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Collaborative Discovery
Many heads are better than one
Back in the lab, students test collected soil samples
Watson and Crick, the Wright brothers, Darwin and Wallace, Pierre and Marie Curie...the history of science abounds with stories of partnerships born out of the thrill of discovery. Collaboration continues to play a key role in many scienti c advances today. The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), for example, has hosted over 12,000 visiting scientists of 105 di erent nationalities, comprising half the world’s nuclear physicists. At FIS, young scientists get a taste of the interconnected nature of science as they take part in the Group 4 Project, a two-day discovery learning experience which is a requirement for all International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma science courses.
A core element of the FIS Transdisciplinary Learning Model is collaboration, de ned as “participating actively and skillfully in groups, across languages and cultures, to produce collectively accepted results”. The Group 4 Project at FIS is designed speci cally to build these skills. Grade 11
students are assigned to interdisciplinary groups and each group is given a mystery box of equipment. From this, they have 10 hours to design, conduct and analyze an experiment using the scienti c method. The end-product is a presentation board outlining their methodology and results.
Head of Science at FIS, Robert Holmyard, outlines how the project develops collaborative skills: “Bringing together a computer scientist, a biologist and a chemist in one group challenges them to  nd connections between their disciplines, and one another. To be successful, students need to be open-minded and empathetic toward their team members, and willing to compromise and share responsibility. It is really important to develop these skills in future scientists because progress often depends on collaboration. Drug discovery, for example, involves multiple  elds from X-ray crystallography to cell biology.”
6 FIS World October 2017

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