Last week, Grade 11 started their Internal Assessments (IAs) in Science. Across Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, the students performed 10 hours of lab work to test their hypotheses.
From coming up with an idea, getting topic approvals and setting up research questions, to conducting experiments, it has been quite a journey for the students, and an excellent learning experience.
“They’ve had to look for a subject, choose something feasible, and fulfill the necessary requirements about the number of trials, and different dependent variables to consider. This is a huge job for them and for the Science department,” says Sandrine Bachmann, FIS Laboratory Assistant.
Ms. Bachmann has been working with the students to set up their experiments, and help them through the process involved.
She says that the examiners want to see curiosity, interest, and engagement with the subject. “The students are given the flexibility and liberty to choose any topic they want to work with, and identify clear, focused research questions based on it,” she explains.
Some of these research questions include:
- How do different concentrations of kiwi juice influence the decomposition of gelatin?
- What is the effect of temperature on the voltage-current relationship of semiconductors?
- What are the effects of salt concentration on germination?
- How does the rotational speed of a motor depend on the electromotive force driving it?
Through the process of designing their projects and carrying out preliminary experiments, the students have often had to adjust certain parts, procedures and variables. While the IAs constitute two full days of lab work, emphasis is placed on the entire cycle of engaging with the topic, exploration, analysis, evaluation, and communication.
As a result, students can develop their experimental skills and a better appreciation of the scientific context.