Prerequisite: Teacher recommendation based on expectations of B or higher in Chemistry Honors and Biology Honors (or previous IB course) or A in Chemistry and Biology (or previous standard-level science course), evidence of focus, reliability, work ethic, independent learning, and passion for the subject matter.
Required tools: Graphing calculator. "Rite-in-the-Rain" Field Journal (purchased through the school)
Additional Fees: Students in this course are expected to take the IB exam. A fee applies to all students taking this exam. Please see the information in the Overview section about IB exams. An additional fee is required for the online support tool Kognity.
This course may count as a Group 3 and/or a Group 4 IB course for diploma candidates. It will also satisfy either a Trinity science credit or a social studies credit, but not both.
The intent of this course is to help students develop a holistic perspective on the environment using a systems approach together with scientific, economic, historical, cultural and socio-political methodologies. The course seeks to help students develop the skills to assess, measure, and analyze the environment from a local to a global perspective. Topics include foundations of environmental systems and societies, ecosystems and ecology, biodiversity and conservation, water and aquatic food production systems and societies, soil systems and terrestrial food production systems and societies, atmospheric systems and societies, climate change, and energy production and human systems and resource use.
In the laboratory component of this course, students will explore experimental methods, develop experimental design skills and apply these methods and skills to the study of ecosystems and societies. Laboratory work will be augmented with fieldwork both on the Trinity property and other locations. Students are expected to independently apply laboratory skills and report writing learned in previous science classes. Advanced skills will be developed throughout the course and students will complete an individual investigation that is assessed by the teacher and submitted to IBO. It represents 25% of the exam score. The investigation focuses on using the scientific method for a lab experience that includes: planning and conducting an experiment; processing, analyzing, and graphing data collected from the experiment; discussing and making conclusions using collected data; and evaluating the experimental process itself.
This course is for any student interested in environmental sciences, sustainability, or the outdoors in general. However, the goal of this course is to explain environmentalism through a variety of lenses, from economic, to religious, to recreational, so all curious and qualified students are welcome. It is a class that does involve some outdoor work, so students should be prepared to work safely in any weather.
Units of Study
Foundations of ESS
Ecosystems and ecology
Biodiversity and conservation
Water, aquatic food production systems, and societies
Soil systems, terrestrial food production systems and societies
Atmospheric systems and societies
Climate change and energy production
Human systems and resource use