Biology is a vast, exciting and ever-growing body of knowledge that investigates the living world and the complex interactions between living organisms and their environment. In the IB syllabus, the subject of Biology is organized in core concepts, based on the level at which life is studied, from the molecules found in all living organisms and the complex chemical reactions taking place inside cells (molecular and cell biology) to the multiple interactions found within ecosystems (ecology and evolution).
The aim of the course is to help students acquire broad knowledge and understanding of the subject and familiarize them with scientific methods and techniques. It demonstrates how acquired knowledge leads to new questions, while it also addresses the ethical implications arising from scientific research. Although teaching is based on lectures, there is a strong emphasis on practical work, with laboratories and field trips, where students use their understanding of each topic to study and analyze data from existing biological research. On the course of their study, students also learn how to design their own experiments, collect and analyze data and evaluate their findings, as well as effectively communicate their results in reports and presentations.
Biology is a popular choice among IB students* and is the science subject of choice for students wishing to study Medicine, Pharmacology, Biological Sciences, but also Biotechnology, Forensics, Sports Science, Psychology and many more.
*The IB Diploma Statistical Bulletin, ©International Baccalaureate Organization, 2015
Biology (Course outline)
Course taught by:
Dr. Makra studied Biology at the University of Athens and received a Ph.D. in Zoology from the National University of Ireland, Galway. She has worked as a researcher in EU funded programs in collaboration with the University of Athens, the University of the Aegean and the Greek National Center for Marine Research. Her research focused on the fields of marine biology and the monitoring and conservation of marine ecosystems and gave rise to several scientific papers. She has also worked as a scientific translator/editor. She has taught Biology to undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University of Athens and the National University of Ireland, Galway. She is currently teaching IB Biology in MYP5 and in the Diploma Programme of Platon School.
Dr. Miltiadis Kitsos received his B.Sc. in Biology and Ph.D. in Marine Biology from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He then worked as a researcher in many E.U funded research projects while at the same time teaching Biology for various international examination boards. He is the author of more than 30 research papers in international journals. He has successfully completed more than 5 workshops on the teaching of natural sciences in the IB Diploma. He is teaching Biology and Environmental Systems and Societies for the IB Diploma while he is also an assistant examiner for the IBO in Biology.
Chemistry is a course that combines academic, investigative and hands-on skills. It explains how nature works at the atomic level, in our everyday life, in industry and in natural environments. It is for those students who wish to acquire a more in-depth understanding of life sciences, like biology, biochemistry and biotechnology or medicine (pharmaceutical products, comprehension of health issues) and environmental sciences (agricultural sciences, green chemistry) but also for the curious minds that want to comprehend the properties of matter and how the application of Chemistry is being used in our everyday life. For these reasons, Chemistry is often a prerequisite for many courses in higher education. Students learn how scientists work and communicate in the 21st century and what technology they will meet and deal with, in their future careers.
Teaching is based on interactive lecturing using PowerPoint presentations, videos, simulations and laboratory work. Students develop interpersonal skills, learn how to work individually but also as part of a team, apply theory into practice in the laboratory and present their results using critical thinking. The Chemistry course prepares students to become the scientists of the 21st century.
Chemistry (Course outline)
Course taught by:
Dr. Douvogianni studied at the National Technical University of Athens in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering, conducting research on novel materials for application in photovoltaic devices. She received the Monbukagakusho Scholarship from the Japanese government and continued her MSc studies in the University of Kyoto, Japan, in the field of organic chemistry and the fabrication of organic photovoltaic devices. Her research focused on the synthesis of organic polymers which could enhance electron transfer in photovoltaic devices. She completed her Ph.D. in the University of Groningen, Netherlands, in the Department of Biomolecular Devices where she focused on high dielectric organic materials and soft non damaging contacts for application on thin film organic devices. She has published several scientific articles on organic synthesis and photovoltaic devices during all her years of research. She is currently teaching IB Sciences in MYP1 to 4 and IB Chemistry in the Diploma Programme of Platon School.
The course of Computer Science caters for students from all backgrounds. It assists students in understanding the fundamental concepts of computational thinking, as well as offering knowledge on how computers and digital devices operate. Computer Science gives students the opportunity to understand various problems, make recommendations, design a prototype and assess a proposed solution, use different methodologies and techniques and develop computational solutions. The aim of the course is to help students develop and understand the range and organisation of computer systems, demonstrate initiative to identify and resolve various problems, use and communicate various technology skills, applications, disciplines and contexts, as well as become aware of any ethical, economic and social implications of using computer science and technology.
