Environmental Science

Course Description

Environmental Science is one of the most important subjects to study. Our society is influenced by it every day.  A persons’ overall health is affected by the quality of the environment they live in, from the cleanliness of the air they are breathing, to the purity of the water available to drink, to the habitat they live in.  Presently environmental issues are embodied in all aspects of our culture, from the political arena to everyday social settings. I will provide you with current issues, theories and data and how they relate to you, the student and society as a whole. My goal for you as my student is to make sure you have an understanding of the concepts covered in a first year Environmental Science course and make connections between the concepts you are learning and relevance to your life and the lives of others. 

 Course Overview

This course is designed to cover a variety of topics within the sciences.  The goal is to provide you 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 risk factors of these problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them.  Emphasis in this class is placed on science as a process, energy conversions underlying all ecological processes, the Earth as an interconnected system, how humans alter the environment, environmental problems and their social context and developing sustainable practices.
Scope and Sequence
Semester 1

Methods of Science

· Scientific inquiry

· Data analysis (graphs and tables)

· Process of peer review

· Importance of replication

Economics and Environmental policy

· Policy (Clean Air Act, Environmental Impact statement, Endangered species Act, Clean water act, NEPA/EPA, Department of the Interior)

· Sustainability triangle (social, economic, environmental)

· Cost benefit analysis

· Eco-labels (energy star, fair trade, USDA organic, FSC, recycle)

Population ecology

·        Calculating birth and death rates

·        Immigration and emigration

·        Population density

·        Carrying capacity (exponential and logistic growth patterns)

·        Limiting factors

·        Biotic/abiotic factors

Population Demographics and Human Population

· Demographic transition (pre-industrial, industrial, transitional, post-industrial)

· Age structure diagrams (affluence, education, access to health care, cultural influences)

· Predict future population demographics

Biodiversity and Human Impacts on Biomes

·        Biomes (desert, savanna, tundra, tropical rainforest, boreal forest, chaparral)

·        Climatograph

·        Biodiversity (protecting and preserving)

·        Economic value, scientific value, cultural value, educational value

Semester 2

Renewable and Non-renewable resources 

· Water management methods (dams, canals, irrigation, water usage)

· Pollution (point and non-point source, thermal, groundwater, biological)

· Soil erosion-human activities and prevention (mining, deforestation, agricultural/farming techniques, livestock)

· Minerals (sustainable use)

· Fire ecology (suppression policy, prescribed burns)

Energy and Its Impact on Climate

·   Energy conversion (mechanical, chemical, kinetic, potential)

·   Fossil fuels and use (coal, oil, natural gas)

·   Alternative energy (hydrogen fuel, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, wind, biomass, nuclear, tidal)

·   Benefits and limits of fossil fuels/alternative energy sources

·   Climate (CO2 over time, greenhouse gases and effect)

·   Global climate change (evidence and impact of)


·   Waste management (impacts and reduction, management methods)

·   Urbanization (heat island effect-causes and prevention, vegetation effects and transportation effects-mass transit, car pooling

 The objectives of this course are that each student shall be able to demonstrate skills using various types of instrumentation and scientific methodologies.Student will learn how to read and critique scientific research articles in the field of Environmental Science and practice using data collected to solve scientific problems.


  Scientific calculator- Bring a scientific calculator as there are a few units of study which require use of a calculator.

Please bring the following every day!

  1. Writing utensils and paper- homework and calculations must be done in pencil, with erasures done neatly.Number 2 pencils will be needed for tests.
  2. It is your responsibility to keep up with your notes and other handouts. A binder dedicated to the class is a good policy, so that you can organize materials to study or find assignments that are missing from the grade book (it happens). Make sure that you are keeping up with warm-ups, notes, and handouts so that you are prepared for the tests.
  3. Closed-toe shoes on lab days- If you do not have closed-toe shoes on lab day you will not be allowed to participate.This is an important safety rule.


All work leading up to the final answer must be shown legibly in order to earn any credit!  This policy is for all work turned in for a grade, including quizzes, tests, labs, and homework.  NO WORK, NO CREDIT!


Students may not give or receive unauthorized help (cheating) on tests, homework, or labs the student will receive a zero on that assignment.  This means that all work represented as being your work must be your work. 


            Assigned work must be turned in by the due date. Any late assignments may be turned in by 8:30 am the following school day, for a maximum grade of 70%. You may elect to drop any one assignment during the course of the Quarter as long as they are not 100 point Projects or Unit tests.


You must be seated and working on the warm-up when the bell rings or you will be marked tardy. 


If the student is absent it is their responsibility to gather the assignments that they have missed upon the day of their return.  Check with classmates, the posted calendar and lesson plans, and write ABSENT by your name for your assignments.  If you missed an exam or lab, schedule a make-up.  Please keep in mind that the format of the make-up is at the teacher’s discretion.  The student must complete and turn in the make-up work in a timely manner, usually the number of days missed plus one. 


Cell phones are not to be seen or heard during class unless given specific instructions.  Put your phone away, in your backpack or bag, and be sure it is silent.  If you need to look something up, you may use your laptop.  Computers may be used as long as whatever you are doing is pertinent to the lesson.  Clean up after each lab.


This course is devoted to the discussion of the ideas and concepts of Biology Although particular attention will be given to those concepts considered to be appropriate and transferable to the everyday living. 

The grading for the course will be as follows:

GRADING:  Tests and quizzes will be given regularly throughout the semester, with a comprehensive final exam the conclusion of the semester.

90-100=A              60-69=D

80-89=B                <60=F


 100 pts each for Midterm and Final Exams
We will also be using an online quiz, testing and practice platform on Quia.  

Go to https://www.quia.com/studentZone, 
Make your own account and create a username and password.  Please write these down so you can remember them later as I will not have access to information that will help you retrieve it.  I will provide the class pass code so that you can access practice games and quizzes or take tests as well as access the textbook.

Weekly 20 min quizzes given on Thursday at the beginning of class, covering the text questions for the chapters covered during that week.

The laboratories are to be completed and turned in at the end of the laboratory period. The lab grade is based on these experiments - there is no laboratory exam as such, although there may be laboratory-related questions on the in-class exams. There will be no make-up labs, you may use your option to drop an assignment if you need to.