Year 12 IBDP Science Learners Engage in Transformative Outdoor Education in Rompin Rainforest

Our Year 12 learners recently embarked on a remarkable educational journey as part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) Sciences. Over four days, they immersed themselves in the lush and diverse Rompin Rainforest in Malaysia. This outdoor education experience was closely linked to their Internal Assessments (IA), a critical component of the final external IBDP assessment.

Internal Assessments (IA) in the IBDP are research-based projects that account for a substantial portion of the final grade in each science subject. These assessments require learners to formulate a research question, conduct experiments, and analyse data, thereby developing a deep understanding of scientific principles and methodologies. By working on their IAs in an outdoor environment, learners can connect theoretical knowledge from their DP Science subjects with real-world applications, enhancing their learning experience and fostering critical thinking skills.

The preparation for this outdoor educational experience began several weeks in advance. Learners were tasked with formulating their research questions relevant to the Rompin Rainforest’s unique environment. This process involved extensive literature reviews, discussions with teachers, and preliminary planning to ensure the feasibility and relevance of their chosen topics. Once in Rompin, learners engaged in meticulous planning and execution of their research projects.

From Biology to Physics: Learners Test Theories in a Real-World Setting

Learners explored a range of topics, from biodiversity and ecosystem dynamics in Biology and Environmental Systems and Societies (ESS) to physical phenomena and environmental measurements in Physics. They considered factors such as the availability of resources, the scope of data collection, and the potential impact of their research. Detailed planning sessions were conducted to outline the experimental procedures, including the identification of necessary equipment. For instance, some Biology learners used quadrats and transects for sampling flora, while some Physics learners employed sensors and data loggers to measure environmental variables.


In the rainforest, learners implemented their research plans, collecting data through observations, measurements, and experiments. They navigated the challenges of working in an outdoor setting, such as weather conditions and terrain, which further honed their problem-solving abilities and adaptability.

Honing Critical Thinking Skills

Engaging in research within a real-world setting offers numerous benefits for learners. Learners apply classroom knowledge to real-life situations, making learning more meaningful and engaging. This experiential learning approach has been shown to enhance retention and understanding of complex concepts (Kolb, 1984). Conducting field research helps learners develop essential scientific skills, including data collection, analysis, and interpretation. These skills are invaluable for future academic and professional pursuits. The unpredictable nature of field research requires learners to think on their feet and adapt their methods as needed. This fosters critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are crucial for success in any field. Working in groups, learners learn to collaborate effectively, share responsibilities, and support each other in achieving common goals. This collaborative aspect of fieldwork mirrors real-world scientific research and promotes the development of interpersonal skills.

Educational Opportunities That Go Above & Beyond

Our Year 12 learners’ journey to the Rompin Rainforest exemplifies the power of outdoor education in bridging the gap between classroom learning and the real world. By engaging in rigorous research within a natural setting, learners not only enhance their academic knowledge but also develop essential life skills. This transformative experience underscores Nexus’ commitment to offering educational opportunities that go above and beyond traditional classroom learning, preparing our learners for success in their future endeavours.

Thank-You To Our Teachers

The success of this program is attributed to the dedication and expertise of our teachers. Jozef Bendik introduced this innovative approach for IBDP Biology and ESS, while Dr. Gary Lee expanded the program to include IBDP Physics for the first time. Ms. Judy Fan demonstrated exceptional commitment by getting up with her learners at 4 a.m. to catch the low tide for mangrove research. Ms. Sylvia Klinzing, Dr. Gary Lee, and Dr. Fabio Di Salvo provided constant support, offering various statistical analyses advice and guiding learners on the best ways to process their data. Their combined efforts ensured a smooth and enriching experience for all involved.

References: Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development. Prentice-Hall.

Fabio Di Salvo, Learning Area Leader (Science)

Fabio Di Salvo, Learning Area Leader (Science)

Fabio is a passionate educator with an international perspective. From a young age, he has been fascinated with how things worked, from machines to the Universe. Fabio applies his real-world industry insights to help learners understand physics concepts. He is particularly passionate about incorporating evidence-based learning strategies into his lessons.

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CPE Registration No. 201009668C, 21 March 2023 to 20 March 2027

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