Course Information



All students who take AP Environmental Science will have taken Biology and Chemistry as pre-requisite courses. Students are also required to have either completed Physics or be concurrently taking both Physics and AP Environmental Science.

School Issued Text:

Miller, G. Tyler. (2007) Living in the Environment (15th Ed.) Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole ISBN: 9780495015987


Environmental Science is taught as a traditional lab based science course focusing on critical thinking and analyzing data to confront current issues that face our society today. The instruction given is in the form of lectures, discussion groups, videos, demos, and laboratory investigations. Since Environmental Science is profoundly dynamic, students will rely heavily on current event readings, up to date online statistics, and simulation models. At the conclusion of this course students should have a clear understanding of the interdependence of all organisms through investigation and experimentation into environmental principles and concepts. They will be able to identify, analyze, and offer solutions to environmental problems of both natural and anthropogenic origins.

The course is divided into nine major units throughout two 18-week semesters. Students will take a major exam at the conclusion of each unit and a cumulative final exam at the end of the fall and spring semester.


Class exams: (will cover multiple chapters) 50%

Quizzes 10%

Homework / Classwork 5%

Labs 10%

Project/Volunteer 5%

Comprehensive Final Exam 20%

AP Environmental Science Exam –Thursday, May 10th, 2018 at 12:00 pm

Readings: Assigned readings will be in addition to the chapters assigned above, and will be short supplemental readings. Often times I will give you (or will have to read online) a notes packet encompassing other text books or articles used across the country. These readings will primarily serve as examples of current environmental issues and will be the topic of student-led class discussions.

Class Exams and Quizzes: There will be several Unit Exams that cover an array of chapters from the Miller textbook and outside readings or class notes. The summer assignment will count as the first exam of the semester. The other exams will be formatted similar to the AP cumulative exam and will be given on a Tuesday or Thursday with a minimum of 5 exams. All exams will be timed and contain a multiple choice and a free response section. Several study materials will be posted online. Quizzes will be given on a weekly or bi-weekly basis and can be announced or unannounced. Quizzes will cover material from the current topic with a minimum of 5 assessments.

Homework/Classwork: The readings and daily lecture notes would serve as the nightly homework or enrichment. Additional assignments inside and outside of class can be collected for a grade with a minimum of 4 assignments. One day late assignments can receive up to a 75%. No late assignments will be collected past the one day late option.

Labs: Laboratory activities or assignments may be completed as an individual or group. Many times a full lab report will be required. Lab safety is a priority and failure to follow mandatory procedures can result in a failing grade or alternate assignment.

Project/Volunteer: Environmental education contains being a part of the community and creating a link with the world around us. There will be several opportunities for an external to the class environmental education. Each student must complete TWO opportunities or submit to Science Fair and turn in documented sheet. Volunteer or community service will be expected to attend outside of the class time.

Expectations and Policies

· Attendance is your key to success. If you have to be out make sure you have the assignments before you leave and collect any missed class notes.

· All school rules apply: Electronic Devices, Attendance, etc.

· Complete the assigned reading or assignment before each class meeting. Come prepared to participate!

· Makeup exams and quizzes or late assignments will be allowed in the case of documented illness or personal emergency. Other legitimate absences (e.g., athletic meet, college visit) must be arranged at least one week in advance, and assignments must be then turned in early.

· Late homework assignments will earn –25pts for being turned in the next day, no credit will be given for any homework turned in more than one day late.


Environmental science is an intense study into our dynamic planet. In order to keep up with the most current scientific data we often times will utilize the internet. Some material will contain controversial topics in which need to be approached in a nondiscriminatory way. You may be asked to complete assignments independently or in a group.


