AP Environmental Science

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APES Manual 2013

Point Distribution

2 per day Reading responses Daily
8 per assignment Classwork 1 – 2 per week
20 per assignment Notes Weekly, on Mondays
4 per entry, 2 per comment Blog entries Weekly, on Tuesdays
8 per assignment Internet review Every two weeks, on Fridays
25 per assignment Question sets Every two weeks, on Fridays
30 per debate Debates Once per marking period
40 per presentation Presentations Once per marking period
100 per quiz Quizzes Five per year

1st Semester Midterm

This will be aligned with the school testing schedule. The midterm will be project-based on a random topic given when you walk in the room. Topics will be announced the day before.

2nd Semester Final

Half of this grade comes from taking the AP test. The other half will be a performanced-based examination depending on the projects that we are working on.


Students will keep an online journal in the form of a “blog”. They will write weekly about different subjects each quarter. Blogs will be due by Sunday at 6pm. Students are required to make 2 comments on other blogs, which are due by Sunday at midnight. Late blogs or comments will not be graded. Blogs and comments cannot be made any earlier than one week. For students with internet access problems, it is suggested that blogs be completed before leaving school for the weekend; old blog entries can be commented on in case no other students have written that week. The topics for the year are:


Unit Blog Topic
Ecosystems & Population Sustainability & Education

What is sustainability in your own life? Are you sustainable in the way that you live? What do you notice about your home and other people around you? Now that you are becoming a more educated environmental citizen, how can you educate the people around you? What lessons do you think are the most important for people to know? Does your family need to be educated on environmental issues? Who else in your community helps educate?

Water & Natural Resources Water Watchers & Food

Observe water uses of family, friends, and neighbors. Record observations of all the water uses and how long your family, friends, or neighbors used the water. For example, if your neighbor is watering a lawn, record who used the water, how the water is used, and for how long. Other actions to observe include a family member using the washing machine or brushing his or her teeth. Are you dumping or throwing anything away that could potentially pollute our water? If you are, what safer disposal methods could you use? What water conservation tips can be used at school? What is the connection between what you eat and the environment? What have you learned about what you eat? Have your eating habits changed? Do you want your eating habits to change? What happens to people when eating habits change? What is the impact of your diet?

Pollution Solid Waste

We all produce solid waste; what do you produce? How much of it do you make? Is there any way to cut down the amount of solid waste? What about the solid waste that others make? What are our disposal methods? Are they adequate?

Economics & Government Money

Money influences how well you take care of the environment. Do you make decisions to do more environmental things when you spend more money? What is the relationship between money and environmental health? Are richer places more environmentally friendly? What do you spend money on and how does this reflect “voting with your wallet”?

Energy Energy Usage

How do you use energy? How much of it do you use? In what forms? What ways can you use less of it, or use a cleaner version? What habits do you have that tend to use energy needlessly?

AP Test Review Students’ choice!

Student Presentations

Students will be in different groups for each presentation. There will be one 5- to 10-minute presentation required for each marking period.


Videos will be watched in 15 – 20 minute segments with guidance and feedback. Different videos will be shown for each unit. Some videos contain strong language, but all videos are selected due to their relevance to what we are talking about in class.


Students will be assigned almost daily readings. In order to structure these readings, various comprehension tools (i.e., comprehension codes) and graphical organizers (i.e., concept maps) will be assigned early on in the year. Note-taking on readings will be randomly checked (about 2 – 3 times per week).

Reading Responses

Reading responses will be required for each reading given – they will take the form of a quick 5-minute question in class based on notes that students take from the readings. Only student notes are allowed for this bellwork!

Field Trips

All field trips will have a lab component with quantitative and/or qualitative data. Field trips will be taken to at least four of the following: a water treatment plant, a cemetery, a coal power plant, the football field, a farm and a recycling plant.


There will be six debates, following a structured format. The topics: Alternative energies, causes of climate change, the Raker Debate, Quandary in Ponder, Environmental Law and the Tragedy of the Commons.

Guest Speakers

There may be guest speakers over the course of the year. These guest speakers may require students to be present after the school day is over. Attendance will be mandatory.

Internet Research

Students will be required (as a homework assignment) to do research on the internet about a specific topic and bring the research into class. These research projects will be due every unit and should be between 200 and 300 words.

Lab Reports

The following is the format expected for all of your lab reports, with points in parentheses. Lab reports will be due exactly one week from when the lab is completed.

Title (1)

Purpose (2): Why are you doing this lab?

Background (3): Use the introduction given to you in the lab to get you started, in your own words.  Pretend that you’re writing to your 7th-grade cousin who knows nothing about this lab.

Hypothesis (2): Explain the relationship between the dependent and independent variable(s) as a null hypothesis.

Materials (2): List everything that you use in the lab.

Methods (3): List all of the procedures that you are following in the lab, in order. It should be written so that someone else (your 7th-grade cousin, for example), can follow the procedures as you performed them.

Data (3): There are many ways to represent data. Use tables, charts and graphs where appropriate;you will receive more information on this step from your instructor. Record all quantitative data with units; describe all qualitative data as completely as possible. Record data no matter whether you think it is “good” or “bad” data – just like horses, data is data.

Analysis & Error Discussion (4): The lab itself includes questions which guide your analysis. Your objective in the analysis section is to explain what the data means to your 7th-grade cousin. Explain why you didn’t get results as you might have expected, and where those errors came from. How could you improve your experimental methods? Be very careful with your calculations and double-check your work. You should be spending most of your time on this section of your lab report!

Conclusion (3): Look at your hypothesis. What do you now know about your hypothesis?

Further Questions (2): Taking into account your conclusion and the purpose of the lab, what are at least three more questions that you think should be answered about this topic, and can be answered by experimentation?

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