ES-Environmental SustainabilityStudents investigate and design solutions in response to real-world challenges related to clean and abundant drinking water, food supply, and renewable energy. Environmental Sustainability (ES) is an interdisciplinary engineering course in which students investigate and design solutions to solve real-world challenges related to clean and abundant drinking water, food supply enhancement, and renewable energy. This course has the potential to bring together a diverse group of students with interests in biology, chemistry, and/or environmental studies, and it gives students the opportunity to lead their own learning, collaborate, and gain skills needed to communicate their creative solutions.In ES, students also gain insights into the future career opportunities that exist in the areas they are exploring.Through real-world activities, ES students explore a variety of disciplines:Chemistry: In ES, students investigate water pollution, including the cause, impact, and methods of prevention. As they explore water quality, they administer and analyze chemical tests to determine the presence of potentially harmful pollutants.Molecular Biology: Students examine genetically modified plants as a potential solution to food security issues around the globe. In their explorations, they employ molecular biology techniques to test food sources for the presence of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), such as Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) genes, which allow plants to produce a natural insecticide.Environmental Science: Students examine energy use – past, present, and future – and explore how to biomanufacture biofuels from algae and cellulosic plant materials. Students design, build, and operate bench-top scale algae bioreactors to learn about the challenges associated with producing biofuels in a sustainable and environmentally conscious manner.
Within the PLTW Engineering sequence of courses, ES is a specialty course designed to follow Introduction to Engineering Design and Principles of Engineering. ES is aligned with national standards in math and English language arts and Next Generation Science Standards.