APES - Syllabus

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					Teacher:       Mr. Christopher Walstead                   Phone:                  (770) 578-3266
Subject:       AP Environmental Science                   Email:        
Room:          Class – 414; My room - 527                 Planning Hour:          3rd Period
                                                          Time/Profile:           1 semester: 90 minute block
Course Description:
AP Environmental Science is designed to be the equivalent of a one-semester, introductory college course
in environmental science. The goal of the AP Environmental Science course is to provide students with
the scientific concepts, principles, 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 or
preventing them. To achieve these goals, we will focus on the following: personal experience in
experimental design; understanding the unifying themes that integrate all biological and environmental
science topics; and the application of knowledge and critical thinking to environmental and societal
concerns. Taking the AP Exam is not required but it is encouraged. College credit may be given for exam
scores of three and above. Exactly what scores will be accepted and how much credit will be awarded
depends on the individual college.

Course Prerequisites:                 Biology, Chemistry, Algebra I

Text:                                Environmental Science: Earth as a Living Planet, 6th Edition,
                                      Botkins & Keller
Supplemental Resources:              Assorted texts found in classroom library; peer reviewed science
Websites:                         
Notebook – 3 ring binder, laboratory journal, Graphing Calculator, graph paper, pens, pencils, markers,
colored pencils

Cobb County                                            Approximate Grading Breakdown:
Grading Scale:
90 – 100%    A              Grading Policy: Class grade is found by using the formula: (Total Earned Points
80 - 89%     B              / Total Possible Points) * 100.
75 – 79 %    C                 Tests, Quizzes & Assessments = 50 % of the student’s grade.
70 – 74%     D                 Laboratory Work & Reports = 25% of the student’s grade.
0 – 69 %     F                 Homework & Classwork = 15% of the student’s grade.
                               Projects = 10% of the student’s grade.

         Material in this syllabus is subject to modification by instructor if deemed necessary

Mr. Walstead                                       p. 1 of 6                                          AP Environmental Science
Wheeler High School                                                                                                2010-2011
Laboratory Work:
AP Environmental Science will contain laboratory experiences from lab manuals, data sets, fieldwork and
student-designed experiments. Emphasis is placed on in-depth investigation and experimental design
regarding environmental science concepts. These lab activities emphasize development and testing of
hypotheses; collection, analysis, and presentation of data; and clear discussions of results. Formal reports
are required and must include the previously mentioned elements, as well as proper labeling of tables and
graphs. In many cases, software and Internet simulations will be conducted in support of the lab being
undertaken. With the addition of computers to our labs, we will be using Pasco scientific probes and
software as part of the lab procedure.

    Each lab will require:
     The formation of an hypothesis or hypotheses, based on in-class discussion of the presented
       problem or focus of each experiment
     Design of (an) experiment(s), also based on in-class discussion, to test the hypothesis or
     Collection of data and observations
     Calculations using the collected data
     Conclusions about how well the hypothesis or hypotheses held up based on the experiment
     Class discussion of variance and error analysis
     Written report: formal or informal (in the lab notebook)

    TECHNICAL WRITING REVIEWS: Students will be given technical articles to read. The
    Students will do various writing and reading comprehension activities throughout the year to enhance
    their skills. This will happen about once a week.

    TESTS: All tests are given at the end of each unit. They will be modeled after the AP test (approx
    60% multiple choice, 40% essay)

    PROJECTS: Projects are assigned according to topic, with descriptions and guidelines provided at
    time of assignment. A current events project will be assigned at the beginning of the year and
    presentations will occur throughout the semester (according to a lottery system)

    NOTEBOOKS: Students are required to keep all assignments in their 3-ring binders. This must be
    brought to class every day and kept up to date.

    PARTICIPATION: Participation consists of class participation, daily warm-ups, preparedness for
    class (book, paper, writing utensil, etc.), and notes. Professional behavior is always expected. Each day,
    students will be presented with a question and will be expected to work in small groups to answer that
    question. New topics will be introduced in this manner, but questions will also address topics already
    covered to enhance conceptual understanding. Students will have access to books, the Internet, lab
    equipment, computer simulations, etc. The teacher will act as a facilitator assisting and guiding
    students, at all times encouraging carefully articulated responses based on principles of environmental

Mr. Walstead                                       p. 2 of 6                                          AP Environmental Science
Wheeler High School                                                                                                2010-2011
    DAILY WORK: Daily work is broken into 2 categories, class work and homework. CLASS WORK
    consists of work assigned in class - it may be bookwork, laboratories, research, a worksheet, and/or
    vocabulary. It is due at a specific time during class. HOMEWORK is assigned at the end of each class
    period, and DUE at the beginning of class, PRIOR TO warm-ups, notes, etc. Getting missed work
    due to ANY KIND of absence is the student’s responsibility.

