IB Physics Internal Assesment Grenaa Gymnasium
13
Dec
2017

Making mistakes and learning from them

Project assignments – challenging and educative

Project assignments can offer students the opportunity to inquire into issues of their own choice. Several times during their programme at Grenaa Gymnasium, all students must do project assignments. Right now, in the weeks up to Christmas, the final year STX and HF students are doing one of their major project assignments. The IB programme includes project assignments in all subjects.

Silas Blatchley Hansen, a second year IB-student, finished his project assignment (so called Internal Assessment) in Physics earlier this term.

“My project was about optical rotatory dispersion,” Silas says. The interviewer looks like a question mark, so he continues: “I examined the effect of optically active molecules on light. Some molecules are chiral and make light rotate and this phenomenon is of importance for scientists working within for example the pharmaceutical and sugar industries,” Silas explains.

“I discovered that this is a highly specialized field. None of the IB Physics books had anything about it and neither did books for Physics students at university level. So I had to work my way through scientific articles written by highly specialized scientists for other highly specialized scientists. So I didn’t have time to sleep the night before the day where I had to do the lab experiment. But I understood more and more as I learned the technical language, so it was a good experience.”

In all science subjects laboratory experiments are crucial and one cannot do a physics project without data from one’s own experiment.
Silas’ experiment was to send light through a sugar solution in order to measure the effect of the chiral molecules on the light.

“It would have been great if I had been able to do the experiment with better equipment, but I managed to get data to base my calculations on,” Silas explains about his experiment that called for creative solutions. As the photo shows, it is always a good idea to have rolls of tape close by.
“When I was done, I almost wanted to do it again, because now I had learned from my mistakes,” Silas concludes.

Next summer, Silas will get this IB Diploma and is considering studying Physics at a university. “But maybe I am more passionate about poetry,” Silas says. “So I am definitely also considering English literature.”