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Ess student course guide


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Markham College Environomental Systems Course Guide

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Ess student course guide

  1. 1. Environmental Systems And Societies I IB Standard LevelMarkham College Student Course Guide 2011 – 2012
  2. 2. So whats it all about then?The main purpose of this course is to give you a coherent perspective on the interrelationshipsbetween the environment, systems and societies. So what does this mean? It means that wewont just say "here is an environmental problem, isnt it terrible.." To really understand thecauses and effects of environmental problems, and how people try to manage them, you will needto look at the issues from many angles (e.g. scientific, ethical, historical, economic, cultural andsocio-political). This is called taking a holistic approach. Dont believe people who tell you this isan easy subject, though, studying issues holistically is very complex.This is why the idea of a systemis so important in this course.Ecosystems function as a wholeand the systems approach showsthis. A systems approach iscommon to many humanitiessubjects too, like economics,geography, sociology andpolitics.Environmental Systems and Societies is a transdisciplinary subject (it draws on knowledge,methods and skills from a variety of different disciplines,) so the systems approach is a good wayto link these all together.By the end of this course you will be able to adopt an informed personal response to currentenvironmental issues (i.e. know where you stand and why). You will also understand the impact ofthe choices and decisions you make in your own lives on the environment.Over the next twoyears you will study ahuge range of differentecosystems andenvironmental issuesat many differentscales, ranging from indepth studies of localecosystems, tounderstanding globalmanagement andmismanagement ofoceans, tundra, andclimate destabilisation. Page 2
  3. 3. So what will we actually study?Topic 1: Systems and ModelsTopic 2: The Ecosystem Structure, measuring abiotic and biotic components of the system, biomes, function, changes, measuring changes in the system.Topic 3: Human Population, carrying capacity and resource use Population dynamics, resources—natural capital, energy resources, the soil system, food resources, water resources, limits to growth, environmental demands of human populations.Topic 4: Conservation and biodiversity Biodiversity in ecosystems, evaluating biodiversity and vulnerability, conservation of biodiversityTopic 5: Pollution management Nature of pollution, detection and monitoring of pollution, approaches to pollution management, eutrophication, solid domestic waste, depletion of stratospheric ozone, urban air pollution, acid deposition.Topic 6: The issue of global warmingTopic 7: Environmental value systemsFor a more detailed outline of the course please refer to the Official IB Course Syllabus Page 3
  4. 4. Aims of the courseIt is the aim of Environmental Systems to:I provide opportunities for scientific study and creativity within a global context which willstimulate and challenge studentss provide a body of knowledge, methods and techniques which characterize environmentalsystemss enable students to apply and use a body of knowledge, methods and techniques which arecharacteristic of environmental systemsc develop an ability to analyse, evaluate and synthesise scientific informationd engender an awareness of the need for, and the value of, effective collaboration andcommunication during scientific activitiesc develop experimental and investigative skillsd develop and apply the students’ information technology skills in the study of the subjectd raise awareness of the moral, ethical, social, economic and environmental implications ofusing science and technologyu develop an appreciation of the possibilities and limitations associated with science andscientistss encourage an understanding of the relationships between scientific disciplines and theoverarching nature of the scientific method.Assessment1. Internal Assessment of written workInternal assessment of theoretical work will occur at teacher discretion. Generally, there willbe a short test or quiz every few weeks. You will also be asked to write essays, carry out researchassignments and give short presentations.2. Internal Assessment of practical workThe practical scheme of work (PSOW) is the practical course planned by the teacher andacts as a summary of all the investigative activities you carry out throughout your course.Standard level students are required to spend 40 hours on practical activities (excluding timespent writing up work). This must be spread out through the course and written evidence ofall this work must be kept in a log-file. Students are entirely responsible for their ownwork and should accept ownership and take pride in the work they complete. Theteacher is required to ensure that all the work submitted is the candidate’s own. If in doubt,authenticity may be checked by one or more of the following methods:a discussion with the studentd asking the student to explain the methods used and to summarise the resultsa asking the student to repeat the investigation.All the practical work reports will be assessed internally by the teacher using the followingeight assessment criteria:e planning (a) – Pl(a)p planning (b) – Pl(b)p data collection – DCd data processing and presentation – DPPd conclusion and evaluation – CEc manipulative skills – MSm personal skills (a) – PS(a)p personal skills (b) – PS(b)Each student will be assessed at least twice on each of the eight criteria. The two best marksfor each of the criteria are added together to determine the final mark out of 48 for theInternal Assessment (IA) component of the course. This will then be scaled by the externalModerators. Page 4
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