    LATE WORK: Late work is accepted for EXCUSED absences only. Arrangements must be made
    with the instructor for lab time if necessary.

Course Outline:
     Earth Systems & Resources (10-15%)
     The Living World (10-15%)
     Population (10-15%)
     Land & Water Use (10-15%)
     Energy Resources and Consumption (10-15%)
     Pollution (25-30%)
     Global Change (10-15%)
Major Themes:
Concepts and topics are organized into unifying themes that recur through the course. These themes
are applied across the curriculum to provide a unity of concepts. They are:
 Science is a Process.
       o Science is a method of learning more about the world.
       o Science constantly changes the way we understand the world.
 Energy conversions underlie all ecological processes.
       o Energy cannot be created; it must come from somewhere.
       o As energy flows through systems, at each step more of it becomes unusable.
 The Earth itself is one interconnected system.
       o Natural systems change over time and space.
       o Biogeochemical systems vary in ability to recover from disturbances.
 Humans alter natural systems.
       o Humans have had an impact on the environment for millions of years.
       o 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.
       o 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 sustainable systems.
       o A suitable combination of conservation and development is required.
       o Management of common resources is essential.

Course Planner:
Students will be given monthly calendars detailing chapter reading assignments, laboratory assignments, as
well as due dates for all work. This information will also be available on the course website, with available downloads.

Mr. Walstead                                       p. 3 of 6                                          AP Environmental Science
Wheeler High School                                                                                                2010-2011
                              AP Environmental Science Course Planner

       Unit                Topic              Chapters & Description                       Labs & Activities
     Est. time
      Unit 1           Introduction         Chapters 1-3                                A Brief History of the
      1 week                to              The first unit of AP Environmental           Environmentalist
     (SCSh8,          Environmental         Science (APES) acquaints students
                                              with environmental science. It
      SEV2)              Science            introduces the theory, philosophy,          Seed Germination Lab
                                            rhetoric, and terminology that will         Parts of a Good
                                              be used throughout the course.             Experiment
                                                                                        Carrying Capacity Lab
                                                                                        Calculating Population
                                                                                         Doubling Time
                                                                                        The Power of Doubling
       Unit 2         Life on Earth,        Chapters 4-6                                Lily Pond
     1-2 weeks            Part I               The second unit of APES is an            Population Profile – The
      (SEV1,            (Ecology)                 introduction to two of the
                                               fundamental underpinnings of
                                                                                         Power of Pyramids
      SEV2 ,                                    environmental science: basic            Estimating population
       SEV3,                                  ecology and the study of human             sizes activity
      SEV5)                                              populations                    Tectonics Web quest and
                                                                                         Build an Earthquake
                                                                                        Carbon Cycle Game
                                                                                        Predator/Prey Simulation
       Unit 3         Life on Earth,        Chapters 7-10                               Leaf-litter Biodiversity
     1-2 weeks            Part II             This unit completes the study of          Biome research & mini-
      (SEV1,            (Ecology)                      basic ecology.
      SEV2 ,                                                                            Predator/Prey Simulation
      SEV3)                                                                              Lab
                                                                                        Ecological succession hunt
       Unit 4            Food and           Chapters 11-12                              Fertile Minds activity
     1-2 weeks          Agriculture         In this unit, students study the basic      Soil Nutrient lab
                                             nutritional needs of human beings,
                                            what happens when these needs are           Ecological Impacts of Rice
                                             not met, and what is being done in          Farming: Analysis of Rice
                                              an attempt to make certain these           Sample Experiment
                                                needs are met for all people.           Famine Activity
                                               Students also study agriculture,
                                              including the various methods of
                                                                                        "The Worst Mistake In The
                                                growing crops, the history of            History Of The Human
                                                 agriculture, and the “green             Race" article discussion