Introduction to Course – ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE OVERVIEW (Duration: 1 week)

Topics Covered: (Chapter 1)

I. Environmental Thinking & Problems Overview

II. Environmental History

UNIT 1 – EARTH’S SYSTEMS (Duration: 2.5 weeks)

Topics Covered: (Chapters 2 & 3)

I. Systems, Matter, & Energy

  1. Energy Flow and Matter
  2. Nuclear Radioactivity
  3. Laws of Energy

II. Ecosystem Structure

  1. Ecosystem components – including food webs
  2. Primary Productivity of Ecosystems
  3. Biogeochemical Cycles

UNIT 2 – ECOSYSTEM STRUCTURE (Duration: 4 weeks)

Topics Covered: (Chapters 4, 5, 6)

I. Evolution & Biodiversity

  1. Origins of Life
  2. Evolution & Adaptation events
  3. Niches, Speciation, Extinction

II. Climate & Terrestrial Biodiversity

  1. Weather & Climate (wind and current patterns, El Nino)
  2. Biomes

III. Aquatic Biodiversity

  1. Salt Water Ecosystems
  2. Fresh Water Ecosystems
  3. Fishing Practices, Aquaculture, & Laws

UNIT 3 – ECOSYSTEM DYNAMICS (Duration: 3.5 weeks)

Topics Covered: (Chapters 7 & 8)

I. Community Ecology

  1. Species Interaction (predation & competition)
  2. Symbiotic Relationships
  3. Invasive Species
  4. Ecological Succession & Sustainability

II. Population Ecology

  1. Population Dynamics – carrying capacity
  2. Reproductive Patterns

UNIT 4 – CONSERVATION BIOLOGY (Duration 2.5 weeks)

Topics Covered (Chapters 10, 11, 12)

I. Managing Ecosystems

  1. Land Use
  2. Forest Resources
  3. Ecological Restoration & Sustainability

II. Species Approach to Conservation

  1. Endangered Species
  2. Federal & Global Laws and Treaties

III. Sustaining Aquatic Ecosystems

  1. Protecting Wetlands, Rivers, and Marine Ecosystems
  2. Sustainable Fishing practices


Topics Covered: (Chapters 9 & 13)

I. Human Population Growth & Demographics

  1. Human Population History and Projected Growth (doubling time)
  2. Demographic Transition and Age Structure Diagrams
  3. Factors Influencing Population

II. Food Resources

  1. Agricultural Practices (past & present)
  2. Environmental Impacts of Food Production
  3. Nutrition & Disease
  4. Crop Production vs. Meat Production


Make-up Policy:

· Students are expected to take scheduled tests even if they are absent the day before the test.

· Students who are absent the day of a test are expected to take the test upon return to school.

· Assignments made prior to a full day absence and due on the day the absence occurs will be due upon the student's return to school. In addition, students who are present for any portion of the school day are expected to turn in all assignments due on that day in order to receive full credit for the assignments.

Honor Code: Any act of cheating, "either by giving or receiving a gradable experience", will be considered a violation of the honor code. I will complete an honor code violation form. I will also inform your parents of the violation and you will receive a grade of "zero" on that graded assignment. Cheating is defined as: Any sharing of information in a non-collaborative situation (i.e. tests, quizzes, Labs, homework, etc.) regarding a graded assignment.

Technology Code of Ethics: According to the Fulton County Schools policy "students shall not alter or attempt to alter school or private property including technology hardware and software." This includes: a) changing desktop settings or control panels b) removing or damaging mouse tracking balls, keys, cables, connectors, network jacks, or any other hardware

Chattahoochee High School Provision for Improving Grades

1. Students who complete a major assessment but fail to demonstrate mastery as evidenced by a grade below 75% on the major assessment may pursue an improvement opportunity to show proficiency. In the case of an honor code violation on a major assessment, the grade will stand as a zero with no eligibility for recovery on that assignment.

2. Students should contact the teacher concerning recovery opportunities within 5 school days of being informed of the grade on the assessment in class. Students are allowed one attempt at recovery per major assessment category listed in the course syllabus. All recovery work must be completed 10 days before the end of the semester.

3. The grade on the recovery assignment will replace the original grade if the recovery grade is equal to or below 75%. If the recovery grade is above 75%, the original grade will be replaced with a 75%.

Provision for Improving Grades

1. Opportunities designed to allow students to recover from a low or failing cumulative grade will be allowed when all work required to date has been completed and the student has demonstrated a legitimate effort to meet all course requirements including attendance. Students should contact the teacher concerning recovery opportunities. Teachers are expected to establish a reasonable time period for recovery work to be completed during the semester. All recovery work must be directly related to course objectives and must be completed ten school days prior to the end of the semester.

2. Teachers will determine when and how students with extenuating circumstances may improve their grades.