From IB DP1 to DP2: preparing for assessment in biology, chemistry and physics

From IB DP1 to DP2: preparing for assessment in biology, chemistry and physics

It’s been a tricky year for IB Diploma Programme biology, chemistry and physics teachers. We’re out of practice when adopting new Subject Guides; the latest editions were released nine (rather than seven) years after the previous. We have had to teach two different courses to...

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It’s been a tricky year for IB Diploma Programme biology, chemistry and physics teachers. We’re out of practice when adopting new Subject Guides; the latest editions were released nine (rather than seven) years after the previous. We have had to teach two different courses to our current two cohorts. And I sense from my conversations with teachers that more and more schools combine Higher and Standard Level classes, making planning all the more difficult.

Saying this, things are on track. In physics, while concluding things and preparing for examinations with my DP2 students, I have taught my (exclusively) Standard Level DP1 class the basics for all concepts: motion, forces, momentum, energy and power. We have studied oscillations, the wave model, thermal energy transfers, the greenhouse effect, and the gas laws. My students have taken their internal exam and are a week away from submitting their final IA drafts (which suits the academic calendar in my context). By the end of this academic year, we will have covered gravitational fields and (most of) the atom, before turning to electric and magnetic fields, circuits, wave phenomena and nuclear physics next year. The storyline is in place.

Nonetheless, everyone in an IB World School has a part to play when preparing for our ‘First Assessment 2025’.

Teachers can:

  • Ensure that classes understand their ‘journey’ through the Subject Guide – within and beyond each Theme.
  • Start to forge meaningful links between new and previous ideas – using Linking Questions as stimuli for lessons.
  • Take responsibility for students’ development of skills as well as knowledge, particularly as the ‘Measurements and Uncertainties’ content is now less obvious.
  • Provide practice assessment opportunities for students.

Students can:

  • Begin to tackle questions of IB Diploma Programme standard.
  • Use the Understandings and Guiding Questions as checklists for revision.
  • Be strategic in thinking about how to succeed in the IB Diploma Programme overall – through time management, organisation and communication.
  • Take pride in developing as an IB Learner through the study of science.

The value of textbooks

As a student and a teacher, I have always admired and relied upon physics textbooks. What I most valued in them was: clear, logically-sequenced explanations, diagrams and activities to build understanding, inexhaustible practice questions, and chapter summaries. This is why when I had the privilege to co-write the Pearson Physics for the IB Diploma Programme textbook, I put all of this in print so that any reader could feel supported.

Better yet, I was able to write chapters on these IB-specific elements, that I hope can provide great support to my colleagues when preparing for first assessment 2025:

  • An introduction to the nature of science, approaches to learning and inquiry
  • Skills in the study of physics
  • Theory of Knowledge – including the Exhibition and Essay
  • Internal Assessment
  • External Assessment
  • Extended Essay

One of my favourite aspects of the IB is our global community. Every science teacher wants to support the learning of every science student in the world, free from competition. I hope that my contribution, through writing this textbook, supports many IB Diploma Programme students in fulfilling their potential.

Further reading

Read more about IB DP Sciences in the articles below and learn more about our IB Diploma Programme Physics resources.

Changes to the IB DP Biology subject guide

Changes to the IB DP Chemistry subject guide

The integration of Nature of Science (NOS) and TOK into IB Chemistry

 

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