Regents Earth Science


NYS Physical Setting: Earth Science # 04106, 04606-L

Regents Earth Science follows a curriculum outlined by the NYS syllabus. An inquiry-oriented approach is used to study Meteorology, Astronomy and Geology. A laboratory-based program, students are required to draw inferences, analyze data and interpret the environment. NYS Education Law requires that a student must successfully complete actual hands-on laboratory experiences along with satisfactorily documented laboratory reports. The laboratory experience is in addition to the required classroom instruction associated with earning one credit. All lab work must be successfully completed by June 1 in order to sit for any part of the Regents Exam.

Earth Science is the explanation of how all other sciences apply to the workings of space, to weather, and the dynamic and dangerous planet we live on. This is requires a basic understanding of all other interconnected sciences - biology, chemistry and physics - and so Earth Science can be challenging. In fact, Earth Science demands critical thought, application of skills, and great depths of understanding - all evidence of higher levels of learning. The Earth Scientist must be able to reason - without direct measurements or 'test-tube experiments' - how variables interact at great depths in our planet and change accordingly over deep time.

The Earth Scientist is one who can critically reason and think in three-dimensions (spatial reasoning) while making connections amongst all the sciences and disciplines in order to apply our understanding toward human sustainability with the Earth on the surface. Recently (geologically speaking), human sustainability has taking the forefront of interest. This Stewardship Awareness also speaks to the improved understanding of the planetary processes.

The Earth and Geosciences not only prepare students to prepare for life on this, a very dynamic planet, but to critically reason why natural processes happen as they do, and to live and act accordingly as one of many species dependent upon those processes.

Of course, all disciplines that humans study and find interest in stem from and return to how well we understand the processes of our planet. Art, politics, history, music, politics, economics and human sustainability all interrelate to oceanography, climatology, meteorology, geology, and astronomy - the main components of The Earth Sciences.

Resources: Textbook, Additional and Assignments

  • Earth Science by Spaulding & Namowitz, 2005. Published by McDougal & Littell. ISBN# 0-618-49938-5
  • 'Living The Earth Sciences' web site by Mrs. H.K.H. McArdle
  • RES Assignments [Not for use by Mrs. McArdle's students. Posted only to meet obligations to MCSD]

Extra Help & Instructor Contact

Extra Help is on Mondays, and other days by appointment.

Mrs. McArdle Mrs. Treanor

Grading & Evaluation There is no extra credit.

Quarterly grades are worth 20% of the grade for the year. Midterm and final exam grades are each worth 10% of the grade for the year. Quarterly grades consist of activities, presentations, classroom tests, and homework.

Be aware of your current average.

Be aware of your current final exam eligibility status.

Success in Regents-level courses comes from learning and using active reading strategies, and active study strategies - a littel every evening, and completing all assignments well, and on time. Regents Earth Science prepares students with the necessary skills for success in the remainder of their high school career, college, and their future careers.

Attendance = Don’t miss class time.

Missed instruction (for any reason) directly and negatively impacts your ability to succeed. Daily timely arrival to class (in your seat by the late bell) is expected each day. Three tardies/missed class time accumulates to one Absence. After 24 absences, the student will loses credit for the course.

Don’t miss class.


    • Three-metal ring binder (~1.5-2.0" binding) - for Earth Science alone;
    • Pens - any and all colors are super;
    • multiple Graphite pencils (a.k.a. #2);
    • blank paper, lined and unlined is helpful;
    • colored pencils;
    • an assignment pad;
    • tab dividers (3 - 4 total);
    • a four-function or scientific calculator - NO GRAPHING CALCULATORS PERMITTED (due to the Regents Exam prohibition)
    • Super helpful:
      • mini pencil-sharpener;
      • big, fat eraser;
      • mini-stapler;
      • highlighters of all colors
      • a bag/baggie in which to store these materials used each day in class

Notebook Organization by tabs:

      • #1 Blank Paper
      • #2 Class Notes Section (current topic materials in chronological order)
      • #3 Ongoing
      • #4 References Section (ESRT’s, Grade Calculation Sheet, Student Expectations Sheet, Vocabulary lists, Nuggets List, Maps, etc.)

