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Science Department

Into the Muck: Real-World Science in our Backyard

c17c15c7-0a64-40eb-a324-c463e42fa35cBy Nick Mantas, Science Dept. Chair

ONE OF THE annual issues many AP teachers confront is how to keep a class engaged after the AP exam and the seniors leave. AP Environmental Science (APES) teachers Shauna James and Sydney Stevens seemingly solved the riddle with a project studying a wetland.

The JCC campus has an active wetland, which allows our science teachers the opportunity to get students outside — studying, measuring and recording relevant details.

Throughout the year, APES students learned a variety of concepts they are now applying to a real-wJCC Wetlandorld problem. Students immersed themselves into the project: observing, creating a food web, conducting water quality tests, and even assessing the “benthic health” of the wetland (gross bugs involved).
The class is scheduled to take a field trip to an environmental design firm where they will put into use what they learned and apply design solutions to the wetland. The project gives students real-life exposure to issues using design thinking, problem-solving methodology and experience they can apply to future issues. (I’ve also heard they sometimes eat ice cream outside while the rest of the school is indoors … not fair!)