For the International Baccalaureate Organization's (IBO) Group 4 project, students may choose from given topics or propose their own. Ultimately, the Group 4 teacher decides which idea is the most viable. Students should brainstorm about ideas and develop them together. According to the IBO, the project "encourages students to appreciate the environmental, social and ethical implications of science" and "provides an opportunity for students to explore scientific solutions to global questions." The project is intended to be collaborative from its inception; therefore, topics of study from which to choose are presented to lead students to project ideas.
Environmental chemistry offers a wide range of project possibilities. It involves understanding how the uncontaminated environment works, which chemicals and concentrations are present naturally, and their effects. Without understanding environmental chemistry, it would be impossible to accurately study the effects humans have on the environment through the release of chemicals. Apply this concept to environmental problems in our society. For example, analyse the effects of acid rain on plant growth.
There is a revolution in the food industry regarding how foods are made and preserved. Analysing the chemical processes and interactions of all biological and non-biological components of foods is fertile ground for project ideas. Testing food preservatives could be a timely and current issue for a Group 4 project.
Human biochemistry presents an opportunity for students to examine the chemical changes within the body at the cellular and molecular level. Many discoveries have been made studying the natural biochemicals that exist within the body. Conversely, examining external influences on the body has also led to great discoveries. Considering the current global fascination with energy drinks, an examination of their effects on the human body in relation to sports performance would provide an interesting investigation.
Industry and Technology
Thinking about ways to improve industry and technology through chemistry can include the use of nanotechnology, iron, aluminium, oil, liquid crystals and batteries. Brainstorming about current problems in modern industry could lead to an interesting application of chemical principles. For example, using nanoparticles to improve UV sun protection in sunscreen lotions.