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The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Sneak Peak: Class of 18’s Extended Essays

Sneak Peak: Class of 18s Extended Essays

One of the five billion requirements of the IB is writing an Extended Essay in which students compose a thorough research paper on a topic of their choice. Of these external projects, which are often critiqued as the main source of academic stress for IB students, the EE is the most significant.

It may be absurdly demanding in terms of time and critical thinking, but it’s arguably the quintessential quality that sets the IB apart from other high school curricula. Since the EE requires students to approach a subject with a combined application of various investigative skills acquired throughout the program, it can be seen, in essence, as the culmination of an IB education. So it’s original, rigorous and impressive, however that doesn’t guarantee that the EE process couldn’t withstand some changes and upgrades in regards to how it is implemented in schools.

Read the following Q&A if you are interested in checking out the thoughts, concerns and interests of some WIS juniors as they advance in their personal EE process.


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Name: Constance Kraay

Subject: Chem (Group 4)

Sponsor: Hoeger

EE idea/Research Question: How varying the concentration of vitamin C affects the rate of decomposition of hydrogen peroxide by copper chloride

What you’ve learned so far: The reason I chose this topic was because the body has to get rid of/decompose hydrogen peroxide on it’s own, which is a dangerous process. When people smoke cigarettes a lot, this breakdown is faster, so I am testing how the addition of vitamin c (which is an  antioxidant but also pro oxidant) effects this process. All on a chemical level though! No humans were involved in this process.

What do you like about the EE process? I really like working by myself, my sponsor gave me lot of freedom to explore what I wanted to, which I appreciated a lot. Having EE workdays are the best part, a savior of sorts, even on a scientific level because the atmosphere wasn’t subject to so much change as if I had conducted separate experiments on several days.

Difficulties: It was hard to come up with a research question, and I had to undergo a really long process of elimination to settle on the chemicals I wanted to study. It took a while but I learned a ton of chemistry.

Do you think that you will use this investigation in your future, if so, how? I am probably going to submit it when I apply for internships.



Name: Isabel Morichi

Subject:  Spanish (Group 1)

Sponsor: Baeza

EE idea/Research Question: Cual es el efecto de lenguaje en las publicidades sobre el uso del tabaco y cual es el impacto del modo de comunicación?

Translation: What is the effect of language on tobacco advertising and what is the impact of this mode of communication?

What you’ve learned so far: It feels like a learning process for research work in the future.

What do you like about the EE process? I think it’s good to have freedom and explore what we want to do, the EE days has been helpful too. The process becomes easier once you’ve done some research and your ideas begin to flow.

Difficulties: In the beginning of the process I was confused about what I should be doing, I felt like people didn’t really tell me. Once you decide on that, it also does come with challenges when figuring out how to organize yourself, which is hard. I hope I finish it on time.

Do you think that you will use this investigation in your future, if so, how? It’s possible that if I decide to do something with Spanish in college it will be useful to me, but just in terms of my personal gain, the research I’m doing will help me be more critical of what advertisements are trying to tell me and I’ll gain more awareness of my surroundings.



Name: Jude Carver-Kay

Subject:  Physics (Group 4)

Sponsor: Mr. Jollimore

EE idea/Research Question: How does the angle of a conical turbine/reducer affect its efficiency?

What you’ve learned so far: I’m basically creating multiple cones which are 3D printed, and they all have the same dimension except for their length. So I pass air through them with different velocities in a wind tunnel, and I measure entry and exit velocities of the air. I’ve learned that the least efficient shape is actually the average one, and the efficiency rises quadratically with shorter and longer lengths (smaller and larger angles of reduction).

What do you like about the EE process? I really like working on something you specifically chose. It gives an aspect of encouragement and depth to the research. Also for physics specifically, the two most important parts are building the setup, and data collection. Both of which are pretty interesting.

Difficulties: A difficulty I had was getting enough shapes, since it’s hard to 3D print a lot of things quickly and cheaply. However, my sponsor and I came up with a way around this, so I hope that I can continue to collect more data!

