Science department introduces new IB elective course

Class to focus on environmental impacts


AP Environmental Science teacher Al Wachutka lectures his students in preparation for the unit test. Wachutka will be teaching the science department’s newest elective, IB Environmental Sciences and Societies beginning next school year.

AP Environmental Science teacher Al Wachutka will introduce a new year-long science elective called IB Environmental Systems & Societies for juniors and seniors next school year.

According to Wachutka, the new elective is similar to the AP Environmental Science (APES) course, but goes into more depth when looking at the societal impact.

“This (course) is still about environmental science. The difference with the approach we are going to take are looking at the three pillars that support the curriculum,” Wachutka said. “One (example) is field research students will be conducting, and another is becoming more involved in community action around environmental science.”

Current APES student William Matthews said with the focus on environmental awareness, he recommends everyone take courses about the environment.

“It’s really important for everyone to learn about the environment. I can really relate the things we learn to the stuff we hear in the news and it’s really relevant,” Mathews said.

Junior Eitan Grad, a former APES student, said he would consider taking the class next year because he enjoyed APES, and likes the depth IB Environmental Sciences and Society will go into.

“I think (IB Environmental Science and Society) is really interesting and exciting, since back in ninth grade I was surprised by how interesting APES was. I like the sociology aspect of it,” Grad said.

Wachutka said in the elective course, teachers and students take a different approach to labs, seeing them as research.

“(Labs are) incredibly important, but it wouldn’t be the idea of labs, it’s research,” Wachutka said. “We’re eventually looking at your own data, and what you’re taking and designing to answer research questions.”

IB Coordinator Jenny Magdal said she looks forward to the introduction of this course because it will give all students more options for IB courses.

“We want more students to take more IB classes other than the ones counting toward the diploma,” Magdal said. “Our hope is that by having an interesting course they might not have had a chance to take before, we’re going to get more people doing the course but not necessarily doing the diploma.”

Magdal said any student can take the course, and the course is accepted as an IB class on their transcript.

“We hope that it would give students more opportunities to complete the diploma if they’re not interested in other topics,” Magdal said.