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Guiding Students through the Independent Investigation3 February 2019

It is important to keep the independent Investigation to a scale which is doable in the ten hours allocated. This is a relatively simple investigation and not an Extended Essay. There are similarities... more

Exemplar Lesson Planfree7 April 2019

With so many resources on the internet, sometimes it can seem like an overwhelming task to select the best ones to use when you are being observed. My most recent lesson was rating outstanding so if you... more

Designing Surveys and Questionnaires7 April 2019

Students need to learn to design their own surveys and questionnaires. You can use this activity as a tool for practising designing such investigations or you can use the survey as a ready to go tool.... more

4.1 An Introduction to Water Systems - The Hydrological Cycle30 August 2018

In this short introduction to water systems, we will learn about the hydrological cycle as a system, identifying stores and flows in the system and how humans impact the system. The next part of this... more

Getting Startedfree6 April 2019

This section of the site is aimed at new teachers to ESS but there may be something for everyone. more

7.2 Climate Change - Causesfree5 May 2019

This subtopic contains a selection of slightly different angles on Climate Change. Students need to understand the difference between weather and climate, the difference between the greenhouse effect... more

4.2 Access to Fresh Water - the problems30 August 2018

It is important to contrast why different locations may be suffering from the challenges of access to fresh water. Freshwater is unequally distributed around the world (some areas are dry and others,... more

3.4 Conservation of Biodiversity15 February 2019

After the previous sub-topic this is an opportunity to fill the students with possibilities and good news stories. Of course it isn't all good news and students need to learn to critically analyse the... more

Topic 1 Practical Ideasfree13 February 2019

Topic 1 doesn't lend itself to many practical activities but there are some simple introductory activities and simple labs which you could try. I have categorised these labs and activities per subtopic.... more

Unit Tests6 April 2019

These tests can be used as end of unit tests to check understanding of a unit / topic. Each are focussed on different aspects of the final assessment. more

4.3 Aquatic Food Production Systems15 February 2019

This is quite a new topic for ESS. Although teachers had the option, in the previous syllabus, to teach an aquatic food production system, I have not found this a common option. Past case studies have... more

Topic 7: Climate change and energy productionfree16 February 2019

This topic has been greatly updated and has moved from "the issue of global warming" to a much more integrated approach to energy and climate change.This may be one of the fastest evolving subject areas... more

4.4 Water Pollution - Introduction15 February 2019

By the time I come to teach this topic, my students already know about biological oxygen demand, sampling water, indicator species and eutrophication but this depends on the order of the units that you... more

Course Organisation12 February 2019

There are many roads to Rome and there are may ways to organise your course. There a multitude of areas of expertise behind an ESS teacher. Some of us have a Biology background, others Geography... more

Topic 1 Test - Introduction to Paper 2 Part B1 December 2018

This test is an introduction to students in the style of Paper 2 Section B questions. I intend to use this as a homework activity but it could be done under test conditions with 15 minutes allocated to... more

3.4 International Conventions on Biodiversity17 March 2019

“The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is an international legally-binding treaty with three main goals: conservation of biodiversity; sustainable use of biodiversity; fair and equitable sharing... more

4.1 The Hydrological Cycle Challengefree17 February 2019

Students are very familiar with the water cycle and so the challenge for a teacher is to take them beyond what they know, or think they know. Students can mostly draw a version of the water cycle without... more

Topic 1: Foundations of ESSfree16 February 2019

In the previous version of the ESS course many teachers left Topic 7 as it was then until the end of the course. This meant that students didn't have the fundamentals or foundations of ESS during their... more

6.3 Photochemical Smog15 February 2019

There are some subtle differences between this topic and the 2010 version of "urban air pollution" and this needs careful consideration. This topic links back to 1.5 Humans and Pollution and 1.5 The... more

Your Route Through the Course14 February 2019

We can teach this course in many different orders or through themes. Participating in discussions with fellow workshop leaders, examiners and in online forum such as the Facebook group for ESS teachers... more

Topic 6 Practical Ideasfree13 February 2019

There are many activities that can be undertaken to do with the various types of pollution in this topic. In fact, I always used to do an assessed lab in this area under the old syllabus. In this new... more

Topic 4 Test - Resource Book Paper 12 December 2018

I decided that my students needed more practice with the Resource Book questions and short answer questions so I developed the additional questions to add to the May 2015 Resource Book about Inle Lake.... more

Unit 1 Overview: Thinking about Environmental Systems1 October 2017

This unit takes students through topics 1.1 Environmental History 1.1 Environmental Value Systems 1.2 Systems and Models 1.3 Energy and Equilibria of the course and needs about eight hours of teaching... more

How to Mark - Paper 2 Section B2 August 2017

Paper 2 Section B contains what I call the essay questions. Students eventually need to answer 2 whole questions (parts a, b and c) in their final exam. Paper 2 is worth 50% of the entire grade for a... more

Writing the Independent Investigation23 April 2017

The Independent Investigation (II) should take about 10 hours of your time, including the planning and investigation stages. It is worth 25% of the final grade reflecting the importance that the IB places... more

