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2.2 Communities and Ecosystems15 February 2019

I teach this sub-topic immediately following 2.1. They naturally flow from one to the next idea. I have enjoyed re-imagining how I teach ecology since the last version of the ESS syllabus. I focus less... more

2.1 Species and Populationsfree15 February 2019

To start this new unit I begin with some simple definitions then tackle the fundamental and realised niche. I find this brings students straight into the world of ecology, actively using words that can... more

2.3 Flows of Energy and Matter15 February 2019

This sub-topic links to the very idea of systems when we try to understand what happens to the energy that enters the earth's global systems and how does it flow through the system. Is it transferred... more

1.4 Sustainability15 February 2019

Initially I combined this Sub-Topic with 8.1 as an introduction to Human Societies and resource use but due to forced circumstances (time pressures) it has moved to a separate small unit preceding sub-topic... more

1.5 Humans and Pollution15 February 2019

I'm still not quite sure where is the best place to teach this content. Initially I thought I'd place it together with climate change but I've changed my mind and at the moment I think it may go nicely... 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

2.4 Biomes, Zonation and Succession25 February 2019

In Sub-topic 2.4 we learn about biomes, zonation and succession. This is an interesting grouping of topics as they can overlap conceptually. I have chosen to teach these topics relatively late in year... more

Topic 2: Ecosystems and Ecologyfree16 February 2019

There are five sub-topics in this topic. You may need to think carefully about whether you split this topic into several units and also split over time in order to maximise your access to fieldwork opportunities. more

2.3 Productivity6 November 2019

Students need to understand how energy flows through an ecosystem. A key element of this is to understand photosynthesis, respiration and how to find the productivity of a system. They should know the... more

Guide to past paper questions for topic 16 May 2019

I have collated all topic 1 past paper questions and placed them in a table here. As topic 1 is the foundations of the course there will be some questions that also lend themselves to more specific topics... more

Guide to past paper questions for topic 26 May 2019

Lots of practice for your students here with this vast array of questions42a,b more

2.1 Fundamental vs Realised Nichesfree15 February 2019

To introduce the niche I start with a quick overview of some key definitions, especially abiotic and biotic factors then give a schematic of the niche that I've devised. We then watch two videos, one... more

2.3 Introducing Primary Productivity27 October 2019

I decided I wanted my students to have more of a connection with what is happening during photosynthesis. We are an MYP school and sometimes their background knowledge can be very patchy. Also, most of... 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

8.1 An Introduction to Human Population Demographics18 November 2018

For a biologist starting to teach what was then Environmental Systems, this topic was my biggest fear. I had never studied this topic academically and so had to set about teaching myself first before... more

2.1 Biotic Interactions Review11 September 2018

Use this presentation to make sure you know your definitions and can give examples of biotic interactions. more

2.2 Feeding Relationships Review11 September 2018

To start this topic of feeding relationships it is useful to familarise students with some basic vocabularly which they are likely to not know. This review introduces the ideas of energy flows and trophic... more

2.2 Energy Flow and Feeding Relationshipsfree15 February 2019

I start this section by reminding students of the first and second laws of thermodynamics that they learned about in Structure of a System but this could easily be embedded into a unit based on these... more

2.1 Predator-Prey Interactions Activity11 September 2018

Predator prey interactions between wolves and moose have been studied for several decades on Isle Royale in the US. This has become a classic case study of population dynamics. It is an isolated island... more

2.1 Biotic Interactions15 February 2019

For this lesson, we watch this short video about biological communities which includes important definitions. I then go through the definitions on this page quickly and finish with an activity where the... more

Checking Your Understanding14 February 2019

In this section of the website, we will collect a set of questions which you can use for review of each subtopic. Thanks to Megan McClain for the original questions which have occasionally been adapted.... more

2.1 Yellowstone National Park Wolvesfree3 October 2019

This activity is adapted from one created by Kathy Felter Freeman as an APES lab. I use the activity to develop data processing skills at the beginning of the course. I am looking for students to use... 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 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

2.1 Fundamental vs Realised Niche Conceptfree10 September 2018

Use the presentation to introduce key terms and ideas. Watch the videos. The HHMI videos are excellent at putting these concepts into the real world and it's great to see Scientists in action. If time... more

