Villains!

4526b4043e5e76a7655c2268965e0515My how the time flys. It seems that it was just the other day that I was putting up my first edition of the week in review for APES. Here we are, about 4 weeks to go in the semester, exam just around the corner, and posting one of the last week in reviews that will be out this year. We've spent the last couple of weeks talking about air and water pollution. Every year it seems that I get at least one student who asks something to the effect of, "Mr. Kite, do we do ANYTHING good to the Earth?" From the perspective of a student of environmental science it would be easy to hold the view that everything is doom and gloom and that humans are the worst thing to ever happen to the Earth. True or not, it seems to be a point that becomes particularly obvious when talking about the toxins we release into our atmosphere and waterways.

One of the joys of being an APES student is the reality that the College Board expects you to know the names, identities, and impacts of many toxins introduced to the environment at the hands of humans. I've found that one of the best ways to help students remember them is to have the students create villains based on the characteristics of a particular chemical. The activity works something like this. Each pair of students is assigned a particular toxin. They are then asked to create a superhero or supervillain that posses the characteristics of their particular toxin. After creating their character the students write the description of the hero or villain on the board and the class attempts to match the villain to the correct toxin. It seems to be a fairly effective means of helping them keep all the chemicals straight and I get to enjoy names such as Mr. Fuzzy (asbestos) and NO man (Nitrogen Oxides).

As is always the case, I've got another edition of the week in review that reflects this activity. Below you will find a submissions by Mohammad Chenchar and Melissa Amador, reflecting on the week of 4/8-4/12.

Mohammad Writes:

This week, we got to learn all of the major pollutants by designing supervillian characters with special abilities that reflected each of the chemical effects. We then talked about photochemical smog and thermal inversions, more specificly how they each affect cities air health In addition to this we also learned about acid rain/deposition (why do people have to make things complicated?)
Then we learned about various forms of pollution control systems such as baghouse filters, Electrostatic Percepitators, and bed combustion. In additon to other more conventional methoeds such as using a scrubbers. The class found these methoeds of ollutin control very facinating.

Then on the 10th we started learning about ozone and its benefits/harmful effects depending on the location of the ozone.

Mel Concludes:

The week of April 8 to April 12 in Mr. Kite’s class we learned more about air pollutionand we continued to work on our projects that are due at the end of the semester, morespecifically the City Plan part of our projects that is due Wednesday, April 17. OnMonday we learned about natural emissions, anthropogenic emissions, the Clean Air Act,VOCs, photochemical smog, thermal inversion, acid deposition, and pollution control.On Tuesday Mr. Kite was not in class because he had a meeting to go to. On this day wehad to read over sections 15.6 and 15.7. We also had to work in pairs and complete thechapter 15 multiple choice and the free response #1. After that was completed we got achance to work on our project. On Wednesday we continued with our notes, where welearned more about air pollution. We learned about stratospheric ozone and its formation,ozone destruction, CFCs, the Montreal Protocol, and indoor pollution. On Wednesday wehad did an activity with indoor pollution. We were told to create a PSA for better stovesin developing countries. It was due at the end of the period, where groups presented theirPSAs. On Thursday we continued on with our notes. We learned about global warming,positive and negatives of the greenhouse effects, and anthropogenic sources that couldpollute the atmosphere. On Friday we finished our notes for the unit. We learned aboutthe IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change), paleoclimatology and how ice coresare related to that, finally, we also learned about positive and negative feedbacks. Our teston this unit will be soon and as a class we need to prepare our minds to make sure weunderstand all of the topics discussed the last couple of weeks.

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