Who are you?
My name is Mr. Giambrone (Mr. G), and I am currently the AP Environmental Science teacher in addition to one of the Earth Science teachers this year. This is currently my second year of teaching, and I couldn’t be more thankful to have started my teaching career here at WHSAD. I grew up in Lindenhurst, NY – a town in Suffolk County on Long Island. It was in Lindenhurst High School where I figured out that I never wanted to leave high school. So, I thought to myself that there was no better way to accomplish this then to become a teacher! From there, I went on to receive my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Hofstra University. In this picture, I (on the left) am standing here with former student, Dajour Williams (’20), on Halloween of last year!
What’s the Curriculum like? (Pre-Quarantine and Post-Quarantine)
Pre-quarantine, the curriculum was both fun and engaging for myself and the students. In Environmental Science, there are quite a few controversial topics regarding the scientific world around us. At the end of each chapter/topic, students would be asked to take a stance on a certain controversial topic and to support this stance or claim with evidence from resources that were used throughout the chapter. Some topics included nuclear power, carbon taxes, and many more. After gathering this supporting evidence, students who have similar claims will team up and participate in an organized debate against students with the opposing viewpoint. It is in these class debates where students had the opportunity to verbally defend their claim. A panel of judges composed of students with a neutral stance on the topic would determine the winner of the debate strictly based on how well the winning side defended their argument with text-based evidence.
What are students doing online and how does it differ from when we were in person?
It was difficult to maintain this structure throughout the quarantine and post-quarantine. A few debates were coordinated through an online platform called Kialo. This platform worked well to organize students’ claims and opposing students’ counter-claims. Other platforms that were used were Google docs, Google slides, Google JamBoard, Pear Deck, Kahoot!, and many more. These helped keep students engaged while allowing students to interact as much as they could through the online platform.
What is the level of difficulty in the class?
An Advanced Placement course is considered to be a college level course. If one passes the AP Exam, they can receive college credit. The course can be considered difficult because it covers a lot of content that is composed of very specific details. However, I do believe that your level of interest in the course lessens the difficulty of it. I do my best to try to make the course as interesting as possible by including relatable content. For each topic, I try to embed current events as well as things relating to architecture and design because many of the students here at WHSAD plan to pursue a career in this field. For example, I focus our sustainability and renewable energy unit around current architectural structures that keep these important factors in mind.
What tests do students have to take at the end of the school year?
At the end of the year, (around mid-to-late May) students have the option to sit for a 3-hour AP Exam. The exam includes a multiple-choice and a free-response section. If a student receives a passing grade (a score of a 3, 4, or 5 out of 5), then it is likely that the college in which the student plans to attend will accept the score and award the student with anywhere from 3 to 8 college credits (or one to two classes).
The attached pictures are Public Service Announcements (PSA’s) that were created by AP Environmental Science students in response to the Australian Bushfires that were occurring last year.
Below are pictures of a virtual debate where the students had to decide whether they were for or against the implementation of a carbon tax to slow global climate change.