Unit 8 Topic Triage

Topic Triage in Units 8

Let me start by offering the same disclaimer from my previous post on units 6 and 7:

I am not advocating skipping entire topics in the CED or passing judgment on how anyone else has decided to prioritize the pacing of their units. 

I'm just trying to share the topics that I feel can be condensed and covered minimally in class in order to allow more class time for topics that are more complex or cary greater exam relevance based on both the weighting laid out in the CED as well as released MCQs and FRQs.

Unit 8 is both longer and more diverse than units 6 and 7. There are a handful of pollutants and diseases to learn about, along with processes like eutrophication and biomagnification, and concepts/models like landfills and sewage treatment.

Key vocabulary/concepts to be sure you cover in class: PCBs, DDT, mercury, sediment (as a pollutant and location for POPs), nutrients, dissolved oxygen, eutrophication, biomagnification, sanitary landfill, sewage treatment, e-waste, mangrove swamps, ecosystem services of wetlands, pathogen, disease vector

While there are fewer obvious topics to breeze through, there are a ton of opportunities to pick up the pace by covering two topics at once.

    • 8.1 is an extremely brief topic that can be woven in throughout the other topics by just asking students to come up with PS and NPS examples for different pollutants.
    • Unit 8 includes one of the few documentaries (Frontline’s Poisoned Waters) that I’ve found fully worth the class time to watch. Depending on the year, we watch all, or a few portions of this documentary and answer these questions that relate to topics 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.5, 8.7, 8.8, 8.10.
    • 8.2 is a huge topic that I divide up and cover with other topics. The range of tolerance and coral bleaching content is shifted to the ocean acidification lab in unit 9. The oil spill info is covered with a group FRQ write since I find that rubric is such a great way to quickly cover oil spills and clean up methods. The dead zone and oxygen sag curve are lumped in with 8.5. The heavy metal and mercury concepts are covered in 8.3 and 8.7. The litter and increased sediment in waterways concepts are covered when we sample water quality at a local stream. If you have a stream within walking distance of your school and a LaMotte Green Water Monitoring Kit, I highly recommend spending a day testing water quality (or bringing in samples for students to test.) You can address so many topics with a water sampling day (5.13, 8.2, 8.5, 8.6).
    • I like to combine the oil spill part of 8.2 with 8.4 and have students first write a group practice FRQ on oil spills and then create wetland PSAs for 8.4 that they’ll present to the class after 30 minutes or so of work time.  
    • 8.3, 8.7, and 8.8 can be combined since some endocrine disruptors like DDT and PCBs are also POPs that biomagnify. In addition to covering these concepts in the Poisoned Waters documentary, I also recommend this biomagnification activity from the Monterey Bay Aquarium that Kristi has broken down so well on her website.
    • 8.9 and 8.10 can also be covered together, since they deal with waste disposal and reduction methods. If you can swing it, a field trip to a recycling education center and wastewater treatment plant is a great way to cover 8.9 - 8.11 all in one day.
      • If you can’t pull off a field trip, you can cover landfills with a group table drawing and get in a little more content and FRQ practice with this MSW FRQ either individually or as an open-note, group practice FRQ. I like the latter method for introducing a new topic and practicing FRQ writing at the same time. There are neat trash analysis and decomposition labs for these topics if you search the FB group, but they usually require a bit more time.
    • For 8.12 and 8.13, you can analyze your soil salinization lab data and find the LD50 for the species of plants you used, or conduct this lab now and review some unit 5 topics while you’re at it. Again, Kristi has an awesome write up on how to conduct this lab.
    • For 8.14 and 8.15, I usually cover them together in one day with just my notes slides for the topics. 
  • Topic triage: If trying to move more quickly through unit 8, I would spend less class time on 8.1, 8.6, 8.14, and 8.15. 8.2 can be divided up and covered with numerous other topics and units. 8.3, 8.7, and 8.8 can be combined. 8.5 and 8.6 can be combined, 8.9 and 8.10 can be combined. 8.12 and 8.13 can be combined. 8.14 and 8.15 can be combined.

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