal Physics Electromagnetic Induction
- Oscillations and Waves Quantum Physics
- Electric current Digital Technology
- Fields and Forces
- Atomic and Nuclear Physics
- Energy, Power and Climate Change