2014-2015 AP Environmental Science Syllabus

AP Environmental Science Syllabus 2014-2015
ACC Credit Available
Course Information:
Department: Science
Course Title: Advanced Placement Environmental Science
Length of Course: Two trimesters
Course Number:
No. of Credits: 1.0/4.0/4.0
Grade Level(s): 11th and 12th
Instructor Information:
Instructor: Rod Shroufe
E-mail: shroufer@nclack.k12.or.us;
Phone: 503-353-5810 ext 38051
ACC Website: http://depts.clackamas.edu/acc/
Course Description:
AP Environmental Science is a two-semester course with alignment to Clackamas Community College ESR-171 and
ESR-172 a college. Students learn the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the
environment, to evaluate the relative risks associated with environmental problems, and to examine alternative
solutions for resolving and/or preventing environmental damage. The curriculum draws upon various scientific
disciplines including:
 Earth Systems and Resources
 Energy Resources and Consumption
 The Living World
 Pollution
 Population Dynamics
 Global Change
 Land and Water Use
In addition the course will provide students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to
understand the interrelationships of the natural world including:
Analyzing and interpreting information and experimental data, including mathematical calculations.
How to identify and analyze environmental problems, to evaluate the ecological and human health risks
associated with these problems, and to critically examine various solutions for resolving or preventing them.
A laboratory and/or field investigation component. A minimum of one class period per week will be spent
engaged in laboratory and/or field work.
The following themes will be introduced and revisited throughout the course as they represent unifying themes in the
study of environmental science:
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 unusable.
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
Course Objectives:
As a result of completing Advanced Placement Environmental Science, students will:
 Introduce the issues basic to the study of environmental science and teach principles of
scientific measurement and graphing.
 Acquaint the student with scientific reasoning, the scientific method, and the nature of
scientific knowledge.
 Discuss the properties of systems.
 Develop an understanding of the fundamental concepts of chemical cycling, of Earth’s
major biogeochemical cycles, and of human impacts on Earth’s major biogeochemical
 Explore the history of human population growth and discuss methods for measuring,
predicting, and controlling it.
 Introduce the characteristics of ecosystems and communities and the types of ecological
interactions that occur in ecosystems and communities.
 Discuss biological production and the movement of energy through ecosystems and
develop an understanding of the laws of thermodynamics and their implications.
 Discuss how agriculture alters natural ecosystems, and explore various methods of food
 Consider the environmental effects of various agricultural methods.
 Develop an understanding of the kinds and major causes of species extinction, consider
reasons for conserving endangered species, and explore the goals and methods of
conserving endangered species.
 Discuss the categories and general effects of pollutants.
 Develop an understanding of the principles of energy and consider ways of making
consumption of energy sustainable.
 Discuss the formation and distribution of fossil fuels and consider the environmental
effects of the recovery and use of fossil fuels.
 Acquaint the student with renewable energy sources and discuss the environmental
costs and benefits of renewable energy sources.
 Develop an understanding of nuclear energy and its health and environmental effects.
 Discuss the environmental effects of water management and explore ways of making
water use sustainable.
 Discuss the categories and general effects of water pollutants, ways to control water
pollution, and goals of wastewater treatment.
 Explore the history of climatic change and the causes and potential effects of and
adjustments to global warming.
 Discuss the sources, general effects, and control of air pollutants
Prerequisites: Courses in Biology, Chemistry, and Earth Science are recommended prerequisites or corequisites.
Student Learning Objectives:
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to
Summarize the issues basic to the study of environmental science.
Utilize the metric system and concepts of accuracy and precision to make
measurements, and graph scientific data.
Describe scientific reasoning and the scientific method, conduct and evaluate a
scientific experiment, and explain the nature of scientific knowledge.
Compare and contrast open and closed systems and positive and negative
feedback, compute system flux and residence time, and apply the general
properties of systems to the Earth.
Describe the components and processes of biogeochemical cycles, diagram
Earth’s major biogeochemical cycles, and describe the effects of human activities
on Earth’s major biogeochemical cycles.
Summarize the history and causes of human population growth, calculate human
population growth rates and doubling times, compare exponential and logistic
growth forms, use population age structure diagrams and the demographic
transition to predict human population growth, and identify methods for
controlling human population growth.
Compare and contrast the characteristics of ecosystems and communities and
describe the processes and ecological interactions that occur in ecosystems and
Use production equations to calculate gross production, net production, and
respiration; describe the laws of thermodynamics; and explain how the laws of
thermodynamics affect the movement of energy through ecosystems.
