AP Environmental Science Course Description and Policies
Book: Environmental Science, Working with the Earth by Miller
Instructor: Dr. Tara Kheradyar
832-784-2518 or tkheradyar@chinquapin.org

This class is a AP course and focuses on teaching the basic content standards expected for introduction to environmental science described in the units outlined below. In addition, the students will have the opportunity to conduct laboratory investigations and inquiries, apply the scientific method, develop critical thinking & reasoning, as well as problem-solving skills in every unit. The overall goal of this class is to guide the students to learn about the sciences used in understanding our environment and the ever-growing human impact on Earth. Knowledge and understanding will hopefully result in greater appreciation for our resources and better stewardship of the world in which we live. The students will be encouraged to extend and apply their understanding of new information to social and ethical issues, in order to make informed decisions as community members.

The course materials/notes for this class are based on an established study guide/supplement for AP Environmental Science at the Harvard/Westlake School. Although the class will be taught as a regular survey course, the students may choose to take the AP exam at the end of the year. We will use several texts and other related reading material. The main books for this class include: Environmental Science, Working with the Earth by Miller, and Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan.
It is essential to keep track of all handouts in a binder with dividers for each class unit. All students must have a scientific calculator to use for selected units, and will be expected to have appropriate note-taking material with them every day.
The course is divided into eleven units:
Fall Semester
Unit 1: Matter, Energy and Ecosystems (Ch. 1-3, and Ch. 18)
Unit 2: Water Resources and Water Pollution (Ch. 11)
Unit 3: Ecological Concepts (Biology Review: Biomes and Climate, Population Dynamics and Species Interactions; Ch. 4-6)
Unit 4: Human Population (Ch. 7)
Unit 5: Sustaining Biodiversity (Ch. 8-9)
Unit 6: Risk, Toxicology, and Human Health (Ch. 14)
Spring Semester
Unit 7: Geology and Solid/ Hazardous Waste Disposal (Ch. 12 and 17)
Unit 8: Energy Resources (Ch. 13)
Unit 9: Air Pollution (Ch. 15)
Unit 10: Climate Change (Ch. 16)
Unit 11: Food, Soil and Pest Management (Ch.10, and Omnivore’s Dilemma)

Grading Method and Scale

A 90-100

B 80-89

C 70-79

D 60-69

There will be no assigned weights for each grade category. All class assignments will be worth points. The grades will be computed using the above scale based on overall percentage of total points earned. Assessment of learning will be measured according to performance on the following:
Class Participation – Based on a variety of in-class and
homework assignments – about 20 points per two weeks
Project Reports – 30 points once per month
Quizzes – about 10-20 points per two weeks
Tests – about 40-60 points every 3-4 weeks
Semester Final – 20% of total points for the semester


Plagiarism is the presentation of another person’s work or ideas as your own. This includes copying someone else’s homework (unless you are instructed that data is to be shared) or observations and conclusions during classwork. You may discuss your assignments with another student, but may not copy or just paraphrase another person’s ideas. All incidents of plagiarism as well as other forms of academic dishonesty will be reported to the deans and the director of the school.

Late Work and Make-Up
Homework and other work or reports are due at the beginning of the period on the announced due date. Late homework or lab reports will be accepted only three times during the semester and will be penalized between 10-20% per day (allowing for excused absences). Homework and reports will not be accepted if they are more than three days late, and the students will receive a zero. Missed homework assignment required for in-class discussions, will automatically receive a zero without the opportunity for make-up. In case of excused absences, the students need to email me immediately in order to plan when they can turn in assignments.

Extensions on projects are only aloud for illness and will simply not be possible for the pace of this course.

Make-up Tests and Quizzes
There will be no make-ups for missed quizzes and tests without my prior permission, or for any unexcused absences. Students missing any quizzes or tests for reasons other than illness or scheduled school events, will receive a zero for the assessments. If a quiz or test is missed due to an excused absence, it needs to be scheduled on the next day after the absence. It is your responsibility to contact me about any missed quizzes or tests. During the excused absence, students must contact me for a plan for self-study.

Class Rules
Class and lab rules for behavior and safety will be discussed during the first week of school.

Student Name _ Student Signature

Parent/Guardian Name
Parent/Guardian Signature ___

I can best be reached by email at tkheradyar@chinquapin.org.