CCD ... and ... Exams

I won't lie, this post is intended to kill two birds with one stone. I'm a bit behind in posting the week in review, so I'm going to get two weeks with one post. Unfortunately, the two weeks have been quite different from one another, so the following may be a bit disjointed. I'd like to start out with CCD. Now, if you know what CCD is, hats off to you. I'm impressed because quite honestly I didn't know until a couple of years ago. CCD stands for Colony Collapse Disorder, a plague that is currently causing honeybee populations around the United States to collapse. You'd think that whole hives of bees disappearing would have some sort of explanation, but none has yet been found. All of the inhabitants of a hive just disappear. I'm sure some of you are thinking, "Sweet! No more bees means no more stinging pests." Except for the fact that better than 1/3 of our food supply depends on pollination by those stinging pests. Without bees farmers suffer significant decreases in crop yield which results in rising food prices for us. Not to mention the fact that tons of plants that we don't eat rely on bees for pollination, as well. The folks over at TED ED have just put out a fantastic module on this very topic. If you find your interest piqued, I would go check it out. In the meantime, I would recommend taking a second to read the first of our two week in review postings. This one comes to us by way of Jenaiah Nickerson:

Jenaiah Writes:

This past week in our Environmental Science class has been very productive and fun filled as always. Although we didn’t do any experiments or labs like we often do, we further enhanced our knowledge on a previously studied topic. We spent a few days studying a little bit more about biodiversity and how humans contribute to the decline of this very important asset. We took some time to watch an educational video on the factors that promoted the decline of biodiversity and each partnered up to chose which cause we thought was most concerning and wrote a CER paragraph on it.

Prior to that video, we watched another interesting film that introduced us to the present, mysterious case of the vanishing honeybees. We learned about the way that queen bees are made/’chosen’, and how the honeybee population was rapidly declining at an alarming rate. The three possible offenders are the verroa mites, which stunts the growth or the bees, the queen’s genetics, which is now very weak and harmful chemicals, which is a factor that affects almost everything and everyone. Our class discussion was solely about how and why honeybee colonies were suddenly disappearing without a trace, which puzzles the minds of many. The phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder is now a serious case that researchers are working ever so hard to solve, as it will negatively affect the human population.

Now ... switching gears. Test season is upon us. Way back in February I remember spending a fair amount of time writing about the fact that every time the sky sneezed we got a snow day. At the time I was fretting that my APES students (who already had a very tight timeframe for finishing material) would not be able to effectively finish their curriculum. Then it happened, we got our waiver to move the date of the exam. Suddenly May 5th became May 21st and I had 3 new weeks on the calendar. Love it when that happens. With our new time we've been able to do more test review then has previously been possible and the students have had a good amount of time to work on their Project Restoration pieces. All that being said, I will get out of the way and let Taylor Byers wrap up this edition of the week in review.

Taylor writes:

This week in APES has been a whirlwind of final assignments and AP exam preparation. We kicked off the week with our final video on environmental legislation, then immediately went into exam prep. mode. This includes Learnerator challenges (where students tried desperately to get into the Top 25 Leaderboard for extra credit) and practice AP multiple choice, math, and free response questions. Perhaps the most pressing matter on every APES student’s mind is the Project Restoration plan. This multi-part project tells the story of the rise and fall of a fictitious city that incorporates sustainable and eco-friendly energy options. Many of the APES students are breathing a sigh of relief because of the AP exam being pushed back to the end of May.  The blizzard of 2014 may have been unwelcomed in the early months of the semester, but now the extra preparation time is proving to come to many students’ advantage. We are on the homestretch as APES comes to a close in less than 3 weeks.