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By Maxwell Fazio
This unit is designed to be taught in AP environmental science (APES). It is a year-long unit that allows students to conduct an authentic longitudinal study of an aquatic ecosystem. Students are instructed to gather data on a weekly basis and then analyze it for patterns or trends. This will be done in the klong (canal) just outside of the American School of Bangkok. Note that the instructor can adapt this unit to accommodate their local environment. The entire class will compile data on a variety of variables using a shared online document. Students will learn to analyze the health of an ecosystem quantitatively and the effects of human impact on that ecosystem. Students will also monitor the biodiversity of organisms (including microorganisms) within that ecosystem. According to the teacher guide on apcentral.collegeboard.com, the lab component of APES provides the instructor with “an opportunity to put their own stamp on the course.” For this reason, the focus of this unit is not on acquiring specific content knowledge, but instead on the experience of conducting a sophisticated ecological investigation and the skills pertaining thereto. There is also an emphasis on drawing conclusions from a large set of data and supporting them with a combination of experimental evidence and background research. Goals addressed (Taken directly from the course description at apcentral.collegeboard.org): • Science is a method of learning more about the world. • Science constantly changes the way we understand the world. • Natural systems change over time and space. • Humans alter natural systems. • Environmental problems have a cultural and social context. • Understanding the role of cultural, social, and economic factors is vital to the development of solutions
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