Syllabus

AP Environmental Science A/B Syllabus

Instructor: Mr. Andy Stephens
Phone: 720-561-8729
Class Website: www.stephensteach.com
Credit: 2.0


Course Description

This course holds many exciting adventures in science. During this academic year, you will learn how to apply scientific processes to analyze and solve problems by interpreting scientific data and drawing logical conclusions. The class will be unique in that the concepts learned can be widely applied to real life. Emphasis will be on developing process laboratory skills including data collection & analysis, evaluation of information, and oral & written communication of experimental results. In addition to lab work, we will learn about the following units. Note that units 1-4 will be covered in APES A and units 5-7 will be covered in APES B.
  1. Earth Systems and Resources
  2. The Living World
  3. Population
  4. Land and Water Use
  5. Energy Resources and Consumption
  6. Pollution
  7. Global Change

Prerequisite

Physical Science Lab Skills, Biology A, Biology B, Algebra IA, Algebra IB

Objectives

  1. Understand ecological systems, how humans alter them, the effects of alteration, and solutions for sustainability.
  2. Develop a lifelong love for ecological systems.
  3. Pass the AP Environmental Science Exam.

Materials

  1. Notebook-This is the type of notebook sometimes called a composition book.  It will be your textbook where you write all of your notes, lab report drafts, observations, etc. I often have extras if you have trouble getting a hold of one.
  2. Schoology Login-Schoology is the district's new online learning tool. We will use it to review material, do homework, and prep for the AP exam. The website is schoology.com.
  3. Good Attitude-We will spend many hours together in class and are working together to create the best experience for everyone.      
Expectations
  1. Work hard. Our time is short, we must cover a year's worth of material in two quarters.
  2. Follow New Vista's Core Values.
  3. Cell Phones-Cell phones should remain out of site during class time.  If you take out your cell phone during class without permission it will be confiscated until the end of class.
  4. Music-Music players (mp3, iPod, etc) should remain out of site during class time.  If you take out your music player during class without permission it will be confiscated until the end of class.
  5. Tardy/Absence-Tardiness and absences negatively impact classroom learning, therefore you are expected to be in class on time. For every 5 unexcused absences or 10 tardies in a semester your grade drops one letter. School policy-For every four unexcused periods of absence you receive detention; if this detention is not served you will be penalized with a credit reduction. If you are planning on being absent for a family vacation, college visit, etc, let me know in advance complete your make up work and have fun. YOU are responsible for making up the work you miss during tardies/absences. I will not remind you.
  6. Food-Healthy, environmentally friendly food may be consumed during non-lab activities in the classroom as long as it does not distract from anyone's learning or teaching. This practice encourages you to learn about the environmental impact of your food.  If you are unsure about whether a type of food is healthy or environmentally friendly do some research.

Grading

Category Percent
Tests1 30%
Lab/Fieldwork2 25%
Formative Assessments3 25%
Participation4 10%
Final Project5
10%

1. Tests will serve as practice for the AP Exam. The free response portion of the tests will be self-reviewed or peer reviewed in class. This exercise increases retention of information and confronts misconceptions. Your complete academic honesty is expected. If you fail to meet this expectation you will fail said test.

2. The major assignments in this category are lab reports and field studies.

3. The major assignments in this category are schoology homework assignments, quizzes, and in class assignments. 

4. The major assignment in this category is a participation self evaluation.

5. The only assignment in this category is the final project.

A A- B+ B B- C+* C* C-* IP

93-100% 90-92% 87-89% 83-86% 80-82% 77-79% 73-76% 70-72% <70%
*C's, D's, and IP's are not passing at New Vista

An A means the student has completed proficient work on all course content standards and class requirements, and advanced work on some course content standards and class requirements. You will also automatically receive an A if you earn a 4 or 5 on the AP exam.

A B means that the student has completed proficient work on all course content standards and class requirements. You will also automatically receive a B if you earn a 3 on the AP exam.

A C means that the student has completed proficient work on some, but not all, of the course content standards and class requirements.  For continuing classes a student has demonstrated enough proficiency to continue on to the next level.

A C minus means that the student has completed partially proficient work on the course content standards and class requirements.  For sequential classes a student may not continue on to the next level.

An IP means that the student has demonstrated insufficient progress in course content standards and class requirements.

Updated grades are posted on schoology and then transferred to infinite campus at the end of grading periods.


Textbook
The class textbook is Environment: The Science Behind the Stories, 3rd Ed. The College Board administers all Advanced Placement classes and requires that we provide you with a textbook. The text is geared towards the AP exam and will be a great resource for you. Please use it.

Late Work

Work is accepted on time with no penalty. Work is accepted after the due date, but within the same unit with a 20% penalty. No late work from a particular unit is accepted after the unit test without a 50% penalty.
 
Students who miss school due to excused absences are allotted the number of missed days to make up the assigned work. This does not apply to group projects.

If at the end of the grading period for the course you have earned a grade below a B, you have not met expectations. If there were extenuating circumstances that prevented you from meeting expectations you may write a typed one page request for an extension that outlines why you deserve more time, a list of your missing work, a timeline of when you will turn in each assignment and a signature from a parent/guardian. Such requests will be considered if received by the end of that quarter’s exhibition day.

Academic Honesty

Cheating will earn you a zero on the assignment/test on which you cheated. If you purposefully give away your work to cheaters you will also receive a zero. No make up work will be given. Often times it is more difficult to cheat than to learn. Just learn, it is more fun.

AP Exam

The AP Environmental Science test will be on May 4th! The test includes multiple choice and free response questions. It is graded on a scale of 1-5. If you receive a 3, 4, or 5, you are recommended by the College Board to receive college credit. Credit policy varies by school, but this is a great opportunity to earn one semester's worth of credit without paying to take a class. College and university admissions view AP courses very highly.

I expect everyone in this class to take the APES exam and expect everyone to do well. This entire year will be spent learning and exploring environmental science in a quest to understand and reach sustainability and pass the APES exam.

The three hour AP exam will include 100 multiple choice questions that emphasize fact recall and conceptual understanding. This section will be weighted as 60% of your grade. The exam will also include four free response questions that require in depth answers to broad questions. These essay questions require answers that show skills in analysis, reasoning, and synthesis. Of the four free response questions one will be based on a data set, one will be based on a document, and two will be based on synthesis and evaluation. You will be given equal time for both sections.   

Letter of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are an important component of college admissions and I love writing letters of recommendation for students who excel in my classes. However, these letters do take time and must be revised so that I can make you sound as awesome as you are. Therefore I have developed some guidelines:

  1. Ask me in person.
  2. Give me at least 7 full days of notice before the due date.
  3. Complete a one page resume in which you answer the questions I am asked and include personal highlights you want me to hit upon.
  4. Give me all of the paperwork with self-addressed and stamped envelopes.
  5. Don't ask me if you have proven unworthy in my classes.