Over the past two weeks the Year 12 IB Chemistry students have been carrying out the action phase of their Independent Investigation – the Internal Assessment component of their course which is worth 20% of their final mark in Chemistry. In this 10 hour experimental task, the students must individually undertake an investigation which they have designed themselves.
A major difference in the new IB Science courses is that the students must demonstrate a high degree of personal engagement in this independent practical investigation. To this end, their choice of topic has to have personal significance and as they carry out the work, engagement is demonstrated in the way in which they adapt to the challenges that self-designed pracs inevitably throw in your way. I have been delighted with the dedication, persistence and resourcefulness that the students have demonstrated. From the fish tank into which Jack Church feeds oxygen from decomposing hydrogen peroxide in order to test the efficiency of ethanol combustion, to Keely McGovern’s homemade corn chips which are deep fried in different oils to investigate the relative energy content of the biscuits, all the experiments are original and involved. Following her exchange to France last Christmas Anjali Lobo is investigating how the time for which mulled wine is cooked affects the alcohol content of the wine. Annie Chou is attempting to come out with a definitive answer to the question of when red pepper should be added to a stir fry in order to keep its vitamin C content. The work of the other students in the class is equally engaging.
Three Year 11 IB students are adding to their already hectic schedules by undertaking an additional two hours of Chemistry lectures each week at the University of Melbourne. Ada Chen, Brittany Read and Sabrina Wang travel into the city each Wednesday after school has finished to attend the CEA Chemistry Olympiad training lectures. In this 14 week course they cover most of the content of Years 11 and 12 Chemistry, so the pace is very fast indeed. They will sit the National Chemistry Olympiad Qualifying examination in August to test their new found knowledge.
by Lanna Derry
IB Chemistry teacher
Head of Science