DP Experience Week – Group 4 Project
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DP Experience Week – Group 4 Project

The DP Group 4 Project is nearly upon us! Preparations have begun, and students can expect to start their planning process in short order, however, a little bit about what the Group 4 Project actually is.

By Sarah Hempenstall, secondary sciences and biology teacher

The DP sciences are bracketed as Group 4 and, as part of their curricular requirements, students must carry out practical work and address Aims 7 and 8 of the DP program (pertaining to sustainability and ethics, as well as communication in the 21st Century). To this end, students will select an overarching theme, e.g. sustainable energy production, and a research question relating to it. They must then, as part of either the Biology, Chemistry or Physics group, develop individual sub-projects that address this question. Finally, they will present and communicate their findings and summarise their experience in a 50-word reflection.

This year’s DP1 group 4 project will take place at the Afsluitdijk in co-operation with Wageningen University, the Wetsus Blue Energy group, the Food Valley Network and the Wadden Centrum. We will also be visiting Wageningen University itself, and Groningen University to give students an impression of what it would be like to study there. This promises to be a very exciting trip, especially for students who may wish to continue studying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) related topics after the DP.

The planning process is about to begin, and students will be given an outline of the planned project in the coming fortnight by Sarah Hempenstall (Biology), Mikko Peltonen (Physics) and Geertje van Hal (Chemistry). They will also be given time to work together on their project plan and research question.

The field trip itself will start on Monday 8 October with the following itinerary:


8.30 –  Depart from ISUtrecht for Wageningen University where students will attend introductory lectures before splitting into their subject-specific work groups. As part of these work groups, they will discuss the following topic with experts from Wageningen University.


  • Biology: the impact of a Blue Energy installation on the Wadden Sea ecological system
  • Physics: Blue Energy – how much energy can be generated by the combination of sea and freshwater; how does this compare to other sustainable energy sources?
  • Chemistry: chemical reactions & challenges – which chemical reactions are needed to produce energy?

Students will then have the chance to discuss their project plan with the expert. After our visit to Wageningen the students will travel to the Afsluitdijk.

  • 13.30 –  Students will head to the Afsluitdijk to carry out an area survey.
  • 16.30 – Students will be brought to the accommodation in this year’s European City of Culture, Leeuwarden. There will be a chance to relax, have dinner and get some rest at the Alibi Hostel (a converted former prison) before the next day’s work. There will also be some time to walk around Leeuwarden itself.


  • 9.30 – Students will have a consultation session, either in person or on skype with representative of WUR, Wetsus and the Wadden Centrum and can make any final adjustments to the project.
  • 11.30 – Students will travel to the Afsluitdijk to carry out their fieldwork. Lunch will be eaten on-site.
  • 16.30 – Return to the accommodation and begin preparing their presentations
  • 18.30 – Dinner
  • 8.30 – Presentations and then games/movie

Wednesday (Provisional)

  • 9.30 – Leaving for Groningen
  • 10.30 – Arrival at Groningen Centraal
  • 11.00 – Visit Groningen University
  • 12.30 – Lunch
  • 13.00 – Some free time in Groningen city centre
  • 15.00 – Meet at the Markt
  • 15.30 – Departure from Groningen Centraal to ISUtrecht
  • 18.00 – Arrival ISUtrecht

Parents and students may expect an itinerary and breakdown of costs to be sent soon, along with the details of what students must bring, health insurance details and consent forms etc. This promises to be a great trip, especially for students who may wish to pursue a career in STEM, and is being carried out in collaboration with one of the foremost institutes for agricultural and environmental sciences in Europe.