Somerset Times

IB Diploma Matters – The Extended Essay




Somerset Times Edition

Week 2, Term Four, 2017

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This has been an exciting beginning of the term at the College, with the Year 10 Personal Projects on display in the Great Hall all last week. They certainly are a fitting culmination of the MYP journey undertaken by Somerset students.

My personal favourite from the Personal Project displays was Cooper’s motorised skid trike (and not because he’s in my Pastoral Care Group, nor because I took an illicit ride on it!).

2017 - T4 - W2 - extended essay

Our Year 10s will move into Senior studies next year and while some will undertake the Queensland Senior curriculum, some will be moving on to continue their study with the International Baccalaureate – undertaking the IB’s Diploma. Like the Year 10 students our Year 12 Diploma students have finished their major project. This project is called the Extended Essay. This is an extensive academic undertaking consisting of a 4000 word research essay conducted in a subject of the student’s choice. Within that subject they have free rein to explore and investigate a topic of their interest. They then design their own research question, begin researching and then write and edit a final essay.

Our Year 12 students put the finishing touches to these projects last term, and they have been sent away to be assessed.

I have been talking to these students about their Extended Essays and the message I am receiving is, while they found the process challenging, they were quite happy with their final product. They even went so far as to say that they were proud of their work. I would like to say, having read them, they are justified in feeling proud of their efforts. Moreover, I am proud of their efforts as are, I am sure, their parents.

Here are a list of the Extended Essay topics from this year:

  • To what extent did the Katyn Massacres of 1940 effect international relations with the Soviet Union

  • How is Greek Mythology used by Carol Ann Duffy and Margaret Atwood to convey meaning and feminist ideals to a modern audience?

  • To what extent is Marx’s understanding of the labour-value exchange superseded by Proudhon’s competing philosophy, given the dynamics of the digital age?

  • The Evolution of the Vigilante Hero in Literature

  • How has the Vigilante in Literature Evolved through the last Century?

  • The Unique and Inescapable Quality of ‘Spontaneous Delight’ In The Poetry of E.E. Cummings and Its Role in The Revelation of The ‘Human Spirit’

  • How effectively does e.e. cummings represent spontaneous delight and its capacity to reveal the youthful vivacity of the human spirit in his poetry?

  • Through considering musical elements, can a stylistic shift from the Baroque to the Classical period be seen by analysing J.S. Bach’s Sonata for Flute and Basso Continuo, BWV 1033 C Major and his son CPE Bach’s Sonata in C Major, Wq 87/H.515?

  • Applying Classic Philosophy to the Gun Control Problem in Chicago

  • An explanation and evaluation on how a utilitarian and deontologist would approach American gun laws.

  • How does Shakespeare utilise the characteristics of lunacy and madness in King Lear and Macbeth?

  • Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton: Confessional Poets, Commonalities and Synergies: To what extent is the confessional poetry of Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath bound and fused by context, technique and themes?

  • To what extent did store expansion and poor inventory management contribute to the decline of Dick Smith?

  • To what extent are the 13th century primary sources an accurate depiction of Chinggis Khan’s influence in creating and expanding the Mongol Empire?

As you can see from these titles, this is a robust and challenging task – these students will certainly find writing 1000 word essays in first year of university a breeze!

If you are interested in reading some (or all!) of these, they can be found on the Senior School Homepage on Schoolbox, under the Diploma Programme tile, click here.

The students found it rewarding to become mini-experts in the field associated with their essay as it is a task that requires the students to think and research deeply on their chosen topic.

If you would like to know more about the Extended Essay, or about the IB Diploma generally, please feel free to contact me:

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