Environmental Science: Stepping Out of the Classroom

Students apply environmental science to new realms–new classes, extracurricular activities, and EE-trips.

“Acing a rigorous test or getting a first hand experience? The latter gives me the thrills.” – Kevin Suk (’18)

KIS has steadily advocated a novel approach to learning: learning from doing. Over the few years, there is one course ahead of the game—Environmental Science.

Based on the foundational skills established from the AP Environmental Science class, Diana Koo (’18), Sarah Mirae Kim (’18), and Kevin Suk (’18), with Mr. Taylor, have together built a new class solely focused on Independent Research. The Independent Research class follows a distinctive curriculum in that it does not have one. Instead of referring to specific pages of textbooks or understanding specific theories, the class is about learning on the way—thus, undefined—and taking what they have learned the past year to understand and assess the real world. Kevin (’18) says, “The class is very free and full of creativity; our desire to apply what we learned in school to reality and thereby make a tangible difference allows us to stay motivated.” Throughout the year, the three students will each conduct their own researches on Seoul’s water, fully immersed in the opportunity to take the seed of their ideas, plant it, and feed it.

Apart from the school curriculum, the application of Environmental Science in KIS has been displayed by extracurricular activities—an active environmental club Green PEAS. Despite being an year-old club, Green PEAS has since broadened their sphere of influence; evident changes materialized in the school environment are integrating natural elements to remodel KIS and facilitating the recycling in classrooms. Kevin, founder of the club, says the club “aims to improve KIS’s environment and combine a variety of fields together using ‘green’ as a solute.” He emphasizes that Green PEAS in fact manifests interdisciplinary learning—“those interested in business [have sold] thousands of dollars worth of worm fertilizers, and those talented in designing [have created] bird houses to observe growth from shell to feathers.” At the end, actions taken by members of Green PEAS all come down to the unified willingness to bring change to the KIS environment with knowledge acquired from various subjects.

The passion for Environmental Science further escapes from the restricted boundaries of the school campus. Along with the traditional class Experiential Education trips, KIS now offers Experiential Education trips to K-Water reservoirs. Whereas the applied learning aspect may be a bit open-ended for regular EE trips, the trip to K-Water is an unquestionable application of more specified talent. Kevin adds, “The trip concentrates on doing in-depth analysis and research about the water quality of Korea and how it is regulated by scientists at K-water. We also conduct experiments on plant growth, nutrient run-off, and other topics that are impossible to be tested within the classroom environment. We are literally performing what we learned through the textbook in reality.”

– Yoo Bin Shin (’18)

Featured Image: Claire Yoon (’18)

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