Date published: Thu 14 Jun 2018
Author: P. Elliott
The Group 4 Project, a compulsory part of the International Baccalaureate, reached a frenzied climax on last week, as 10 groups drew their teamwork and creativity to a conclusion. The boys were briefed on the challenge, based on the theme ‘The science behind the World Cup’, and given just over two days to develop a concept, devise and carry out an experiment to ideally support their theory and finally produce a presentation displaying their findings to try and convince a group of their peers and staff to vote for them.
Whitgift’s IB students were in groups that modelled the scientific community - no Standard Level or Higher Level, no Biology, Physics or Chemistry here – simply groups of three/four passionate communicators coming together to work as a team in order to explore an aspect of the theme of interest to them, completing all aspects of the project within the 2.5 day timeframe. Not an easy challenge, but one that the boys took to with enthusiasm and intellect - their creativity and abstract thinking was evident from the start.
One group looked at the elasticity and water retention properties of base layers; their concept being that maximum elasticity of the cloth used, without breaking, and minimum water retention will provide maximum support without chafing.
Another group looked at the claims of Trusox – posing the question, ‘Would adding rubber dimples to socks really prevent excessive foot movement within the sports shoe and hence increase the speed of a footballer?’ They came to a sophisticated conclusion that incorporated 3-D images of feet, showing that longer, thinner feet might have a greater tendency to move within a shoe and therefore see some benefits in Trusox’s proposal.
Other groups looked at the design of stadia and how sound is maximised according to shape. Another engineered their own rig to strike a ball consistently, before looking at how pressure of the ball affects distance travelled - is there a maximum pressure for different makes of ball? What about the recommended rest time before striking a penalty, one of the banes of previous England campaigns? What does science say?
The winning group took a very alternative view, analysing current flight data before testing out the combustion of various vodka drinks in order to work out how many vodka bottles a modern 747 would need in order to fly to Russia. Although less efficient than kerosene (jet fuel), this renewable fuel would also have the benefit of draining the world of vodka, hopefully reducing brawls between fans and subsequently making the world a happier place (clearly the boys in this group were inventive and witty communicators)! Our congratulations to Charlie Barber, Theo Nisbett, Jude Willoughby and the group CEO, Edwin Pendlebury for their energy, eagerness and innovatively scientific attention to detail. Worthy winners from a host of really great contenders!
1st Place: Group A
2nd Place: Group I
3rd Place: Group E