COURSE SYLLABUS: AP Environmental
Teacher: Mrs. Barbara Cushing
Room #: 100
Voice mail #: 665-3400 ext 100
(Email is checked more
Welcome to AP Environmental Science! I am excited to have all of you in my
class this year.
The prerequisites for AP
Environmental Science include high school biology and chemistry. At least one year of high school
algebra is expected. This is a college-level
course. You will be expected to
take responsibility for your own education.
As stated in the Course Description for AP Environmental
Science, this course is “designed to be the equivalent of a one-semester introductory
college course in environmental science” that includes a laboratory and
field investigation component.
Emphasis is placed on “the scientific principles, concepts, and
methodologies required for understanding 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.”
Botkin/Keller, Environmental Science: Earth as a Living Planet, 6th ed., 2005
Required Class Materials
Notebook & Paper for Handouts and Lecture Notes
One Composition Notebook (NO Spiral Bound or Tear Out notebooks allowed) -- will be used for labs
Utensils - Pens, Pencils
supplies – Colored Pencils, Glue Sticks, 4 x 6 Index Cards, Scotch Tape (will
inform class when these are needed)
This is a very fast-paced course. You
will be expected to do reading and note-taking outside of class in order to be
prepared for each day’s work. In order for you to master the content required
by this course, you must be disciplined and committed to keep up with this fast
Staying current on the reading assignments are an integral part of
preparing for the AP ES exam. Extra reading (journal articles and current
events) as well as projects will be assigned throughout the semester. This is
an essential part of the course, because your textbook is only one of many
resources that we will use.
mentioned, I expect students to keep up with their reading, as reading quizzes
will be given regularly as discussed in class. Students should prepare for
class as instructed, and read additional material on the assigned subjects to
gain further insight and depth of the subject matter. It is imperative that students complete all assignments
thoroughly. All questions are to be answered completely. All written answers
are to be answered using complete sentences. All mathematical calculation
problems are to be solved showing the original question, any formulas used, all
steps in the solution, and the final answer with the correct significant
figures and appropriate units. Any assignment that does not meet these criteria
will receive zero credit. Any assignment that is not easily legible will
receive zero credit. Any assignment that is deemed by the instructor to be cut
and paste beyond reasonable doubt will not be accepted.
this is a college level class, you are given the freedom to organize your notes
in a way that works best for you.
Having said that, you are responsible for keeping a portfolio off ALL of
your work from the class (labs, activities, notes, etc.) so that if a college
asks for proof that it was a lab class, you can provide them with what they
If you have any questions or concerns as to whether or not
AP Environmental Science is the course for you at this time,
do not hesitate to talk to me about finding an alternative course.
Objective of Course
goal of the AP Environmental Science Course is to provide students with the
scientific principles, concepts, & methodologies required to understand the
interrelationships of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental
problems both natural and human-made, solutions for resolving and/ or
mentioned above, this course was designed to be the equivalent of a
one-semester, introductory college course in Environmental Science. Unlike most other college introductory
level science courses, environmental science is offered from a wide variety of
departments, including geology, biology, environmental studies, environmental
science, chemistry and geography.
following themes provide a foundation for the structure of the AP Environmental
Science is a process.
-- Science is a method of learning more about the world.
-- Science constantly changes the way we understand the world.
Energy conversions underlie all ecological processes
-- Energy cannot be created; it must come from somewhere
-- As energy flows through systems, at each step more of it becomes
The Earth itself is one interconnected system.
-- Natural systems change over time and space
-- Biogeochemical systems vary in ability to recover from disturbances.
Humans alter natural systems.
-- Humans have had an impact on the environment for millions of years.
-- Technology and population growth have enabled humans to increase both
the rate and scale of their impact on the environment.
Environmental problems have a cultural and social context.
-- Understanding the role of cultural, social, and economic factors is
vital to the development of solutions.
Human survival depends on developing practices that will achieve
in AP Environmental Science depends on the realization and appreciation of the
course being on a college level. Students should expect to spend a minimum of one hour of study time per
hour of class time. Students should also be prepared to spend considerable time
outside of class for reading assignments and preparation for the AP exam.
