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Topics Explored: Introduction to Environmental Science, Data Processing and Analysis, Scientific Writing

This case study explores the history of the American Chestnut tree and the chestnut blight (Cryphonectria parasitica) in the United States, and examines their respective impacts on the ecosystem and biodiversity. The role of the American Chestnut Tree in the battle against rising atmospheric CO2 levels and the use of  genetic modifications as potential solutions are considered. Answer key included.

Case Study: American Chestnut (Teacher & Student Edition)

  • ZIP file containing 2 PDF files 
    (1 Teacher Edition and 1 Student Edition)

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS):
    HS-ESS3-1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity. 
    HS-LS2-7. Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
    HS-ESS3-4. Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.

    AP® Environmental Science Learning Objectives:
    1.1 Explain how the availabilityof resources influences species interactions.
    2.1 Explain levels of biodiversity and their importance to the ecosystems.
    2.2 Describe ecosystem services. Describe the results of human disruptions to ecosystem services. 

    AP® Environmental Science Practices:
    Practice 1: Explain environmental concepts, processes, and models presented in written format. 
    Practice 2: Analyze visual representations of environmental concepts and processes. 
    Practice 3: Analyze sources of information about environmental issues.  
    Practice 4: Analyze research studies that test environmental principles.  
    Practice 5: Analyze and interpret quantitative data represented in tables, charts, and graphs.
    Practice 6: Apply quantitative methods to address environmental concepts.
    Practice 7: Propose and justify solutions to environmental problems.

    IB® Environmental Systems Learning Objectives:  
    1.1.10 Evaluate the strengths and limitations of models. 
    2.6.1 Explain the concepts of limiting factors and carrying capacity in the context of population growth.
    4.1.5 Explain the relationships among ecosystem stability, diversity, succession and habitat. 
    4.2.1 Identify factors that lead to loss of diversity.
    4.2.4 Describe and explain the factors that may make species more or less prone to extinction.


    AP® is a registered trademark registered by the College Board®. IB® is a trademark registered by the International Baccalaureate Organization®. This work/product/service has been developed independently from and is not endorsed by the College Board® or the International Baccalaureate Organization®. 

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