Environmental Systems and Societies is a transdisciplinary course serving as a Group 3 and Group 4 IB course. It is only offered as an SL course. It incorporates a systems approach from many sources…scientific, historical, cultural and socio-political. This provides a holistic perspective on environmental issues. ESS aims to:
- Address the interrelationships between environmental systems and societies; local and global
- Guide students to adopt an informed personal response to many environmental issues and develop analytical skills
- Promote critical awareness of a diversity of cultural perspectives
- Appreciate that environmental issues may be controversial and seek a variety of responses
- Appreciate that human society is both directly and indirectly linked to the environment at a number of levels
The concept of sustainability is central to understanding the nature of interactions between environmental systems and societies. Sustainability is the ability of the Earth’s various natural systems and human cultural systems and economies to survive and adapt to changing environmental conditions indefinitely.
Topic 1: Systems and Models
Topic 2: The Ecosystem
-Structures and functions
-Measuring biotic and abiotic components
-Functions and changes in ecosystems
Topic 3: Human Population, Carrying Capacity and Resource Use
-Resources…energy, soil, food, water
-Limits to growth
-Environmental demands of human populations
Topic 4: Conservation and Biodiversity
-Biodiversity in ecosystems
-Evaluating biodiversity and vulnerability
-Conservation of biodiversity
Topic 5: Pollution Management
-Nature and description of pollution
-Detection and monitoring of pollution
-Approaches to pollution management
-Eutrophication, solid waste, depletion of ozone layer, urban air pollution, acid deposition
Topic 6: The Issue of Global Warming
Topic 7: Environmental Value Systems
Text: Living In The Environment 2009; Miller and Spoolman
Grades: Your grade will be determined by the percentage of points earned out of the points possible on tests, projects, quizzes, homework/class work, and labs. Grades are not curved. Your final grade will be determined based on the following:
Labs and Lab Reports: 30%
Tests and Projects: 40%
Labs and Lab Reports: Labs and lab reports will be a large part of this class, both in time in the classroom and work at home. Many of your lab reports will have to be typed up formally in a specific format and others will simply be packets that you will complete. All will require that you draw conclusions based on your observations and knowledge of the material.
Tests and Quizzes: There will be periodic quizzes; both announced and unannounced, over the material we have recently covered. Tests will be announced several days in advance and you will receive a study guide. If you are absent on the day of the test, you are responsible for being ready to take the test on the day you return.
- Internal Assessments—30 hours from inquiry investigations assessing skills in planning, data collection and processing, discussion, evaluation, conclusion and personal skills.
- External Assessments—Two written “papers.”
- Paper 1- Short answer and data-based questions
- Paper 2- Consists of two sections, A and B
- A- Case study analysis
- B- Two structured essay questions from a choice of four
o Be in your seat with your binder out or following directions in the Daily Plan on the board when the bell rings!
o Be respectful of others always!
o Be respectful of me always!...I will be respectful of you always!
o Listen to others when they speak.
o NO talking when I’m talking!
o Stay in your seat until the bell rings, unless otherwise instructed.
o Follow all lab safety rules carefully.
o No derogatory language EVER!
o No cell phones or i-pods out…unless I give you special permission.
o You will only be permitted to use the restroom with your planner passes.
First Offense- Verbal Warning
Second Offense- 15 minute detention with me (before or after school)*
Third Offense- Write-up to unit principal
*Failure to attend a 15-min detention with me within 3 days will result in a write-up to your Unit Principal.
*Before school detentions can be served with Mrs. Merrill in room 307.
Seeking Help: I am available for assistance after school and during 5th period in room 215 whenever you are having trouble with the material. I can also meet during these times to make up missed labs and tests. I only teach 6th and 7th periods however, and will not be available before school.