AP Environmental Science - Greater Atlanta Christian Schools

AP Environmental Science
Course Overview
AP Environmental Science is intended to be equivalent to an introductory
Environmental Science course offered at the University level. The course will
follow the guidelines set forth by the College Board.
The goal of the AP Environmental Science course is to provide students
with 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.
Environmental science is interdisciplinary; it embraces a wide variety of
topics from different areas of study. Yet there are several major unifying
constructs, or themes, that cut across the many topics included in the study
of environmental science. The following themes provide a foundation for the
structure of the AP Environmental Science course.
1. Science is a process.
Science is a method of learning more about the world.
Science constantly changes the way we understand the world.
2. 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
3. The Earth itself is one interconnected system.
Natural systems change over time and space.
Biogeochemical systems vary in ability to recover from disturbances.
4. 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 environment.
5. Environmental problems have a cultural and social context.
Understanding the role of cultural, social and economic factors is vital
to the development of solutions.
6. Human survival depends on developing practices that will achieve
sustainable systems.
The amount of emphasis devoted to each topic will follow the
College Board outline. The AP Exam in the Spring will reflect these
Interdependence of Earth's Systems: Fundamental Principles and
Concepts (25%)
The Flow of Energy
The Cycling of Matter
The Solid Earth
The Atmosphere
The Biosphere
Human Population Dynamics (10%)
Renewable and Nonrenewable Resources: Distribution, Ownership,
Use, Degradation (15%)
Water: Fresh: agricultural, industrial, domestic
Oceans: fisheries, industrial
Natural areas
Genetic diversity
Food and other agricultural products
Conventional sources
Alternative sources
Residential and commercial
Agricultural and forestry
Recreational and wilderness
Environmental Quality (20-25%)
Global Changes and Their Consequences (15-20%)
Environment and Society: Trade-Offs and Decision Making (10%)
Tentative Schedule
Chapter 1- Environmental Problems [4 days]
Chapter 2- Environmental History [2 days]
Chapter 3- Science , Systems, Matter and Energy [7 days]
Chapter 4- Ecosystems [19 days]
Chapter 6- Climate and Terrestrial Diversity [6 days]
Chapter 7- Aquatic Diversity [4 days]
Chapter 8- Biological Community [6 days]
Chapter 9- Population Ecology[12 days]
Chapter 10- Human Populations [8 days]
Chapter 11, 12, 13- Sustaining Biodiversity [8 days]
Thanksgiving break
Chapter 14- Food and Soil Resources [8 days]
Chapter 15- Water Resources [5 days]
Chapter 16- Geology and Nonrenewable Resourses [3 days]
Finals and Christmas Break
Chapter 17- Nonrenewable Energy Resources [5 days]
Chapter 18- Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy [10 days]
Chapter 19- Toxicology and Human Health [5 days]
Chapter 20- Air Pollution [4 days]
Chapter 21- Climate Change/Ozone Loss [7 days]
Winter Break
Chapter 22- Water Pollution [7 days]
Chapter 23- Pest Management [6 days]
Chapter 24- Solid and Hazardous Waste [6 days]
Chapter 25- Sustainable Cities [11 days]
Chapter 26- Economics and the Environment [7 days]
Chapter 27- Politics and the Environment [5 days]
Chapter 28- Worldviews [5 days]
Chapter 5- Evolution and Biodiversity [5 days]
Review for Finals
The AP Exam
The AP Environmental Science exam will take place in early May. The cost is
$82.00 and all students are required to take the exam. The three-hour exam
includes a 90-minute multiple-choice section and a 90-minute free-response
section. You will not be able to use a calculator during the AP Environmental
Science Exam. There are 100 questions in the multiple-choice section and usually
four free response questions. The multiple-choice questions will test your ability
to answer thought-provoking problems based on fundamental ideas from
environmental science, and your recall of basic facts and major concepts. The
free-response questions emphasize the application of principles in far greater
depth than the multiple-choice questions. The section includes one data-set
question, one document-based question, and two synthesis and evaluation
questions. The multiple-choice section constitutes 60 percent of the grade and the freeresponse section makes up the remaining 40 percent.
The labs are designed to complement the classroom experiences.
The laboratory and field investigation component of the AP Environmental
Science course should challenge every student's ability to:
-Critically observe environmental systems
-Develop and conduct well-designed experiments
-Utilize appropriate techniques and instrumentation
-Analyze and interpret data, including appropriate statistical and graphical
-Think analytically and apply concepts to the solution of environmental
-Make conclusions and evaluate their quality and validity
Communicate accurately and meaningfully about observations and conclusions
An important component of the lab experiences will be field trip visits to a land
fill and recycling center, waste water treatment plant, drinking water treatment
plant, and if possible a hydroelectric and coal powered electric generation
For a few labs, safety glasses like the one sold at the GAC store will be required.
The GAC science lab policy prescribes a penalty of 20% deduction in the grade
earned for that lab for students who neglect to bring their safety glasses for labs
the teacher designated as requiring safety glasses.
Living In The Environment by Tyler Miller Jr. 14th edition, 2005
Items needed for class:
A three ring binder for notes, handouts, and to store graded homework.
