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Our ESS Journey

Tuesday 16 April 2019

It is an immense privilege to teach this course but it also has many challenges. Students may choose it because they "hate" science, some may choose to do it as a strategic option and quite a few might actually be interested in the subject for its own sake. Anyway, here we have shared a bit about our backgrounds and journey to this point.

Dr. Zoe Badcock

Hello! I've been teaching various versions of ESS since 2004, starting in South India and since 2007 in Switzerland at the International School of Zug and Luzern (ISZL). I'm a Biologist with a Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology (Glasgow) and a Botany degree (Edinburgh). During my studies I was an active field biologist, taking part in vegetation surveys in Scotland and Durham. Many of the photos on the website are taken by me on my travels around the world. I must have known that I would eventually find them a use. For a while, I dabbled in travel writing and photography.

I've been an ESS Paper 2 examiner and senior examiner since 2006 and Internal Assessment moderator when I have the time. I've also been part of the curriculum review for the version released in 2015 and again in the current review. These are exciting times as we plan what an HL version of this course might look like. I've been a workshop leader until 2015 when I was too involved in the assessment side of ESS to do both roles.

Beginning teaching ESS in an international setting changed my life. I find that the course is transformational for many. I have students and parents tell me how it has changed the way they look at the world. I wrote a little about this in my first blog  New to ESS? 

I use the website every lesson and my students use it independently to study from and prepare for their exams. The present mode is a great feature to present parts of the site and introduce ideas and activities or show the embedded videos or presentations. If you are going to miss a lesson, using the student access to give a direct link to a page can save you a lot of work as students can then work through an activity independently. As the DP Coordinator at my school, I need to use this more than I would like.

I hope you find the site useful. We are happy to hear your ideas and desires for improvements to come. This is a constantly evolving project. Good luck with your ESS journey. 

Laura Hamilton

Hi everyone, welcome to the site. My interest in environmental issues began with a degree in Applied Ecological Sciences from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. I've been teaching ESS for 6 years now and after stints teaching in Thailand and Ireland, I have settled down at Aiglon College in the beautiful  Swiss Alps with my husband, 3 children and 1 dog!

I am annoyingly passionate about ESS. I am a Paper 1 and Extended Essay examiner and active in the school running the vegan club, environmental advocacy club and this year, a service project to the Peruvian Amazon. ESS is a completely captivating subject;  the more you invest in it, the more you will be rewarded with insights into our natural world which isn't really possible in other subject areas. The uptake of ESS is growing in our school, results are improving and as the only ESS teacher here I have worked hard to collect resources and create lessons which appeal to a wide diversity of students. I have shared these on the site and I am sure you will find they save you lots of time and will help engage your students. 

Please enjoy the site and feedback to us with your ideas and suggestions. It's great to be able to work on a resource that can develop over time.


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