CAS Ideas Inspire Internal Assessment (IA) in DP Biology

CAS Ideas Inspire Internal Assessment (IA) in DP Biology

While studying our unit about Water, Shirley was shocked when she read articles and watched videos about how the ‘fast’ fashion industry was polluting waterways in China.  As a CAS project, she wanted to do some experiments in order to show the community the detrimental effects of textile dyes on the environment. To take this to the next level she was inspired to turn this research into her amazing internal assessment.

Last June, Shirley spent hours brainstorming her IA and collecting information. Eventually she had a plan and ordered the necessary chemicals: She was going to focus on the effects of indigo dye used to color denims that are very popular worldwide.

In order to carry out her experiment, besides working during the Biology lessons, Shirley worked with Ms. Canan non-stop for 5 hours after school! She was done in the lab by 9.00 pm feeling extremely accomplished. Shirley’s mother Mrs. Su Wen Hua, also came to support Shirley and had the chance of observing her daughter work like a real scientist in the lab. (Mrs. Su Wen Hua’s moral support was very much appreciated!)

Adapting a procedure used in university-level experiments, Shirley was able to synthesize Leucoindigo, a form of indigo dye that is water-soluble and used to dye denim. The focus of her IA inquiry is to observe the effects of Leucoindigo on germination and growth of okra seeds.  Like a good scientist, Shirley was very patient, determined, and meticulous in her lab work. During the experimental process, Shirley had the chance to reflect on the working conditions of the thousands of workers in the textile industry in China, exploitation of cheap manual labor by large multinational corporations, human and environmental costs of economic development, decisions and sacrifices governments have to make, impact of science on society, ethical decisions we have to make in our everyday lives as responsible global citizens, as well as the nature of sciences.

The aim of all IB programs is to develop internationally-minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world. The integration of CAS and academics is one of the many strengths of the DP program in attaining this goal and Shirley is a bright example of this.

Stay tuned for Shirley’s results!

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