Mr. Walstead                                       p. 4 of 6                                          AP Environmental Science
Wheeler High School                                                                                                2010-2011
      Unit 5             Land Use           Chapters 13-14, 29                         Tree Mensuration
    1-2 Weeks                                This is a transition from the study       Fisheries and Endangered
     (SEV5)                                 of ideal ecosystems and ecology to
                                             the study of human impact on the
                                                                                        Species activity
                                              environment. Students study the          Designing Sustainable
                                            roles of wildlife management, land          Urban Areas
                                                  use, species protection,
                                             conservation, and preservation in
                                              determining how “natural” the
                                                     Earth will remain.
      Unit 6           Health, Risk         Chapters 15-16                             Toxicology LD-50 Lab
    1-2 Weeks              and               This unit includes the effects that       Natural Disaster pamphlet
                                              environmental hazards have on
     (SEV5)            Toxicology
                                              human health, as well as on the          Risk: perception vs. reality
                                            health of the environment, and an           survey and analysis
                                            examination of the risks we face in
                                                     our environment.
      Unit 7             Energy             Chapters 17-20                             Half-life Lab
    1-2 Weeks         Resources and           Fossil fuel reserves are finite and      Investigation of CO2 from
     (SEV4)            Energy Use           the use of other energy sources will
                                             need to be increased in the future.
                                                                                        the burning of fossil fuels
                                             Students study the advantages and      
                                                disadvantages of alternative
                                             sources of energy that can be used
                                                   in place of fossil fuels.
      Unit 8               Water            Chapters 21-22                             Water quality index
    1-2 Weeks                                 This is perhaps the most relevant        Home water use survey
                                               unit of study for environmental
                                             science students in our area of the       Field trip – Water
                                             world. The world’s best examples           treatment plant
                                              of water development are in our
                                             backyards, and we focus on these
                                            local examples throughout the unit.
      Unit 9          Atmospheric           Chapters 23-26                             EcoBadge
    1-2 Weeks         Dynamics, Air          Following a brief introduction to         Air Pollution Combustion
     (SEV5)             Pollution,          the structure and characteristics of
                         Ozone               Earth’s atmosphere is a survey of         Testing for Tropospheric
                       Depletion &            several air pollution problems.           Ozone Pollution
                         Global             This unit includes the study of some       CO2 audit – Your
                        Warming                  of the most serious global
                                                                                        contribution to Global
                                             environmental problems we face.
                                                                                       Airborne particulate lab
      Unit 10          Soil Minerals        Chapters 27-28                             Cookie Mining
       1Week            & Mining             An introduction to earth science,         Soil composition lab (soil
      (SEV5)                                which includes hands-on activities
                                               designed to introduce rock,
                                                                                        triangle experiment)
                                              mineral, and soil identification

                                    *Please see a description of the standards at:
Mr. Walstead                                       p. 5 of 6                                          AP Environmental Science
Wheeler High School                                                                                                2010-2011
Dear Parent(s) and /or Guardian:

Attached to this letter is the AP Environmental Science syllabus and other
relevant information your child will need to be familiar with white taking the
course in Wheeler High School. This document has already been discussed
with your child, and she/he will be held responsible for meeting the
objectives of this class, and maintaining a disciplined environment in my class.

This is a college-level course and requires lots of extra time, independent reading, and personal
commitment to success. I am asking that you help me remind your child of the need to stay focused
and on task in this class. I cannot accomplish this task without your help. I have an open-door policy,
and I will entertain any constructive suggestions that would help your child succeed in this and other

So feel comfortable to ask questions, seek clarification on assignments, or inform me of any needs that
may hinder or slow down your child’s progress. You may reach me at Wheeler via e-mail-
( or by phone 678-209-7590 (This is my cell phone number. I am
in class and unable to answer from 8:30 am – 12:00 pm & 2:00 pm – 3:30). If you have access to e-
mail, it is my preferred mode of communication.

Thank you so much. I look forward to getting to know your child and being a part of their education.


Christopher Walstead
We will be outdoors often in this class, so please make me aware of any problems your child may
have with going outside (severe allergies, asthma, etc.) so that accommodations can be made.

Please sign below stating that you have read the APES class policies and procedures and have
discussed them with your child.

Parent/ Guardian signature ___________________________________                                Date ______________

Parent email address ________________________________________________________________

Student’s name (print) _________________________________________________________

Mr. Walstead                                       p. 6 of 6                                          AP Environmental Science
Wheeler High School                                                                                                2010-2011