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AP Environmental Science: Partnership with K-Water

AP Environmental Science is an AP course which will be implemented into the KIS High school curriculum starting next year. Students will be challenged to learn both inside and outside of the classroom, and extend their learnings to solve real-world problems. Mr. Taylor, the AP Envi Sci teacher has poured countless hours into designing the perfect AP Envi Sci curriculum for us students, which consists of a total of eight units. There is no doubt the class will be both enjoyable, as well as educational.

However, KIS decided to take this new AP course a step further, by proposing a joint partnership between our school and K-Water, the South Korean governmental agency for comprehensive water resource development and providing both public and industrial water in the country. Just last month, current Environmental Science students Willy Yun (‘16) and Leona Maruyama (‘17) visited the K-Water HQ located in Taejeon alongside with Ms. Quirin, Mr. O’Connor, and of course, Mr. Taylor. There, further discussions about the partnership was made, and reassurance as to how exactly the partnership would work. Furthermore, they took a tour around the various facilities owned by K-Water, such as their water reservoirs, dams, and educational centers.

Leona and Willy - K-Water

“Leona and Willy – K-Water” (Mr. Taylor)

Amongst the eight units prepared for the AP Envi Sci curriculum, the Land and Water Use unit and Energy Resources, Transformations, and Consumption unit can further be enhanced with K-Water’s resources and facilities. Students will be able to take field trips to K-Water’s facilities, thus allowing them to experience environmental science and engineering hands on, rather than simply through a textbook.

With Mr. Cho K-Water

“With Mr. Cho – K-Water” (Mr. Taylor)

But how exactly would a partnership with K-Water change the students’ learning experience? No need to linger on, waiting for an answer. Blueprint has got you covered. We were able to schedule an exclusive interview with Mr. Taylor on his views, perspective, and plans for the future of AP Envi Sci.

BP: Why K-Water?

Mr. T: This has been a relationship we (KIS) has been working on for a year or two now.  It started with the man who drove us to and from K-water that day – he runs most of our EE – and through him and Justin O’Connor (the Seoul Campus principal who was with us) they came up with a couple of field trips that K-Water sponsored to take elementary students through waste-water treatment plants and drinking water plants. I think that’s been it so far. Then K-water offered to take twelve to eighteen kids on a water sampling excursion in one of their reservoirs, and KIS could not get enough people interested. That’s when Michelle piped in and said there’s a new guy at the high school (me) that might be interested, esp. with the new AP offering.  Anyway –  you do not need all these details, but that’s how this chance with K-water came up to the high school.

BP: How do outdoor activities benefit students?  

Mr. T: It gets them out of the classroom – where the real stuff is!!!  Projects and problem solving within the environmental context have to take place outside, if possible. Almost any career in Environmental Sciences and Engineering will have something to do with the outside, so getting kids out there in the real dirt and water and air is essential to making the learning relevant. Right? Schools and employers want hands-on problem solvers. So outside is where you learn how to collect real data and interpret what they’re saying.

With the help of K-Water, students will gain access to the resources that we wouldn’t have had our hands on, had it not been for the partnership. Students can expect to go on weekend field experiences, visits to the watersheds and reservoirs managed by K-Water, and even trips to learn field sampling methods and analytical techniques. The possibilities are endless; we hope to see great things happen, and experiences beyond our expectations. 

– Leona Maruyama (‘17)

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