Syllabus

ADVANCED PLACEMENT ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Instructor:

  • Dr. Karen Ford                Rm 650               
  • Preferred method of communication: [email protected]
  • Office hours:  Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday 8:15-9:00 am.  Other times by appointment.
  • All homework and many classwork assignments will be posted on my Edmodo site.

 Required materials:

  • Textbook:  Environment, The Science Behind The Stories, by Jay Withgott and Scott Brennan, AP Edition, 4th Edition, 2011, Pearson Education, Inc.
  • 1-2 inch 3-ring binder for notes, classwork, and  homework
  • 1 composition book for bell work.
  • Lined paper, graph paper,  writing utensils, calculator
  • Insect repellant, sunscreen, and old shoes as needed on days we work outside.

Course Description: (taken from the College Board’s APES website)

The AP Environmental Science course is designed to be the equivalent of a one-semester, introductory college course in environmental science.  The course goal is to provide students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and human-made, to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving and/or preventing them.

Environmental science is interdisciplinary; it embraces a wide variety of topics from different areas of study. Yet there are several major unifying constructs, or themes, that cut across the many topics included in the study of environmental science. The following themes provide a foundation for the structure of the AP Environmental Science course.

  1. Science is a process.
  2. Energy conversions underlie all ecological processes.
  3. The Earth itself is one interconnected system.
  4. Humans alter natural systems.
  5. Environmental problems have a cultural and social context.
  6. Human survival depends on developing practices that will achieve sustainable systems.

Topic Outline:(also taken from the College Board’s APES Website.)  Topics will not necessarily be covered in this order, but the percentages reflect the weighting of topics on the APES exam.

  • Earth Systems and Resources (10-15%)
  • The Living World (10-15%)
  • Population (10-15%)
  • Land and Water Use (10-15%)
  • EnergyResources and Consumption (10-15%)
  • Pollution (25-30%)
  • Global Change (10-15%)

Classwork:

During class time, students will participate in socratic seminars, small and large group discussions, essay-writing, mathematical analysis of environmental issues, selected videos, case studies, and related reinforcing activities.  

Laboratory work:

An average of one class period per week will be devoted to hands-on laboratory work or field work.  Some laboratory activities will span several days.  Labs encourage you to think critically, observe environmental systems, design and conduct controlled experiments, utilize appropriate techniques and instruments, present data graphically, analyze and interpret data using common statistics, form conclusions, and propose further study.   

At least once a month, usually on a Friday, we will conduct field work at the Nocatee Preserve, located directly behind PVHS.  Students will be expected to wear appropriate clothing and shoes, and apply bug repellent on those days.

Safety is the most important consideration while participating in all lab activities.  All safety rules MUST be followed at all times.  Students need to be on task and working quietly with their group.  Gum chewing, eating, and drinking are not allowed.  

Colleges sometimes require students to present their laboratory materials from AP science courses before granting collect credit for laboratory work, so students should keep all of their lab work in a section of their binder.

Homework 

Homework will include ASSIGNED READING and note-taking in the textbook and watching relevant TED Talks. In addition, typed analysis of a relevant current events will be due bi-weekly.  Some homework assignments will be accessed through the Pearson MasteringEnvironmentalScience website.

Tests:

In-class tests on major topics will include both multiple choice questions and essays.  Tests may be cumulative.   Quizzes will be scheduled as needed to motivate and provide feedback.

Grading:

Semester grades will be calculated with each quarter grade worth 40% and the Semester exam worth 20%. 

Quarter grades will be calculated with Tests, Labs, and Current Event analyses worth 80% of each 9 week grade; other classwork and homework activities will be worth 20%.

There is no magic formula for good grades.  If you read and take notes on the assigned readings, ask questions before school or during class to clarify concepts you’re uncertain about, participate in class activities, complete Current Event and additional homework assignments on time, and review prior to tests,  you’ll likely earn at least a B and possibly an A.