Regents Exam Eligibility (eligibility must be earned and is not guarranteed)

Students registered in Regents science courses are NOT AUTOMATICALLY ELIGIBLE to take the NYS Regents Exam in June (NYS Physical Setting/Earth Science Syllabus). Each student must fulfill the district and state mandated requirements of satisfactorily completing hands-on laboratory exercises throughout the year. The deadline for having all required lab reports found to be acceptably completed is June 1. As per NYS Ed Department directives, students who do not have the required acceptable lab reports by June 1 will be barred from taking the Regents Exam. [Section 207 of the Education Law, Section 8.2c of the Rules of the Board of Regents states 'Only those persons who have satisfactorily met the laboratory Requirements as stated in the State syllabus for a science shall be admitted to the Regents examination in such science.']

Should a student fail a lab report, the student will be given another immediate opportunity to make up the lab experience. In making up a failed lab report the entire lab experience will be repeated; the student will be required to attend as many extra help (Per. 9) sessions as necessary to complete the lab experience to learn the necessary material. Lab make-up takes place in Rm. 147 with Mrs. McArdle on her Extra Help day. The student is expected to attend the next extra helps session upon learning that a laboratory report has a failing grade. The grade earned on the original lab report will not change, but upon successful completion of the lab make-up this report can be filed toward eligibility requirements by the State of New York.

Students will be provided the opportunity to demonstrate maturity and responsibility on their own before Mrs. McArdle notifies the student’s parents’, House Principal, and Guidance Counselor. Should the student not immediate steps toward lab make up, notification will take place.

This is unlike every other class you take.

Don’t miss any instructional time.

Every minute counts.

Missed class time results in missed experiences and information, even when it’s 'just' a trip to the bathroom. This directly results in a student having a more difficult experience in learning the material well. Calls out to the office, leaving to check emails or text messages, trips to the bathroom – every distraction acts in concert to hinder the students' ability to learn the material. Absences, even those that are legitimate (illness) are instructional time that is missed - and that student cannot make up. The responsibility is on the student to attend all classes in their entirety, and remain focused on the academic lessons.

Learning the value of deadlines is crucial to success for all students to succeed in college and their careers alike. The ‘late bell’ sounds when instruction begins in class. Students need to exhibit those most basic of college and career skills daily - preparation in a timely manner - by indicating they are seated in the classroom when the late bell rings. This is considered ‘on time’ to class.

Assignments are due in the front basket by the late bell. Assignments submitted late, but within 24 hours of due date will be accepted for ‘late points’ only, where the highest grade that can be earned on the late assignment is 60% of the original total points (instead of a 0%). After 24 hours, assignments will be accepted for written comments to the student, but not for a grade.

If you are absent, immediately contact your Learning Partner from class and get a copy of all class notes you missed. Upon your return, submit all missed assignments that were due on the days you were absent, and use the ‘Absences’ binder (front of the classroom) to pick up any handouts that Mrs. McArdle set aside for you. Make immediate arrangements with Mrs. McArdle to make up all missed work immediately. In the event of an illegal absence a 0% will be recorded for all missed work and assignments, as per the school handbook. Please remind your parents to call the high school (845-628-3256) the morning of an absence to report it as ‘legal’ – Thank you!

Develop effective college, interview, and career skills.

Study Skills. Reading is not studying. Reading is reading.

When asked how they study, many students respond "I read the chapter in the book." Unfortunately, reading is not studying. Reading is the beginning of a much longer process (studying) leading toward understanding of the material. It is not until you begin to interact with the information that you can 1) explain it and 2) apply it demonstrating that you do you understand it. There are many ways to study effectively. Mrs. McArdle will teach the course through the use of many methods throughout the year. It's only September, but it is not too early to get a Regents Review book and use it throughout the year.

Reserving time at home for study is important. Studying is not fun, nor is it easy - but it is necessary if you are going to learn. Mrs. McArdle will teach the course through 5-7 different study techniques. At least 30 minutes a day is suggested to begin studying for this course. Having the personal strength to remove your own distractions is a sign of maturity - and success. Condition yourself for success and turn off the T.V., turn off your cell phone (teach your friends not to contact you during your study time). If you would like your grades to improve even more, come on in for extra help!

Communication Skills

College and Career ready students are expected to resolve issues and concerns on their own by communicating effectively with their teachers, parents and guidance counselors (and your friends!). If your parents have questions about your progress they are strongly encouraged to speak with you first. As high school students, you should be able to effectively communicate what is happening in class – in factual detail. If you find that you are not able to answer your parents’ questions, please have them contact your teacher directly.

Spatial Reasoning Skills

The ability to think in 3-D is a challenging skill - but one that is imperative to your success in understanding the intricacies of the Earth Sciences. Being able to picture yourself inside a 2-dimensional diagram or inside the guts of the Earth (places we can't actually go or visit), and then in your minds' eye move the image so that you can see what the change would look like and be like from a different position .... yeah, that's a skill that has to be learned. We'll work on this one all year long. It will be the difference between true learning (success) vs. just ‘passing the test.

Curriculum Map

September - Oct. - November


Observing, analyzing and forecasting weather events

Real-time data collection during this years' Hurricane Season,

Analysis of real-time data as it occurs. Connections made to basic Meteorology. Predictions of storm tracks and strengths based upon decades of past data collection, mapping techniques, impact and use of satellite technologies.

Application to Meteorology, and Observations, Inferences and Forecasting of our First Snow Day Contest.

Connections made to types of energy in our atmosphere and the primary sources, energy's fluid motion and fluid dynamics within the atmosphere.

The early weeks of classes students are intensively prepared for the course content through specific skill-building activities. Specific skills such as study skills (teaching them how to study effectively across all disciplines), communication skills, computational skills, critical thinking skills, and inquiry/analysis training, and spatial reasoning skills are covered in depth by way of weather phenomena occurring in real-time. These skills are particularly critical to success in the geosciences and are most effective when real time data can be collected for analysis (hence through the lens of Hurricane Season). Student success is consistently assessed in these basic skills throughout the assignments and activities for the rest of the year. As topics become more complex and multifaceted, students are more easily able to apply higher-level thinking skills to the complex geoscience events and topics.

Though beneficial to students of all learning levels, this skill building facet of the course is particularly critical for the success of at-risk students.

Missed instructional time directly impedes students' ability to succeed to the highest levels of learning for the rest of the year.

Transition Topic I Meteorology to Astronomy

Space Weather and Sol's Effect on daily weather patterns.

Over time scales of minutes, hours, decades, centuries, millennia, and eons, patterns can emerge that permit better understanding of the complexities of large-scale processes and changes that occur in the atmosphere. Connections to climate, the application of Geologic Time and Geologic Time Scales are addressed. The Age of Earth and the known Universe lead us into the next major topic of Astronomy.

December - Jan. - Feb. - March


Deep space and our local Solar System

Cosmology vs. Astronomy, Observations of the night sky (while dusk occurs early in the evening) and celestial objects. Further practice on spatial reasoning and diagramming techniques to critically inquire about processes, and relationships among the sciences. The known Universe today, Earth's place in the Universe, Earth's position and changing position within our Solar System, the effects of constant, predictable dynamic motions by multiple bodies orbiting Sol.

Transition Topic II

Astronomy to Geology

Earth's position in our Solar System can be taken one step further - understanding where we live on Earth's surface. The various methods of representing Earth's surface and surface features on different types of maps (above and below sea level), and how theses skills can assist the geoscientist in mapping the locations and excavation of Earth' resources we 'need' is explored. Earth's resources of water, minerals, aggregates, and fossil fuels are explored, as well as how each is located and excavated for use. Environmentalism is addressed in each of these cases, as is the part that each individual plays in achieving a balance between Excavation and the Environment. How the Individual, Community, State, Nation and World impact each of these at different levels is also addressed - in particular how governments must begin to address the impacts of climate change, reduction of resources and increased need for energy in our society - at all levels. and how the Earth's surface formed changes in space, over time, with energy.

April - May - June


Structural and Surficial phenomena and processes effecting humans

As temperatures increase, snow melts producing the Spring runoff, again enabling real-time data collection and analysis of stream gauges, river levels, and predicted flooding events. We introduce scale of time again by addressing 10, 50, and 100-year flood events (using real-time data for analysis), and the processes at play (soil chemistry and physics of fluid dynamics is connected).

Structural geology is again brought into play, but now through the detailed observations and study of rocks and minerals, along with their locations, and processes of formation (chemistry and physics must be addressed in order to touch upon the complexities of these geoscience concepts). The largest scale processes of Plate Tectonics, the Wilson Cycle and Geologic Time, the myriad sources of data and overwhelming connections to other sciences and disciplines is addressed here as we are able to reach the highest-level of thinking and evaluation of our place and impact on the planet.