AP Environmental Science Syllabus

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AP Environmental Science
Syllabus 3
Overview of AP Environmental
Science
Class Profile
Section size has ranged from 6 to 13 students. The course meets for the
entire academic year, six periods per week--four single-class periods       C11--Evidence of
                                                                            Curricular Requirement: The
and one double lab. Each single class period is 44 minutes and the          course includes a laboratory
double lab period is 92 minutes (2 x 44 minutes plus the normal passing     and/or field investigation
                                                                            component. A minimum of
time of four minutes between classes, because the students are in the       one class period or its
same room for the two periods) for a total of 268 minutes per week. [C11]   equivalent per week is spent
                                                                            engaged in laboratory
                                                                            and/or field work.

Course Prerequisites
Earth science is offered in the intermediate school, and all of our high
school freshmen take a physical science course. The prerequisites for AP
Environmental Science include biology (as a sophomore) and chemistry
or physics concurrently.


Course Overview
The course adheres to the objectives set forth in the Course Description
for AP Environmental Science, which says it 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 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."

All students who are enrolled in AP Environmental Science are required
to complete the summer reading assignment and take the summer
reading quiz. They must maintain an organized laboratory data notebook,
conduct laboratory work according to safety rules, and submit required
formal laboratory reports as assigned. They are expected to complete the
assigned readings (approximately a chapter a week plus supplemental
readings and case studies) with periodic chapter quizzes and major tests
covering two to three chapters. Each quarter there is a group project or


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presentation. There is a required midterm exam and an "alternate
assessment presentation" as a final exam in June, since each student is
required to take the AP Exam.

By the very nature of the topics and their relevance to current events, this
course appeals to a wide diversity of students who have interests in the
environment and nature, science, engineering, social sciences, law,
economics, computers, literature, and drama. This diversity lends itself to
lively discussions and interesting presentations of scientific topics,
concepts, and data. The implication of empowering a diversity of
students with scientific knowledge about the environment at the college
level is an exciting prospect and provides hope for a sustainable future.


Text
Miller, G. Tyler. Living in the Environment: Principles, Connections, and
   Solutions. 12th ed. Pacific Grove, Calif.: Brooks/Cole, 2002.


Laboratory Manual
Enger, Eldon, and Bradley F. Smith. Field and Laboratory Activities. 6th
   ed. Dubuque, Iowa: William C. Brown, 1997. Accompanies the
   textbook Environmental Science: A Study of Interrelationships by
   Eldon Enger and Bradley F. Smith.


Course Planner
Not all of the weeks represented in this course planner are full weeks due
to school holidays and weather-related closings.

Weeks 1-3                                                          C8--Evidence of Curricular
                                                                   Requirement: The course provides
      Summer Reading Quiz                                         students with the scientific principles,
      Definition of Environmental Science                         concepts, and methodologies required to
                                                                   understand the interrelationships of the
      Scientific Method and Critical Thinking [C8]                natural world. The curriculum draws
      Experimental Design and Analysis (chi-square test           upon various scientific disciplines.

       and p-values) [C9]
      Introduction to Environmental Issues                        C9--Evidence of Curricular
                                                                   Requirement: The course includes
      Causes and Sustainability, and Environmental History        methods for analyzing and interpreting
      Chapters 13 (to page 53)                                   information and experimental data,
                                                                   including mathematical calculations.


Weeks 47
      Review of Basic Chemistry [C8]
      Matter and Energy Relationships (Laws of
       Thermodynamics) [C8]
      Ecosystems: Energy Flow and Matter Cycles
      Evolution and Diversity (Shannon-Weiner Index) [C9]


                                     2
                                                                           C1--Evidence of
      Biogeography: Climate and Biomes [C1]                               Curricular Requirement:
      Chapter 3 (from page 53) to Chapter 6                               Earth Systems and
                                                                           Resources


Weeks 8  9                                                                C2--Evidence of
                                                                           Curricular Requirement:
      Aquatic and Community Ecology                                       The Living World
      Species Interactions [C2]
      Succession and Sustainability [C2]                                  C4--Evidence of
      Wetlands [C4]                                                       Curricular Requirement:
                                                                           Land and Water Use
      Chapters 78 and Chapter 24 (pages 650652)
                                                                           C10--Evidence of
During the week around Election Day, Chapter 27, "Politics,                Curricular Requirement:
                                                                           The course teaches
Environment, and Sustainability," is assigned as an independent study      students how to identify
project, which includes multiple-choice questions from the test bank and   and analyze environmental
                                                                           problems, to evaluate the
a short report on one environmental law. (Each student reports on a        ecological and human
different law using Internet resources; a summary of major environmental   health risks associated
                                                                           with these problems, and
legislation is provided after the reports are collected so students may    to critically examine
review them throughout the year.) [C10]                                    various solutions for
                                                                           resolving or preventing
                                                                           them.