Contrast natural ecosystems and agroecosystems (agricultural ecosystems) and
evaluate the environmental advantages and disadvantages of the possible
approaches to agriculture.
Describe the environmental effects of mechanized agricultural methods such as
intensive plowing, use of pesticides, and genetically modifying crops, and explain
how alternative agricultural methods such as contour plowing, no-till agriculture,
and integrated pest management can provide environmental benefits.
Compare the causes and rates of background (natural) extinction with those
attributed to humans, identify ways by which people cause extinction, describe
the traits of species likely to become endangered, give reasons for conserving
endangered species, and describe goals and methods of conserving endangered
Explain how to use the principles of island biogeography, the edge effect, and
migration corridors to plan parks and preserves.
Describe the scientific method.
Describe the major categories of pollutants and explain the concept of dose
Explain the laws of thermodynamics, describe forms and units of energy, and
describe methods for making energy consumption and development sustainable.
Explain how fossil fuels form, describe the geographic distribution and availability
of fossil fuels, and describe the environmental effects of the recovery and use of
fossil fuels.
Describe the major renewable energy sources and evaluate their environmental
costs and benefits.
Describe atomic structure, nuclear fission, radiation, and the environmental and
human health effects of radiation, and summarize the factors that influence public
opinion concerning nuclear power.
Describe the environmental effects of groundwater use, wetland loss, and dams;
summarize the values of wetlands for people; and describe methods of making
water use sustainable.
Identify the major categories of water pollutants and their environmental effects,
and explain how water pollution can be controlled and treated.
Explain the causes of major changes in climate that have occurred throughout
the geologic history of Earth, describe methods of evaluating past climate,
explain the greenhouse effect and the anthropogenic processes that contribute to
global warming, summarize the potential environmental and human health affects
of global warming, and describe the kinds of adjustments people can make to
global warming.
Describe the major sources and effects of the human-produced air pollutants,
summarize methods of controlling air pollutants, and explain the purpose of air
quality standards.
Required Text/ Instructional Material: Environment: The Science Behind the Stories, Jay Withgott and
Scott Brennan. Third Edition. Pearson Publishing.
Grading Criteria:
 Grades are based on an accumulation of weighted grades from homework, class activities, labs,
projects, quizzes, and tests. The categories for the weighted grades are as follows:
o Formative 10% of overall grade (Practice work/Homework = 10%, Mini-quizzes = 10%.
On eSIS these grades will be collectively called Formative.
 Summative 90% of overall grade (Labs/Projects/Activities = 30%, Quizzes 20%, Tests 40%). On
eSIS these grades will collectively called Summative
 All graded work will be graded on an A-F grading scale. The point value you see WILL NOT be
representative of your grade but a rather an number required for the metric to run properly.
Class Policies:
 Homework will be given as an opportunity for additional practice for concepts learned in class.
It will be discussed and graded on a completion basis. My expectation for you is to do your best
to try to complete the homework. If you have questions, please come in for help or email—the
sooner the better in most cases. You must do your homework each and every night to
understand course content.
 Late daily homework assignments will receive reduced credit. In order for late homework to be
graded, it must be turned in before the unit test.
 Quizzes will be given with or without notice over homework topics. Mini-quizzes will be
frequent, small, check-in type quizzes that count as 10% of your total grade. Larger quizzes that
will be announced count as 20% of your total grade.
 Exams may represent any current material as well as require and understanding of how it
relates to previous material.
 Extra credit will be not given. Students are encouraged to work hard consistently throughout
the term to ensure the best possible grade. Students should not depend on extra credit projects
being available at the end of the grading period to improve a low grade.
 Lab Make up must be completed within one week of the scheduled lab.
 Absences: All work missed during an excused absence may be made up. The student will have
as many class days as he or she missed to be accountable for work and content
Plagiarism/Cheating will not be tolerated. We will discuss and define these terms in class. The
academic consequence will result in a 0 percent on the assignment regardless of assignment
weight and will have a behavioral consequence as per your student handbook. Additionally,
Clackamas Community College policy is that cheating of any kind will result in a letter grade of F
in the class.
Google Drive will be utilized throughout the year to submit documents in your collections.
“Google was not working Mr. Shroufe” is analogous to the old term “The dog ate my
homework”. Be aware that I can see EVERYTHING you do or not do on any assignment on
Google Drive.
Dual Credit:
Students registered through Clackamas Community College for credit will be eligible for two trimesters
of credit totaling eight college science credit hours in addition to the 1 credit offered of high school AP
science credit.