7.1 Energy Choices and Security14 February 2019

The idea of energy resources has been reframed in the context of energy security. The global context of energy needs is growing and developing and will need to be understood.Students need to understand... more

3.3 Threats to Biodiversity17 March 2019

To start this sub-topic we need to understand the challenges to quantifying the number of species that exist in the world. This gives an opportunity to link to and the way that scientists work. This also... 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

Topic 2.1 Practical Ideas - Species and Populations18 April 2019

On this page we collect together practical ideas that can be used to build your Practical Scheme of Work (PSOW). This part of the course is integral to the skill building needed in this interdisciplinary... more

2.2 Bioaccumulation and Biomagnification15 February 2019

This may be a depressing topic but it is quite fun to teach and very relevant to our lives. It links to 1.5 Humans and Pollution, 4.4 Water Pollution - Introduction and 8.3 Solid Domestic Waste 8.3... more

2.2 Investigating Food Chainsfree6 October 2019

On this page you will find a link to an HHMI Biointeractive activity that you can use to help students explore food chains and the human impacts on the food chains in Gorongosa National Park. There is... more

2.1 Population Biology Review3 October 2019

Students need to understand how populations change over time, growing, crashing, stabilising around an equlibrium. They need to understand species interactions which lead to population changes - competition,... more

2.4 Succession Case Studies7 April 2019

I have used this task for many years and it helps students engage with specific case studies and as a class, if you organise your students to cover the different case studies presented here, then they... more

2.5 Investigating Ecosystemsfree15 February 2019

What? How Many? Where? Why? These are the questions that an ecologist is attempting to answer when they are studying a research site. I believe the best way to teach this sub-topic is through practical... more

Topic 2.2 Practical Ideas - Communities and Ecosystems18 April 2019

On this page we collect together practical ideas that can be used to build your Practical Scheme of Work (PSOW). This part of the course is integral to the skill building needed in this interdisciplinary... more

The Topicsfree13 February 2019

This current ESS curriculum is for first teaching in September 2015 and was prepared from about 2011-2013 by a group of educators from around the world each bringing a different perspective on the course.... more

The Dilemma of DDT15 February 2019

The mosquito pictured is Aedes aegypti, largely responsible for the transmission of the outbreak of Zika virus in South America. Another group of mosquitoes, Anopheles sp. are responsible for the transmission... 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

2.3 flows of matter14 January 2019

These two cycles underpin a lot of the other topics throughout the course, namely topic 7 and 4. These activities will help students understand human impacts on the cycles reenforced with relevant case... more

2.1 Populations15 February 2019

I start this idea with the activity from topic 8, Modelling Population Growth. Students need to plot the population change over time in two populations, a yeast population and a bee populations. These... more

4.2 Access to Fresh Water - the problems8 September 2019

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

2.3 Flows of Energy and Matter19 August 2018

I have produced some activities for students who need more support and scaffolding than others. Some students do prefer this way of working and from time to time I use these type of resources to support... 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

2.2 Bioaccumulation and Biomagnification13 February 2019

This is a modification of Lab 4 in Environmental Science Lab Manual by D.T. Wells, largely by Ryan Carter from the APES Facebook Group (a closed and private group).1. Each M&M represents a phytoplankton.... more

Topic 1 Quiz10 September 2017

This quiz features a variety of multiple choice, drag and drop, and model answer questions. Each time you select this quiz a new assortment of questions will appear. Topics: Topic 1: Foundations of ESSLevels:Types:... more

6.4 Acid Deposition8 September 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

2.3 Productivityfree15 February 2019

In this topic we need to look at how energy enters the global system and then goes on to contribute to global productivity. This can link back to sub-topic 1.2 and 1.3 with the idea of albedo and feedback... more

3.4 Protected Area Case Study22 March 2019

Students need to be able to evaluate the success of a named protected area. I like to give students ownership of the choice of protected area but some do work better than others, either because there... more

5.2 Inequality of food distribution15 February 2019

This significant idea revolves around the idea there is a vast amount of food waste produced every year around the world but the reasons for this waste differ between LEDCs and MEDCs.There is a thread... more

1.3 Energy and Equilibria15 February 2019

This really is one of the most crucial ideas in the course and has been extended from the 2008 subject guide. Students need to understand the difference between positive and negative feedback loops and... more