Weeks 1011
      Population Dynamics                                                 C3--Evidence of
      Carrying Capacity [C3]                                              Curricular Requirement:
                                                                           Population
      Conservation Biology
      Chapter 9

Weeks 1213
      Geology                                                             C1--Evidence of
                                                                           Curricular Requirement:
      Plate Tectonics                                                     Earth Systems and
      Earthquakes and Volcanoes                                           Resources
      Rock Cycle [C1]
      Soil: Formation, Characteristics and Properties
                                                                           C4--Evidence of
      Organisms, Erosion, Degradation, and Conservation [C4]              Curricular Requirement:
      Chapter 10                                                          Land and Water Use



Weeks 1415
      Human Population: Growth, Demography (Survivor-                     C3--Evidence of
       Ship Curves and Age Structure Diagrams), Carrying Capacity [C3]     Curricular Requirement:
                                                                           Population
      Sustainable Cities: Urban Land Use and Management,
       Zoning and City Planning
      Urban Problems
      Chapters 11 and 25




                                   3
Weeks 1617
     World Food Resources: Crops, Meat and Fish    [C1]
     Chapter 12 and Chapter 24 (pages 647649)
                                                                      C1--Evidence of
                                                                      Curricular Requirement:
Weeks 1820                                                           Earth Systems and
                                                                      Resources
     Water Resources
     Surface Water and Groundwater [C1]
     Water Pollution                                                 C4--Evidence of
                                                                      Curricular Requirement:
     Water and Wastewater Treatment                                  Land and Water Use
     Water Quality and Drinking Water Standards
     Clean Water Act     [C4] & [C6]
     Chapters 13 and 19
                                                                       C6--Evidence of
                                                                       Curricular Requirement:
Week 21                                                                Pollution

Midterm Exams
                                                                       C1--Evidence of
                                                                       Curricular Requirement:
Weeks 2223                                                            Earth Systems and
                                                                       Resources
     Nonrenewable Mineral and Energy Resources        [C1]
     Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy [C5]
                                                                       C5--Evidence of
     Chapters 1415                                                   Curricular Requirement:
                                                                       Energy Resources and
                                                                       Consumption
Weeks 2425
     Hazards, Risk and Risk Assessment
     Toxicology [C6]
     Human Health
                                                                       C6--Evidence of
     Chapter 16                                                       Curricular Requirement:
                                                                       Pollution

Weeks 2628
     Air and Air Pollution
     Air Quality Standards
     Clean Air Act [C6]
     Greenhouse Effect
     Climate Change and Implications                                  C7--Evidence of
                                                                       Curricular Requirement:
     Ozone Depletion [C7]                                             Global Change
     Chapters 1718
                                                                       C10--Evidence of
                                                                       Curricular Requirement:
Week 29                                                                The course teaches
                                                                       students how to identify
     Pesticides and Pest Control                                      and analyze environmental
     Effects on Air and Water Quality and Human Health       [C10]    problems, to evaluate the
                                                                       ecological and human
     Pesticide Regulations                                            health risks associated
     Alternatives and Integrated Pest Management                      with these problems, and
                                                                       to critically examine
     Chapter 20                                                       various solutions for
                                                                       resolving or preventing
                                                                       them.


                                 4
Weeks 3031
      Solid and Hazardous Wastes                                           C10--Evidence of
      Chapter 21                                                           Curricular Requirement:
                                                                            The course teaches
                                                                            students how to identify
                                                                            and analyze environmental
During the week around April 15 (Income Taxes!), Chapter 26,                problems, to evaluate the
"Economics, Environment and Sustainability," is assigned as an              ecological and human
                                                                            health risks associated
independent study project, which includes multiple-choice questions         with these problems, and
from the AP test bank and an AP essay question. Occasionally, this          to critically examine
                                                                            various solutions for
assignment corresponds with Spring Break. [C10]                             resolving or preventing
                                                                            them.

Weeks 3233
      Sustaining Wild Species                                              C2--Evidence of
                                                                            Curricular Requirement:
      Biodiversity and Extinction [C2]                                     The Living World
      Wildlife Management [C10]
      Chapter 23Chapter 24 (pages 630646 and 652655)                    C10--Evidence of
                                                                            Curricular Requirement:
                                                                            The course teaches
Weeks 34-35                                                                 students how to identify
                                                                            and analyze environmental
      Environmental Worldviews                                             problems, to evaluate the
                                                                            ecological and human
      Ethics and Sustainability, Review                                    health risks associated
      Chapter 28                                                           with these problems, and
                                                                            to critically examine
                                                                            various solutions for
                                                                            resolving or preventing
Weeks 3639                                                                 them.
      AP Exam
      Ecological Planning Project

Week 40
Final ExamsProject Presentations


Teaching Strategies
Summer Reading Assignment and Quiz
This assignment consists of excerpts from various environmental
readings (e.g., Biodiversity, edited by E. O. Wilson; Betrayal of Science
and Reason: How Anti-Environmental Rhetoric Threatens Our Future, by
Paul R. and Anne H. Ehrlich; and The Global Citizen, by Donella H.
Meadows.


Lecture
Because this course closely parallels a college course, I usually lecture
two times a week. Novice AP Environmental Science teachers often
encounter difficulty developing lectures, and I recommend that they use


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