Environmental Systems & Societies

Mark Twain International School

Environmental Systems & Societies Course Description


Social responsibility is the notion that all individuals and organizations have a moral obligation to act for the benefit of society at large. Individuals and organizations are responsible for the impacts their decisions have on the environment and they are expected to operate in a transparent and ethical manner in order to protect the sustainability of society and the planet.
Through studying the Environmental Systems and Societies Course, students at the Mark Twain International School will be provided with a coherent perspective on life endangered issues related to finite resources, supply chain risks, pollution of the air we breathe and water we drink, climate change and global warming.


The Mark Twain International School is committed to making a positive impact on our world by promoting social responsibility. We pride ourselves on advancing teaching and learning that focuses on creating a shared commitment to making a better world.

What learning takes place in ESS IB?

The course aims to foster an international perspective, awareness of local and global environmental concerns and an understanding of the scientific methods.
IB Environmental Systems and Society is only offered at Standard level.
It is a transdisciplinary course, and it fulfils the IB DP requirements in Group 3 (Individuals and Societies) and Group 4 (Sciences) so students can pick ESS from either group.

Within the Environmental Systems and Societies course students will study different topics like:
• Foundation of environmental systems and societies
• Ecosystems and ecology
• Biodiversity and conservation
• Water, food production systems and society
• Soil systems and society
• Atmospheric systems and society
• Climate change and energy production
• Human systems and resource use

Practical work

Students are expected to complete 30 hours of practical work.
10 of these hours come from the students Individual Investigation (also known as the Internal Assessment). Students plan a scientific investigation in an area of interest, carry out the fieldwork/experiment and produce a 6 to 12-paged write-up.
The IA mark accounts for 25% of the final grade.
Another 10 of these hours comes from the group 4 project. The remaining 10 hours will be carried out in the lab and investigate fieldwork.

How it prepares students for University?

IB ESS prepares students for Scientific, Law and Managerial based courses at university by developing a broad skill set including the ability to perform research and investigations, participation in philosophical discussions and problem-solving.
It also prepares students for university through the use of independent and flipped style learning, where they will find things out for themselves.
As part of the individual investigation students will also develop their referencing and essay writing skills as well as their practical lab and fieldwork skills.

A word from your teacher

“Dear Students,
Environmental science is a field of study which assumes a primary role in today’s world.
The IB ESS Course at our school will help you learn about the principles related to the study of the physical environment and the solution to environmental problems so prevalent today.

After this course you will know to evaluate the scientific, ethical, and socio-political aspects of a range of pressing environmental issues from an international perspective.

Showing compassion, thoughtfulness and empathy for others should be at the heart of what we do. Being socially responsible by addressing social and environmental issues allows us to leave a lasting mark that we hope will be felt for future generations.
The overall aim is to achieve a positive impact on society for the benefit of all.
Use your senses to feel the environment and to appreciate the majesty of the world!”

Teacher Anca Dalil