A writing instrument and paper for notes every day.
Safety glasses for some labs.
An eye for the wonders of God’s intricate creation and a growing
appreciation of God our Creator!
Rules for class behavior:
Courtesy is the basic guideline for behavior in Mr. Harsh’s
1. The student and parent are expected to read, understand and comply with the
guidelines that have been established in the 2005 - 2006 Parent-Student
2. It is also expected that the student follow the following general guidelines:
* Be attentive, respectful, and cooperative with the instructor and peer
students. This includes no sleeping, interruptions, or disruptions
* Class participation is expected.
* Consequences for minor offenses will increase in discomfort as bad
behavior is repeated. The goal of any punishment will be to convince the
offending student to improve their behavior. Consequences for major offense
will reflect the level of the offense. Parents will always be contacted when the
teacher believes he needs their help with further reinforcement in their home.
3. Tardiness - Everyone is expected to be in class when the bell rings. Those that
are late need to have an excused note from another teacher.
Tardies to Class (per semester – Unexcused)
1st tardy = noted
2nd tardy = warning
3rd tardy = call to parent
4th tardy = 1 unexcused class absence resulting in loss of exemption and 40
minute detention
5th tardy = Administration Detention
6th offense – 2 Administrative Detentions
7th offense – Saturday School
8th offense and all others – Suspension
*Any tardy more than 10 minutes is considered AWOL and is
automatically referred to administration
Special Guidelines
a. No food / drink allowed. Water in a bottle is allowed.
b. No one is allowed in my grade book, in my desks, or unauthorized use of my
c. If you have cell phones, turn them off and keep them out of sight. If I hear or
see them during class, they will be taken up!!
d. No electronic games or music equipment. If I hear or see them during class,
they will be taken up!!
e. Lab work area must be cleaned up when you are finished with your lab work.
f. Students must wear safety glasses for certain labs. Mr. Harsh will inform his
students when they must bring their safety glasses. A penalty of 20% will be
deducted from the lab grade if the student neglects to have their safety glasses
with them.
5. Hall passes:
a. Hall passes are at my discretion
b. Please do not interrupt a lecture or class discussion for a hall pass.
6. Dismissal from class
Do not dismiss yourself from class until I have dismissed you. Lining up at the
door before the bell rings is not permitted.
7. Honor Code:
GACS has adopted the following statement for the honor code:
"In order to maintain honor in our relationships, we all agree to do
what is RIGHT, to speak the TRUTH, and to strive for INTEGRITY in all that I
do. Therefore, I will not be involved in LYING, CHEATING, or STEALING. If
we do vary from this path of honor, we will accept the correction from others
and the established consequences of this school. HONOR is a goal that we seek
to attain."
**The consequences that are chosen if the honor code is broken are stated
on page 8 of the handbook.
* 20% of the semester grades will come from the final exams.
The final exam is an integral part of this course and no student will exempt the
final exam either semester.
* The remaining 80% will be determined from the following:
* Tests and quizzes = 60% -70%
* Lab work [including practical exams for most labs] = 10% - 15%
* Homework = 15% - 20%
** Extra credit: You can bring in certain live or dead organisms that Mr. Harsh
specifies. Oral reports may be presented on topics of special interest to the
students [with Mr. Harsh’s prior permission].
Christian Perspective
In AP Environmental Science, we strive to help our students discover, on a daily
basis, the evidences of a creator based on the ecological complexities and
intricacies of how organisms interact with each other and with their physical and
chemical environment.
Key scripture provides a foundation for our approach to teaching biology.
Romans 1:20 and Psalms 19:1-3 are powerful examples of scripture showing how
Nature reveals a God of might, intelligence, and intricate detail; a God of order
and beauty; a God who controls powerful forces.
Romans 1:20
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power
and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has
been made, so that men are without excuse.”
Psalm 19: 1—3
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
Paraphrased by Bob Harsh
The magnificent intricate structure of my body declares the glory of God;
the precision of the ways my body functions proclaims the work of his hands. Day
after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no
speech or language where their voice is not heard.
In addition to this syllabus, I understand that I will be held to the
policies listed in both the general and senior high sections of the
GAC Parent Student Handbook. More so, I commit to abiding by
both the written expectations and the “spirit of the law” outlined in
the handbook. In all that I do I will seek to do what is right, to
speak the truth, and strive for integrity.
I, ________________________________________, have read Mr. Bob
Harsh’s syllabus and the general and senior high sections of the GAC
Parent Student Handbook and agree to follow the guidelines for
behavior Mr. Harsh has outlined for his class and GACS has outlined
in their Parent Student Handbook. I understand that violation of
these guidelines may result in consequences that are meant to give
me incentive to comply with proper behavior.
Student’s signature
I, ______________________________________, as a parent have read
Mr. Bob Harsh’s syllabus and understood Mr. Harsh’s guidelines and
will offer Mr. Harsh my support as he teaches my child this year. I
have also read the general and senior high sections of the GAC
Parent Student Handbook and agree to follow GACS’s
guidelines for behavior.
Parent/Guardian signature