APES Saves Universal


Photo by Samantha Buckley.

Josh McDaniel and Sayde Blanchette

In Mrs. O’Hara’s AP Environmental Science class, students take educational trips, participate in review breakout rooms, and do more fun activities, all while learning the interrelationships of the natural world and analyzing environmental problems.  

“I’m always looking for new ways to do things that are more engaging and fun,” Mrs. O’Hara said.

APES students have been studying pollution, and with their unit exam quickly approaching, Mrs. O’Hara sought to make studying more interactive and enjoyable. With the help of librarian Mrs. Powell, they created Universal Park themed breakout rooms in the library for the students to review on April 5 and 6.

The review was Universal Park themed because of the upcoming Universal park in Frisco. The themes included Jurassic Park, Shrek, Barbie land, the Lorax, Curious George, and Minions.

“I gave her the reviews for my unit seven and eight [tests], and Mrs. Powell just decided she was going to do breakout rooms, where you have to get codes at every station to save Universal Park,” Mrs. O’Hara said

To create all of these stations, Mrs. Powell worked very hard to ensure that they were beneficial to both Mrs. O’Hara and the students.

“We wanted to come up with a review game that  had multiple levels of problem-solving and critical thinking and it escalated, and I got carried away,” Mrs. Powell said.  “We started with the review sheet for unit seven and eight.  I [then] asked for the tests, so I could know exactly what she wanted people to know from it,” Mrs. Powell said.

Mrs. Powell’s hard work did not go unnoticed.  

“I’m overwhelmed with how fantastic it is.  I couldn’t even imagine it,” Mrs. O’Hara said.  “It’s just so fun.”

Not only did Mrs. O’Hara enjoy it but the students were also able to find joy in studying through the stations.  

“I think it’s very creative, and I like that it’s interactive,” senior Hailey Gaas said.  “I feel like when I’m more engaged, I learn and pick up things quicker than I would just reading or writing something down.”

Overall, student engagement is something that Mrs. O’Hara strives for.

“[People should] want to take this class because we do a lot of labs, hands-on labs, [and] we take a field trip down to the wetland center,” Mrs. O’Hara said.  

All in all, students that are planning on taking APES next year can look forward to participating in many fun activities as they learn.