Our goal in this class is to develop environmental literacy, so you can become change agents for the future.
Our topics include basic terminology, chemistry and physics concepts, biomes, ethics, populations and earth systems, then larger modules on air, water and soil. We follow these with modules on energy and pollution, concluding with a comprehensive study of sustainability, our theme throughout the year.
Our class meets in the energy lab on assigned days, with access to the lab for projects over lunch and after school on arrangement with the teacher. Our class will be largely hands-on, and students are expected to take notes and complete in-class and homework assignments as well as lab reports.
We will use online videos, tools in the energy lab, iPads and laptops for our course. You are expected to use these with care, and abide by the acceptable use policy of the school, which says among other things that these tools are to be used only for class related activities. You are expected to bring your computer to class for access to class materials, but when needed, we'll use the laptops provided for security reasons during some exams. Taking notes in class is a key skill we'll work on, preferably on paper, not the computer.
As you know, our new schedule has 50/50/70 minute periods. We meet about 3 times each week, and the longer class period will be for labs or exams.
We begin each class with a short 5 minute quiz on the homework and/or class discussion and notes. These are not just your normal recall quizzes, they should get you to consolidate and process the material we are learning together. We usually follow this with a short discussion of the quiz.
Every few weeks we'll have an exam which will take longer, but will be based on the quiz materials, so make sure you make up any material you miss.
"What if I miss a quiz?"
You will be able to recover the points for a missed quiz by going over the material of the class that day and creating a clear summary of the work covered that day, emailed to me before the next class. This will serve two purposes: first you will retain your points, and second, you will cover the material missed. Missed exams will be handled on an individual basis, but if you know you are going to be absent, I expect you to let me know so we can plan accordingly for exams and other class materials.
You will be able to drop one lowest score each quarter.
Quizzes will count for a fraction of each exam, and labs will count as several exams. We have 12 required labs on energy, water, soil and air, so the balance of these in your final grade may vary from quarter to quarter as we cover them. Energy is usually a very strong topic for HPA students taking the AP.
Homework will be assigned most nights, and may include questions, videos and other materials. Homework is due by email to firstname.lastname@example.org at least 30 minutes before class starts (you'll see this on Haiku and your calendar). The earlier you can turn in homework (e.g. the night before it is due) I'll give constructive comments which will make for a higher score. Last minute work will not get this treatment. Please make sure to use your HPA email, not something like"email@example.com"
Notes: Students are expected to bring their own notebooks, calculator and writing tools to every class, with no exceptions. We will learn how to effectively take notes using the Cornell notes format among others.
Phones: Phones are not permitted in class, except for calculator use. Any phone use during class will result in the phone being collected and turned over to the Dean of Discipline (this includes bathroom breaks).
Late work: Work is expected to be turned in on time, and there is no credit for late work. This is partly out of respect for those who take the time to turn in their work, and also because we often review assignments as part of our classwork together.
If you plan on missing class, please contact me well in advance to make arrangements to make up the work.
If you are unable to access the internet, it is your responsibility to find alternate access. Starbucks and other locations have free internet access as well as access here at school. Contact me as soon as possible, help me help you. I also suggest that you not wait until the last minute to begin assignments. If you leave things to the last minute, you diminish my ability to help you.
Some of our work will be done in class, but any out of class assignments will usually have a very express turn in time. This is partly to help you organize your workload, but also so that I can have a chance to grade your work before we discuss it in class. As AP college prep students, you may also turn in assignments early, in which case I can give you feedback and usually this results in a higher grade, as well as greater comprehension. Please check out the student handbook for more information.
Energy Lab: Please do not bring food or drink from outside into the energy lab. Students may bring in their own water containers, but since we have a limited supply of bottled water, please do not fill your containers from these bottles.
Everyone is required to take the AP exam in May, which in our class usually falls on the first exam of the first day (lucky you!). Actually this is an advantage as you have more time to study for your other exams. We'll have more on this through the year. We will usually have a timed AP simulation exam just before spring break, to show you what you'll need to work on for the real thing in May.
The text we'll be using is required (see resources below): Friedland and Relyea, Environmental Science for the AP second edition, 2015. It follows a 20 chapter model with 66 modules total. We meet about 3x per week, 9 weeks per quarter, so this means about 5 chapters per quarter and 15 modules per quarter. This will vary as we dive into deeper subjects like energy.
We'll also be using iPads in class with the iBook Environmental Science by Jay Withgott. If you can get a copy for yourself, this is very helpful. See the resources page for other resources you should consider for the class. Books are expensive, but their value is considerable.
We'll be using Haiku for all calendar events, gradebook, attendance and assignments. We'll also be using the physics server at physics.hpa.edu where many of our online resources live. This is also where you'll find class notes and summaries. Why not on Haiku? You'll find the physics server to be an excellent searchable resource with materials going back 16 years of this class. It is a gold mine of questions, videos and class notes you might enjoy. Haiku does not have this legacy aspect, but is valuable as a common communication platform.
We have an alternate server at physics.kamuela.org, if you have trouble with the HPA network at any time.
You may find some practice tests which are not graded. These are to help you with the material, not to waste your time. We'll also be testing "delayed grading" where you get a test back but don't know the score right away. I'm still working on how to do this with Haiku/Powerschool, so stay tuned on this one.
The best way to reach me is before or after class, but any questions about grading have to be taken care of outside of our class time, out of respect for others in the class as well as your privacy.
Our first day together:
I'd like to begin by learning more about you, so we'll chat for a bit, then I'll have an email assignment for you (your first score-yippee!)
On day 2, we'll have a "navigation quiz".
Navigation-finding out where we are, and where we want to go. What will success look like for you? Is it a 5 on the AP or a 5 in life?
"Errors and trust are opportunities to learn"
Keep this in mind when you are struggling-we have your back. We are here to challenge you and make you think. Hopefully laugh a lot too.
As always, let me know how I can help. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll share other contact info in class. You should always check your email the night before class, and I'll do the same to make sure I've answered all of your questions.