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Environmental Systems and Societies     ESS

As a trans disciplinary subject, environmental systems and societies is designed to combine the techniques and knowledge associated with group 4 (the experimental sciences) with those associated with group 3 (individuals and societies).

By choosing to study a trans disciplinary course such as this as part of their diploma, students are able to satisfy the requirements for both groups 3 and 4 of the programme model, thus allowing them to choose another subject from any group (including another group 3 or 4 subject). Trans disciplinary subjects therefore introduce more flexibility into the IB Diploma Programme.

The prime intent of this course is to provide students with a coherent perspective of the interrelationships between environmental systems and societies; one that enables them to adopt an informed personal response to the wide range of pressing environmental issues that they will inevitably come to face. Students’ attention can be constantly drawn to their own relationship with their environment and the significance of choices and decisions that they make in their own lives. It is intended that students develop a sound understanding of the interrelationships between environmental systems and societies, rather than a purely journalistic appreciation of environmental issues. The teaching approach therefore is conducive to students, evaluating the scientific, ethical and socio-political aspects of issues

Environmental Systems and Societies    SL

ESS is an interdisciplinary Group 4 course that is offered only at standard level


ESS is a complex course, requiring a diverse set of skills from its students. It is firmly grounded in both a scientific exploration of environmental systems in their structure and function and in the exploration of cultural, economic, ethical, political, and social interactions of societies with the environment. As a result of studying this course, students will become equipped with the ability to recognize and evaluate the impact of our complex system of societies on the natural world. The interdisciplinary nature of the course requires a broad skill set from students and includes the ability to perform research and investigations and to participate in philosophical discussion. The course requires a systems approach to

environmental understanding and problem solving, and promotes holistic thinking about environmental issues.

Studying this course will lead students to critically examine and develop their own value systems.

Curricular Objectives

 Acquire the knowledge and understandings of environmental systems at a variety of scales


Apply the knowledge, methodologies and skills to analyse environmental systems and issues at a variety of scales

Appreciate the dynamic interconnectedness between environmental systems and societies

 Value the combination of personal, local and global perspectives in making informed decisions and taking responsible actions on environmental issues

 Be critically aware that resources are finite, and that these could be inequitably distributed and exploited, and that management of these inequities is the key to sustainability

 Develop awareness of the diversity of environmental value systems

Develop critical awareness that environmental problems are caused and solved by decisions made by    individuals and societies that are based on different areas of knowledge

Engage with the controversies that surround a variety of environmental issues

Create innovative solutions to environmental issues by engaging actively in local and global contexts.

Learning Outcome

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of relevant facts and concepts, methodologies and techniques, values and attitudes.

Apply this knowledge and understanding in the analysis of  explanations, concepts and theories, data and models, case studies in unfamiliar contexts, arguments and value systems.

Evaluate, justify and synthesize, as appropriate explanations, theories and models arguments and proposed solutions, methods of fieldwork and investigation, cultural viewpoints and value systems

Engage with investigations of environmental and societal issues at the local and global level through evaluating the political, economic and social contexts of issues, selecting and applying the appropriate research and practical skills, necessary to carry out investigations, suggesting collaborative and innovative solutions that demonstrate awareness and respect for the cultural differences and value systems of others.

Teaching methodology

The interdisciplinary nature of the DP course requires a broad skill set from students, including the ability to perform research and investigations, participation in philosophical discussion and problem-solving. The course requires a systems approach to environmental understanding and promotes

holistic thinking about environmental issues. Teachers explicitly teach thinking and research skills such as comprehension, text analysis, knowledge transfer and use of primary sources. They encourage students to develop solutions at the personal, community and global levels.

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    Christ Junior College-Residential
    Kanminike, Kumbalgodu, Mysore Road, Bengaluru-560074
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