AP Environmental Science Turns 10

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the addition of AP Environmental Science to our school’s extensive Advanced Placement programme. The course was brought to the school by Mr. Mike Jackson in 1998 and he continues to run it, with 24 students from Grades 11 and 12 taking part this year.

AP Environmental Science is done differently than many of our other AP courses. For instance, the class is run one evening a week instead of during the regular timetable and much of the course takes place online, where students can take practice quizzes and review PowerPoint presentations from the class.

The course usually includes trips to a sewage treatment centre and a landfill, but this month was the first time the AP Environmental Science class travelled to the Bamfield Marine Science Centre. There, students completed several labs, including designing, conducting and presenting their own behavioral ecology experiment, where they measured how an organism’s behavior changed in response to changes in its environment.

Grade 12 student Anna Fretz writes about AP Environmental Science.

AP Environmental Science provides a breadth of knowledge of our earth and its environment; it analyzes every single aspect, from environmental ethics and philosophy to air pollution and biodiversity.

All of the classroom learning is partnered with tons of hands-on learning to further enhance the overall experience. In the classroom, we read and discuss topics varying from biological process, roles of organisms, and our physical and natural environment, to the issues facing the environment and their causes. The broad curriculum allows us as students to not only examine these problems, but address them and look for solutions.

The hands-on part of the course is done largely through field trips, such as our four-day visit to the Bamfield Marine Science Centre. On that trip, we complete several labs, while enjoying the beautiful West Coast nature that completely surrounds us. This incredible experience in Bamfield takes the topic of environmental science beyond the textbook material and gets us engaged in what we’re learning.

The combination of this learning experience and classroom work gives us the tools to not only learn all aspects of our earth’s environment, but gives us the resources and knowledge to take action about the pressing issues the earth faces.

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