Building back better - a shift to sustainable practices

Grade 11 students took part in this year's group 4 Project with the theme: Building back better - a shift to sustainable practices

The Group 4 Project is an interdisciplinary activity involving students from the different group 4 subjects to analyse a common topic or problem. Students participate in this event as a compulsory component to their IB Diploma. The collaborative experience has an emphasis on; developing an understanding of the relationships between scientific disciplines and their influence on other areas of knowledge, appreciating the environmental, social and ethical implications of science and technology; and understanding the limitations of scientific study, for example, the shortage of appropriate data and/or the lack of resources.

This year was very exciting, as it was the first time in two years ISB students were able to participate in such an event due to the Covid-19 pandemic. To recognise the significance of this, the event was opened by ISB parent, Dr. Cassandra Braxton. Dr. Braxton described her role as Director of Quality Control and Virology at Biogen International GmBH where she described her career path and the challenges experienced by her team during the pandemic - and the rapid solutions that were sought to overcome them!  Dr. Braxton discussed how the pandemic had spurred on changes in how we work, and how there had been a shift in the workplace to focus more on the environment and to be increasingly more sustainable. 

Teachers organised multiple challenges for the students to engage in throughout the one and a half day event. Students tackled issues such as the significance of micro rubber pollution in Switzerland, the move to electric vehicles, the positive impact of cycling for one's health and to the environment, the materials that can be reused in old appliances, collecting data to support greenhouse effect claims, the prospects of living on Mars - whilst experiencing the need to work collaboratively between multi disciplinary teams. The project culminated with the Grade 11s presenting their work to visiting Grade 8 students as part of their induction visit to the senior school campus where an account of their work was shared and then opened for discussion with the visiting audience.

Grade 11 students commented:

 "I have now realised that to solve many of the problems we face as a society today, we have to collaborate and it takes teamwork and multiple people's ideas to properly and efficiently solve these issues."

"I am more aware of the consequences of our actions on the environment and what it could mean for the future of humanity."

"I found the group 4 project extremely beneficial after the covid-19 pandemic as it allowed me to engage and socialise with new people and people that I have not necessarily spoken to."

"I believe it has inspired me to live a more sustainable lifestyle as the world shifts in that direction as a whole."