Course Outline

  • Advanced Placement Environmental Science

    Course Outline

    Mr. Ostensen


    I. Course Description:

    Welcome to APES!  This course will cover the curriculum as described by the College Board. We will study scientific concepts, required to comprehend the interrelationships of the natural world.  Major topics include: ecological principles, population, earth processes, resource management, energy, pollution, and policy.   This course is equivalent to a four hour college course with a laboratory section.  Students will need some background in Physical and Life science and at least one year of Algebra.  


    II. Course Objectives:

    1. To analyze the flow of energy through biogeochemical cycles from land, to water, and to the atmosphere

    2. Relate biological demand to the carrying capacity of the ecosystem 
    3. Compare distribution of resources to geographical location of population centers.
    4. Evaluate economic forces and society’s influence on conservation and consumption of resources.  

    5. Evaluate how humans depend on ecosystems for survival.

    6. Identify and analyze environmental problems – both natural and human-made, to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems and to examine alternate solutions for resolving and/or preventing them.

    7. Be successful on the AP Exam May 4th.


    III. Textbook and Materials:  

    Text:  Environmental Science for AP* 1st Edition, © 2012, Friedland and Relyea, Freeman

    The student is encouraged to keep a notebook of daily objectives, literature reviews, and critical thinking essays.  In addition, a lab notebook that may be left in the classroom is required.


    IV. Grading Policy:

    The grade for each quarter is determined as follows:

    TESTS: --   50%                   QUIZZES: -- 15%                LAB: --15%         ACTIVITIES: -- 20%

    1.     Tests will be structured in same format as the AP Exam.  All tests will be cumulative and will generally consist of two parts: a multiple choice section and a free response section. 

    2.     Any missed test can be made up at the end of the quarter with the makeup test.

    3.     Quizzes typically will include multiple choice and / or short answer questions

    4.     Activities include discussions, classwork, homework, readings, participation, and laboratory investigations.

    5.     Each homework assignment is graded (0 – 100). Late work received within 24 hours will earn half credit and no credit after that.


    V. Lab:

    Laboratory experiences are not optional.  One question in the essay portion of the AP Exam will be based on laboratory experiences.  There may be several more questions in the multiple choice section of the exam related to lab work.  There are required topics for laboratory experiments but no specified lab manual for AP Environmental Science laboratory exercises.                                                       

    1. Labs which are satisfactorily completed and handed in on time will earn full credit. 

    2. Grades are based on effort and completeness.  Late labs received within 24 hours will earn half credit and no credit after that.

    3. A laboratory notebook is required.   Labs will be written in a journal that may be reviewed by college instructors.  To receive college credit, you may have to present a portfolio of your lab work to the college you will be attending.  They will evaluate the depth and breadth of your lab work and possibly grant you credit for your work or exempt you from the laboratory requirement of a class.  Keep your lab notebook organized and neat.


    VI. Activities:

    Homework: Questions are derived from several Free Response questions on previous Advanced Placement Exams and college textbooks.  Please keep the following in mind when doing homework.

    1. You must read the textbook.  You are responsible for assigned readings and will be tested on them.  Your homework must be your work.

    2. Homework prepares you for the multiple choice and free-response questions you will encounter on the AP Exam.

    3. Homework questions are similar to the essay questions on chapter tests.  Homework responses MUST be written in complete sentences, unless noted.   Please be neat.


    Participation:  Class participation is assessed as follows:

    1. Being prepared for class having all necessary materials

    2. Being on time for class and ready to work

    3. Participating in all class activities


    VII. Methods of Instruction:

    1. Lecture with focus on developing critical thinking skills.
    2. Class discussion with emphasis on integrating and analyzing data.
    3. Laboratory experiments.
    4. Demonstrations illustrating methods of experimentation.
    5. Computer simulations.


    VIII. Attendance and Communication:

    It is very important to be in class but life happens and if you are absent you are responsible for any missed work.  When absence is unavoidable see me, check the web page or contact a friend for missing work.  If you are in need, call the school (874-6500) or email me (  Many assignments will be posted on the school webpage and when possible reminders will be sent through text using Remind 101. Makeup assignments may be submitted any time during a marking period with the exception of the last 2 weeks of the marking period Be on time for class.


    IX. Extra Help

    Extra Help is planned for every Wednesday in room 2924.