Guide to past paper questions for topic 46 May 2019

This is a huge topic in the course. Newer elements that might well be lacking for examples in earlier past papers include the controversial harvesting of a species, questions on aquaculture and questions... more

Topic 4.4 test - short response questions30 April 2019

A quick test to assess understanding of topic 4.4 1. point source pollution could be a sewage pipe or a dead animal. A non point source pollution source could be runoff from fields or unidenified farmyards... more

Key Vocabulary and Concepts - Topic 17 April 2019

On this page we have quizlets for each of the subtopics in topic 1 and a downloadable summary sheet for the topic.These are great activities while you are travelling to and from school. Topic 1 Definitions... more

Developing Essay Skills in ESS10 March 2019

The requirement for students to write not one but two structured essays in Paper 2 is a challenge. If they do not possess effective skills beforehand they will really struggle to manage their time wisely... more

6.4 Acid Deposition15 February 2019

Acid deposition was a major environmental problem in the 1970s and 1980s and continues to be a problem as long as fossil fuels are burned. This is one of the reasons why it is still a large part of the... more

Topic 2 Practical Ideasfree13 February 2019

There are many practical activities and labs which can be done during this topic. You will need to think about when you teach these units as some of these practicals can work in classroom settings with... more

Student Exemplar IA - Surveys - Meat Eatingfree3 February 2019

An increasing number of my students are interested in exploring attitudes around how to move people to eat less meat. This particular investigation was based on the failure of our environment club to... more

Topic 2 Test - Data and Short Essay1 December 2018

This test is designed for subtopics 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3 but as with all ESS tests, students will need to be able to show understanding of feedback, Environmental Value Systems and a systems approach. This... more

4.2 Conflict over Water9 September 2018

There's not a lot of time allocated to this topic statement but the guide specifically states that students should be able to discuss how international conflict over water can arise. There are some great... more

Media - Bringing the Subject to Life5 May 2019

If you have suggestions, please let us know and we will update the list.BBC Human PlanetBBC: TribesThe LoraxBBC EarthBlue Planet and Blue Planet 2HomeThe new Netflix series - Our Planet - a quite remarkable... more

Student Accessfree15 April 2019

On this page we have instructions about how to set your students up to use the ESS website and how to make the most of some of the opportunities it offers. I use the website in every lesson, using the... more

Key Vocabulary and Concepts - Topic 27 April 2019

On this page we have quizlets for each of the subtopics in topic 2 and a downloadable summary sheet for the topic.These are great activities while you are travelling to and from school. Topic 2 Definitions... more

Student Exemplar IA - Surveys - Plastic Use3 February 2019

This student used a survey technique to investigate knowledge and practice around plastic recycling. She wanted to know if a family's cultural background had an effect on their practices.An interesting... more

Paper 1 - Adaptations4 September 2017

Being able to use Past Paper Case Studies is an important resource but the new exam has a greater emphasis on a final holistic question. I'm compiling examples of possible questions here that you could... more

Examination Skillsfree19 May 2019

Students can find it difficult to master good examination writing skills. This activity could be used as a starter activity to introduce some common mistakes students make when answering questions. more

Past Paper Questions by Topic6 May 2019

I have listed all past paper questions on Paper 1 and 2 (until 2016) and Paper 2 from May 2017 by topic. I have not included the case study questions as it seems pointless as they have been designed to... more

Example 2 Essay Response (part c)25 April 2019

To what extent does the concepts of net productivity and natural income useful in managing the sustainable harvesting of named resources from natural ecosystems?In the runup to the exams I would spend... more

Welcome to ESSfree25 April 2019

If you want to present an idea from the website to your class or introduce an idea or play some of the multimedia, it's a good idea to use the presentation mode. This is a really neat way to make your... more

1.1 Environmental Value Systemsfree25 April 2019

Environmental value systems are an excellent way to start the course and get to know your students. I like to start by asking students to explore what they know already, who they are (in the context of... more

ESS Book Reviews23 April 2019

In addition, Zoe loves reading non-fiction books related to the course and so we''ll add recommendations here. These can be used for summer reads or sometimes chapter readings will help supplement the... more

Case Studies in ESS16 April 2019

This course is built around case studies and using examples in exam responses is encouraged. This teaching strategy helps enrich the course and engage students. In order for students to keep track of... more

Topic 4 Practical Ideasfree7 April 2019

Water and Aquatic Food Production Systems and Societies Practical Ideas: Students need to be able to monitor aquatic ecosystems and so there are some practical ideas which should be introduced in this... more

Practical Approachfree16 February 2019

Topic 1 doesn't lend itself to many practical activities but there are some simple introductory activities and simple labs which you could try. I have categorised these labs and activities per subtopic.... more

4.2 Conflict over water resources case study15 February 2019

In this activity students can use virtual reality headsets and BBC produced footage to put themselves right at the centre of this issueThe BBC recently launched 2 really good virtual reality videos reporting... more

6.1 The Atmosphere as a System15 February 2019

Depending upon which order you have taught the course, you might be able to save some time in this sub-topic. I have already taught topic 1 and 7 at this point and so students already know about albedo... more