Teaching is based on lectures. However, various other methodologies are used such as brainstorming, problem-solving and computer-assisted learning. This gives students the opportunity to think logically or abstractly, while simultaneously developing different skills to identify and resolve problems.
Computer science (Course outline)
Course taught by:
Nikos Giankos holds a BA (Hons) Business Information Systems degree from Lincoln University (UK). He has taught Computer Science courses in various schools, Vocational Training Institutes (IEK) and institutes. He has teaching experience in various computing programs such as Microsoft Office, Operating Systems, Web Design platforms, Programming Languages. For the last years he has been teaching Computer Science (Standard and Higher Level) for Foundation courses and for the IB Diploma.
Physics is at the root of all sciences. It reflects the timeless journey of humans in search of answers to all the fundamental questions that mystified them throughout the millennia: “who are we?”, “where do we come from?”, “how does the universe and all things in it work?”. The scope of IB Physics is to offer students the opportunity to approach some possible answers to these questions, as well as the triggers to ask new questions.
Physics cannot be separated from the exploration of knowledge in other disciplines. And this is exactly what IB students are exposed to, through a course that is aiming in creating well rounded and balanced personalities. An IB Physics student is not merely the passive accumulator of scientific knowledge. He is the communicant and communicator of the everlasting aspiration of humans to go further and explore the world they live in. International issues of immense importance such as global warming, the use of Nuclear Energy etc. are also unavoidably addressed and thoroughly discussed throughout the course. The students will eventually get to realize that it is the responsibility of good scientists to be principled and balanced in order to offer their best to the global community.
Apart from gaining knowledge on several areas of Physics, students develop a wide range of valuable skills. For example, they will take the risk of working independently in an experimental project of their own choice and conception. Not only they will learn how to do research but also how to overcome difficulties and adapt to change. Through their work, students will also develop a variety of transferable skills, such as presentation skills, report writing, time management, the use of spreadsheets, and ways into effective communication of scientific knowledge.
Overall, the IB Diploma Physics course will provide students with a rich knowledge base in a variety of areas of Physics but it will also offer them an opportunity to develop a well-balanced personality and equip them with skills that they will use throughout their life.
Physics (Course outline)
Course taught by:
Dr Apostolos Efstathiou graduated with a B.Sc. (Honours) in Physics from Lancaster University and an M.Sc. in Optics & Photonics from Imperial College.
During his Ph.D. at University College London he worked at NPL, the UK‘s National Laboratory for Weights and Measures, taking part in the Euro50 Telescope Project and developing novel instrumentation for the measurement of large telescope optics. He has co-authored various publications and has presented his work in conferences, in Greece and abroad.
Upon his return to Greece, he worked as an Optical Engineer at the R&D Department of Theon Sensors S.A., developing Night Vision Optical Devices for the Defense Industry. He also worked as a Physics Lecturer at higher education colleges. He has been teaching Physics in the IB Diploma Programme of Platon School since 2011.
Group 3-4 – Interdisciplinary subject
Environmental Systems and Societies (SL only)
Environmental systems and societies is an interdisciplinary course that can be chosen both as a Group 3 or a Group 4 subject. It encompasses a scientifically-driven approach to the exploration of natural environment which however, is harmonically sewn with an anthropocentric approach, that integrates elements of economics, politics, sociology and ethics. This allows students to understand the essential processes driving the function of the ecosystems at different scales, while at the same time, evaluate the impact of human societies on the ecosystems. In this context, students are asked to engage with controversy underpinning the rapid development of the human society and the unsustainable use of the natural resources. The aim of the course is to help students develop a system’s approach to the natural environment and global environmental issues, while at the same acquire the ability to make informed decisions and take action in issues pertaining to the environment.
Teaching is based on lectures, lab practicals and field trips for observation and data collection. During lectures the big ideas of each topic are laid down and then explored through global case studies. In the lab students are offered the chance to do hands-on research with carefully selected experiments. Students are also given the opportunity to collect data on the filed through own-designed questionnaires and research apparatus.
At the end of year 1 students carry out research in the framework of an individual investigation. In this context they are given the chance to apply the knowledge and skills they have already acquired and even, come up with solutions on environmental problems of local or global scale.
ESS (Course outline)
Course taught by: