AP Environmental Science (A.P.E.S.)
Mr. Ken Pitts

Course Text Used:  Miller, Tyler G., Jr. 2007. Living in the Environment (15th Edition) . Brooks/Cole a division of Thompson Learning, Canada.

Welcome to AP Environmental Science (A.P.E.S.)!  I am a science instructor with 31 years of experience. My most recent jobs include 7 years at Santiago, 4 years teaching biology and AP bio. at Lampeter-Strasburg in PA, 5 years as biology and physiology instructor at Salina High School South in Salina, KS, and before that, at Wichita Northeast Magnet High School as their Senior Research Projects instructor.

Course Description & Expectations

A.P.E.S. is a challenging coursed designed to be the equivalent of a first year college environmental science lab course for science majors. Scoring high on the AP exam on Monday May 2 will allow students as college freshmen to take upper level environmental science (E.S.) courses with E.S. as a prerequisite. Other students will benefit from having fulfilled the required lab science course and be able to pursue courses within their major. The money required to take the AP exam is much less than paying for the equivalent 4 credits at a university. You are expected to prepare & take the AP exam if you are enrolled in this course.

Students will be expected to commit to daily study beyond the classroom. If you cannot consistently find 45 minutes daily for each hour you are in this class, then you do not have enough space in your life to commit to this course. College courses expect students to be responsible for their learning. Typically students will be asked to read ~15 pages per day of class, outline the reading, learn vocabulary key words, work on understanding concepts, prepare notes from classroom presentations (peer & instructor), review class notes and diagrams, look for relationships and connections to previously learned material, and be prepared for discussion questions and vocabulary exams.

The goal of this course is to prepare students for the AP College Board Exam given on the morning of May 2, 2011. This is a 3 hour test consisting of 2 parts: Part One (60%) - 90 minutes of 120 multiple choice questions designed to test content and concepts drawn from across the entire course. Part Two (40%) - 90 minutes of answering 4 mandatory free response essay questions. If your score on the AP Exam is a 4 or 5 then your grade can be raised to an "A" for both semesters, if you have a passing grade in the course otherwise. If you get a 3 on the AP Exam, any grade below a "B" will be raised to a "B" for both semesters, if you have a passing grade for the semester.

The broad areas covered by AP Exam are: Earth Systems & Resources (10-15%); The Living World (10-15%); Populations (10-15%); Land and Water Use (10-15%); Energy Resources & Consumption (10-15%); Pollution (25-30%); and Global Change (10-15%). Scoring high on this exam will require you to write well thought out essay responses using correctly spelled vocabulary indicating you can synthesize material showing relationships of concepts studied. It also requires broad and deep knowledge of this subject. It is not as important for you to memorize facts, such as dates of environmental disasters, as it is to understand the mechanisms by which environmental relationships were disrupted. There is mathematical integration and problem solving usually on at least 2 of the 4 FRQ's. They are complex problems that must be solved without the use of calculators.

To prepare you for this exam, you will be assessed on the following assignments. Quizzes and tests are 60% of your grade, other assignments are 30%, and semester tests are 10%.

  1. reading quizzes (mc questions over the basics (there questions) of the reading assignments)
  2. cumulative vocab quizzes for each chapter (no word lists supplied)
  3. chapter take home tests
  4. SCIENCE NOTEBOOKS (outlines, notes from presentations, homework math problems, handouts, concept maps, relationship statements, your reflections on the material)
  5. unit projects (posters & presentations etc)
  6. lab write-ups
  7. Green Ambassador personal action semester projects (gamabassa.com)
  8. unit exams (multiple choice & free response essays)
  9. semester exam (10% of 1st sem. grade) There will be no 2nd sem. exam IF YOU TAKE THE NATIONAL AP TEST (10% of 2nd sem. grade if you don't take AP Exam in May)

Class Web Address:  http://www.kenpitts.net All schedules, text readings (username=focus, password=focus), assignments, vocabulary practice tests, and grades will be available on the Internet for students and parents to access. If you have a concern, my email is kpitts@cnusd.k12.ca.us. My school phone is (951) 739-5600.

Class Rules:

1)  Be on time!  The school tardy policy will be followed: 1st=warning; 2nd=30min. detention + home contact; 3rd=1hr detention + home contact; 4th = sent to AP (assistant principal) with a referral. No makeup for reading quizzes missed due to tardy. Be in the door before the bell rings.
2)  Be prepared!  We will write every day so you will need your SCIENCE NOTEBOOK, pencil (mechanical), pen, graph paper for taking data. Bring text on all block days.
3)  Respect the rights of others and yourself!  The school cell phone policy is followed in this class. Raise your hand to be recognized and respond to questions.  Use appropriate language. When the instructor rings the orange bell, you have 5 seconds to be silent. 30 minute detentions result if you take longer.
4)  Respect the Property of Others and of the School: Keep feet off of furniture.  No sitting on lab tables or desks.  Be extremely cautious with computer equipment. No games on computers. Keep your hands off of equipment you are not using. No food or drink other than water.

Students and parents can access online grades (which are live with my gradebook) at http://www.cnusd.k12.ca.us/parentconnect. I expect you to keep track of your grade. I will not waste paper and time in printing them out.