Do you think that you will use this investigation in your future, if so, how? Definitely, I’m doing a summer course for physics in London this summer, and my work for my EE may even come in handy then. Luckily, I can really apply my knowledge gathered here to university work. I also hope that I can apply my skills gained in CAD (Computer Assisted Design) later on.



Name: Ariel Rich

Subject:  Art (Group 6)

Sponsor: Mrs. Zamula

EE idea/Research Question: To what effect did innovation within technology and material trigger qualities in art that consequently developed new artistic movements?

What you’ve learned so far: So far I’ve learned a lot about how new materials helped set forth new artistic movements. There’s a whole dependance of availability of material or resource for artists that is based also on a socio economic scale that actually triggered or allowed for different types of art to develop.

What do you like about the EE process? It’s an opportunity to explore topics that you’re interested in on a deeper level

Difficulties: Research is difficult because you need to gather a lot of sources to fully draw a complete conclusion from your original research question.

Do you think that you will use this investigation in your future, if so, how? I probably will during college interviews or even in the future since I am interested in art and really like exploring new materials and how they work together.



Name: Maxime Rotsaert

Subject: History (Group 3)

Sponsor: Bourke

EE idea/Research Question: Analyzing whether an assassination attempt on Bob Marley impacted voter opinion during the Jamaican election of 1976

What you’ve learned so far: When I started thinking about my EE topic, I had no prior idea about any of this. I just read a book about events close to the election, and this was constantly mentioned in the background. Since I didn’t know what to do on the day before our topics were due, I decided to look into it.

What do you like about the EE process? I feel okay so far, my sponsor has been very helpful in giving me deadlines. My sponsor at least has been just as important towards the EE process as my tenth grade project sponsor, so it’s not overwhelmingly independent. The most positive aspect of the EE is the freedom to decide what we’re going to research, because it allows us to channel our creativity and work towards something we are interested in.

Difficulties: The mark scheme and instructions that the IB publishes are very vague, and you really need to talk to teachers who are familiar with the EE, or other students, to get what you’re supposed to do. It’s hard to transfer everything you’ve researched into a good piece of writing, so I’m concerned about that process. Also, combined with all the other assignments I have in the IB, and outside of school, the workload is really heavy.

Do you think that you will use this investigation in your future, if so, how? I’m planning to study political science in college, and the topic is very much related to that. Therefore it will definitely give me a base knowledge and I may even research the topic further into/after college. The main impact, though, is the ability to do a research project at this magnitude, which definitely a skill that needs to be learned…and the EE is definitely teaching me that.



Name:  Phoebe Thomas

Subject:  History (Group 3)

Sponsor: Markus

EE idea/Research Question:

How did the British policy of neutrality in Palestine contribute to the degradation of Anglo-Jewish relations?

What you’ve learned so far: I learned a lot about research project, specifically concerning the prospect of looking critically at research while you’re doing it. I spend a more time pulling analysis from historians rather than just making my own judgements, which is new to me.

What do you like about the EE process? I was allowed a lot of flexibility and independence which was good, and then my sponsor helps me to stay on track with my personal schedule I committed to.  One of the best things about a sponsor is that they allow you the opportunity to talk through your ideas, in terms of analysis and structure. It’s super useful to be able to go away and do my research, but be able to count on coming back to my sponsor for check in’s and advice. Having EE workdays on two different occasions was extremely useful, use the first set of work days to outline and the second set to write!

Difficulties: Something that would’ve been more helpful would’ve been to have a deeper look at how to analyze before being sent off to do it alone. Even just spending 30 minutes with other history kids, or whatever your subject was, to discuss techniques and get extra guidance would’ve been so useful.

Do you think that you will use this investigation in your future, if so, how? I think I’m definitely going to use my EE in college, I don’t know about using it to apply,  but I’ve learned useful skills from doing it. In university essays require research and writing which I will have had more experience with because of the EE.


These are only a few examples of the kinds of projects WIS juniors are getting started on this year, but summarize quite broadly the different kinds of skills the EE gives to students as well as ways in which it could be better.

                      by Val Deshler

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