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Environmental science topics added to required science classes

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Environmental science topics added to required science classes

Photo by Kurumi Sato.

Photo by Kurumi Sato.

Photo by Kurumi Sato.

Photo by Kurumi Sato.

By Blake Layman

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The MCPS Office of Curriculum and Instructional Programs recently approved the addition of environmental science topics to the curriculums in existent high school science classes—including biology, chemistry and physics—across all MCPS schools. These new changes are slated to be implemented over the next two to three years.

The new curriculum is meant to compensate for the lack of a required environmental science class. Currently, the only class with a curricula that includes environmental concepts is AP Environmental Science. Changes are intended to raise student awareness of environmental degradation, covering concepts like global warming, pollution and overpopulation.

“They’re incorporating this into the curriculum because it’s relevant to what we’re doing,” biology teacher Janice Barouth said. “It adds that level of understanding to the environment around us and how that all relates to biology and chemistry and physics.”

Chemistry teacher Mandy Novarr supports the new curriculum and likes that it connects to her other course, APES. She hopes it will help students understand the effect they have on the planet, she said.

“We need to understand the evolution of Earth and its living inhabitants as dynamic and in constant feedback with one another,” Novarr said. “This dynamic impact is fascinating and important to understand.”

But not all science teachers agree with the change. The addition of Earth science principles will reduce the rigor and difficulty of the classes, as more difficult mathematical concepts will be replaced, chemistry teacher Jasen Gohn said.

Junior Zach Zeldow, who currently takes APES, thinks the change will be beneficial for students.

“I just think it’s important to learn about the environment because it’s the world we live in,” Zeldow said. “Learning about it allows us to understand what’s going on around us.”

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