The IB Group 4 Project is a project undertaken by all students of International Baccalaureate (IB, or International Baccalaureate, being an international education course taken during high school) during their first year. This project relates to the sciences (for example, biology, chemistry and physics). A group of three to five students are tasked with creating a science project during a period of around two days, which aims to broaden the students' scientific understanding and ability to undertake scientific investigations.
Osmosis and Potatoes
One possible investigation that can be undertaken is one relating to osmosis, a basic concept in biology.
In this experiment:
- Take 10 potato bits, 1/2 inch broad and 1 inch long
- Weigh them
- Put them as many different containers
- Fill each with 10 centiliters of water (3.38 ounces)
- Pour in salt in the water so that the salt concentration equals 0%, 1%, 2%, 5% and 10% in the different containers. Divide the concentrations so that each concentration is represented in two containers.
- Leave them in for 2 hours.
- Weigh the potatoes after this time.
Different vials would have different salt concentrations, and so the effect upon different potato bits would differ. By comparing the weight before and after, you could present the effects of various concentrations of salt.
Measure the rate of photosynthesis for plants exposed to light. This would be easiest to do with a water plant. You must ensure Ceteris Paribus ("All other things being equal")! That is to say, all other factors except the light must be equal.
- Take 6 different vials.
- Fill them with 20 centiliters of water (6.76 ounces) each
- Put the water plant in each
- Expose the vials to three different intensities of light, two for each. Say, one in a very bright area, one in a medium-lit area and the last one in a dark room.
Count the oxygen bubbles that emerge from the plants during the experiment. This represents the rate of photosynthesis. By doing so, you can calculate the influence of light upon the photosynthesis process.
A project that involves a bit more physics and chemistry involves calculating the heat capacity of a liquid substance such as water. Take a liter of water at different temperatures, such as at 10 Celsius (50 Fahrenheit) and 50 Celsius (122 Fahrenheit), and heat them to the boiling point. Knowing the amount of heat that is present in the water at these temperatures, and the amount of heat needed to produce gas vapor, you can calculate how much heat energy you need to add to water of different temperatures to make it boil. Similarly, you can also figure out how much energy you would need to, say, make a liter of water at 10 Celsius (50 Fahrenheit) increase to 50 Celsius (122 Fahrenheit).
Water as a Solute
Water is a well-known solute, which has the capacity to solve a multitude of materials in itself. You can investigate the correlation between the heat of the water and its ability to solve materials. Use a few different vials with different temperatures -- for example 10, 20 and 40 Celsius (50, 68 and 104 Fahrenheit, respectively). Add a fixed amount of salt into each and record the time it takes for it to solve itself in the liquid. You can then make a conclusion based on this information. It should take longer for the salt to dissolve in cold water as opposed to hot water, if this is done correctly.