This course is equivalent to a semester-long college-level course that investigates the natural sciences in an interdisciplinary context. The course follows the instructions set forth in the Course Description for AP Environmental Science (APES). The goal of the APES Course is to provide students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationship of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and man-made, to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems and to examine alternative solutions for resolving and/or preventing them. The class includes laboratory and field modules. Environmental Science is interdisciplinary; the course includes a wide variety of topics from different areas of study. At the college level environmental science is offered in a variety of departments, including geology, biology, environmental studies, environmental science, chemistry and geography. All students must maintain an organized notebook, which consists of laboratory data, safety guidelines, and any work completed inside or outside of the classroom. Independent reading assignments must be completed to complement the laboratory exercises. The reading involves approximately 1 to 2 chapters a week with regular chapter quizzes and unit tests that cover 2 to 3 chapters at a time. Independent and group projects consist of researching various scientific topics, concepts and data. Although each student is encouraged to take the AP Exam, OHS requires each student to also take an assessment for the final exam because the AP results would not be scored and returned in time for the end of the school year. This course attracts a diverse range of students because they are interested in the variety of topics covered in class. Empowering these students with scientific understanding concerning the environment at a college level will allow them to become positive contributors to our society. We are to protect our Earth and our future; we need to equip today’s students to be tomorrow’s environment stewards.
Formative Course Work:
Formative work and effort on assignments are essential for success. Class work, homework, lab questions, and readings are used to reinforce what has been taught in class. Assignments are due at the beginning of class or will be embargoed on their due date if they are electronic in nature. Selected answer keys are available in the room (7:30 am – 4:00pm).
Summative Course Work:
Students will demonstrate their level of understanding of the material through a combination of process inquiry activities, long-term projects and unit exams. Some class time will be provided to complete this work, but students must also be prepared to complete portions outside of class time. The scores earned on these assessments will contribute to the final course grade. Assignments are due at the beginning of class on their due date. Assignments that are submitted after the due date will be accepted and scored, however, the recorded will be the minimum score for that grade range. For example, if late work earned a B+, it will be marked as a B-.
Minimal Proficiency of Unit Exams:
Unit exams are not designed to solely measure a student’s ability to restate facts, but rather are designed for students to consider connections among concepts and engage in problem solving. Students who score below 60% on any exam will have to go through the reassessment procedure listed below. Each exam has one retake opportunity.
Students who fail to demonstrate minimal proficiency on their first attempt (or any student who wishes to attempt to raise their score) will follow the reassessment procedure outlined in class.
For students who completed the formative (daily) work on time (provided that a good faith effort was evident on those items), the most recent exam score will be the score recorded: a higher score on the reassessment will result in the higher score being recorded; a lower score on the reassessment will result in the lower score being recorded.
For students who did not complete all formative (daily) work on time, had missing formative work, or did not complete using good faith effort, the maximum score that can be earned on the retake is 75%.
Minimal Proficiency of Summative Projects and Inquiry Activities:
Due to the nature of projects and inquiry work, students will NOT be allowed to retake these assessments.
Final Grade Calculation
Behavioral Expectations & Attendance:
The format of this course requires that all students are engaged and focused in class. This means that all students are in attendance, are prompt, and participate in the daily learning environment, including their role as presenters and collaborators. Such participation allows me to check often for individual understanding of concepts.
Classroom discourse allows the class to negotiate the meaning of science concepts and to understand the concepts being learned. Everyone is learning from everyone else. My role as teacher is to facilitate and steer discussions in such a way that students can make valid judgments of the science concepts we study and to bring closure to discussions as needed.
District policy dictates that we will be assessing students' learning skills in the following areas:
- timely and consistent homework completion,
- cooperation with students and staff, and
- active engagement in classroom learning.
Learning skills grades and Responsibility Pass ratings will be based on these areas as dictated by district and school policy.