Instruction consists mostly
of lectures, discussions, demonstrations, and written assignments—including
research projects, in-class assignments, homework, formal laboratory reports,
current event article analysis and reflective writing. Approximately one period every other
week is devoted to hands-on laboratory experiences or fieldwork. All lab and fieldwork requires a
written analysis. As often as possible,
the course is related to local environmental issues and concerns. Students are asked to critically
examine various solutions for resolving or preventing local environmental
Laboratory and Field Investigations
Students must be prepared to
work outdoors for many of the labs.
and field investigations are designed to complement the lecture portion of the
course by providing opportunities to learn about the environment through
firsthand observations, to test concepts and principles which have been
introduced in class, to explore specific issues and problems in greater depth,
and to gain an awareness of the importance of confounding variables which exist
in the real world. Investigations will be diverse and will include indoor
laboratory activities, outdoor activities, as well as field experience outside
the confines of the campus. The labs are designed to invite students to think
critically, to observe environmental systems, to develop and conduct well
designed experiments, to utilize appropriate techniques and instrumentation, to
analyze and interpret data, to present data orally and in the form of
statistical and graphical presentations, to apply concepts to the solution of
environmental problems, to form conclusions and to propose further study. There will be a Saturday lab commitment about every 4 - 6 weeks.
Some examples of lab and
fieldwork topics include ecosystem dynamics, population studies, energy
consumption, air and water quality, land use planning, solid waste management,
and the greenhouse effect. The
purpose of all lab activities is to 1) think critically about
environmental systems, 2) develop and conduct well-designed experiments, 3)
utilize appropriate techniques and equipment, 4) analyze and interpret data
including statistical and graphical presentations, 5) apply concepts to the
solution of environmental problems, 6) form conclusions and evaluate their quality
and validity, 7) propose further questions for study, and 8) communicate
accurately about observations and conclusions. Students will maintain a
separate laboratory notebook.
Students are given an
examination at the conclusion of each unit. No notes or resources may be used on these exams. Exams may consist of multiple-choice
questions similar to AP exam questions and a free response essay question. Answers must be detailed and
explanatory in nature.
Students will be expected to
keep a detailed lab notebook of their experiments and hands-on activities. No spiral notebooks are permitted.
These notebooks will be graded after completion of each lab and returned to the
student. Exams, projects, lab notebooks, problem sets, journal analysis and
responses, current events, reading quizzes, and writing assignments both in
class and for homework are included in their final grade. Calculators are not
allowed on exams or quizzes, as calculators are not allowed on the AP
(at beginning of class)
/Projects/Daily & Homework Assignments
Below 65 F
Plagiarism and cheating are serious matters.
Plagiarism means copying someone else’s words, ideas, or information and
presenting it as your own work. This includes copying and printing information
from the internet and representing it as your own work. We will discuss how to
properly put other’s work in your own words and give them credit when you do
research in the library or online.
Copying or using another student’s work is also considered cheating.
School policy will be applied in cases of plagiarism and cheating.
Assignments are expected to be on
time. Late work will not
be accepted. Work is late if it is
not turned in at the beginning of
assignments receive a zero. For larger projects, 10% of the grade will be
deducted for each day the project or paper is late. When the grade reaches 50%,
the assignment will no longer be accepted.
The exception to this rule is the science fair project. This project has a
definitive due date, as NO projects
will be accepted after the due date. As the science fair project is a major
component of all students’ grades, students must ensure that the project is
turned in on or before the assigned due date.
Students with excused absences have one day
for each day missed to complete assignments. Labs, tests, and other activities
should be made up during the next scheduled tutoring time following the
Up Work When Absent: ** teacher reserves the right to amend the activities and timelines as
best suits the needs of the students
students must miss class, they are responsible for making up any missed
assignments. It is the students’ responsibility to find out what assignments
they missed by talking to a classmate or checking the classroom planner.
Students are also responsible for borrowing any missed class notes from a
classmate and copying them into their notebooks. If they know they are going to
be absent, it will be in their best interest to ask for the assignments ahead
of time so that they do not fall behind.
the classroom quietly, be in your seat on time, and begin bell work/reading
prepared. (Arrive with paper, pencil, homework, science notebook, etc.)
polite. (Be quiet or use an inside voice during group work. Keep your hands to
yourself. Raise your hand to speak. One person speaks at a time, etc.)
on task and engaged. (Work on the given assignment or participate in the
points and / or removal from activity
consistently requiring some level of correction in spite of interventions (seat
changes, phone calls home, etc.) will be given a referral to the principal.
All students will participate in the science
fair and will design and conduct an independent experiment/investigation for
this project. This is an in-depth, independent project that will be presented
in steps. It will be introduced in August, and will be worked on throughout the
first semester and into the second. The project will be a major
component of each student’s grade.
Please note that this syllabus is subject to
change. Because the school’s primary goal is to maximize
student achievement, material may be added, deleted, and/or substituted at the
teacher's discretion based on individual needs, levels, and learning styles of
each class. Creative projects, written assignments, & supplemental material
may also be included throughout the year as opportunities arise.
Finally let me say, I expect you to be successful in my class. I
have very high expectations for my students both behaviorally and academically
and I’m very confident that you will meet or exceed those expectations.