APES Course Syllabus

AP Environmental Science Syllabus


Welcome to my classroom.  My name is Laura Branch and I look forward to working with you over the next year.  In order to create a warm, enjoyable classroom environment, we must go over some ground rules, lab safety, and of course, a grading policy.  We are here to learn from each other and understand the many interesting concepts of environmental science without blowing up the lab!


General Information:

            Course:  Advanced Placement Environmental Science (A/B)
            Instructor:  Ms. Laura Branch
            Phone:  (805) 937-2051 ext 2134

            Web Site:  http://lbranch.bajaru.com

 Materials Required:
Three ring binder, lined loose-leaf paper, pencils, highlighters, colored pencils

Environmental Science, Earth as a Living Planet, (8th Edition) 


  • Completion of Chemistry (P) with a C or better for both semesters.
  • Signed syllabus & summer assignment due first day of class.

Course Description:

AP Environmental Science is a rigorous year long college level laboratory course designed to learn about scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, identify and analyze environmental problems (both natural and man-made), evaluate the risks associated with these problems and examine alternative solutions for resolving and/or preventing them.

 Environmental Science is an interdisciplinary laboratory science that covers a wide variety of topics from different areas of study.  There are several unifying themes that cut across the many topics included in the study of environmental science.  The following themes provide a foundation for the structure of the AP Environmental Science course:

  1. Science is a process
  2. Energy conversions underlie all ecological processes
  3. The Earth itself is one interconnected system
  4. Humans alter natural systems
  5. Environmental problems have a cultural and social context
  6. Human survival depends on developing practices that will achieve sustainable systems


This course is designed to prepare students for the Environmental Science College Board Advanced Placement Exam.


All written work is graded for neatness, completeness, accuracy, grammar and spelling.  All work is assigned a point value.  At the end of the grading period, all points to date are totaled and a percent score is determined for each student by dividing the number of points the student earned by the number of assigned points possible.  Letter grades are then assigned based on the following scale:

93 % and up     A         80-82%           B-                    68-69%           D+
90-92%              A-        78-79%           C+                   63-67%           D
88-89%              B+       73-77%           C                     60-62%           D-
83-87%              B          70-72%          C-                    below 60%    F


Exams will be given over each major unit, and are always announced in advance.  Tests are usually worth 100 points and have both multiple choice and short answer questions.  In class reviews & study guides are given to help you study!

 Cheating:  If you are caught cheating, you will receive a zero on the exam and a major discipline referral. Cheating will not be tolerated!!


Quizzes are occasionally given during a chapter of the text or other unit covered.  Quizzes are usually worth about 20 points.  Some quizzes may not be announced in advance and may cover the previous night’s homework assignment.


Throughout the year, you will be completing numerous projects.  These projects will be based on real-world situations and are quite in-depth.  These projects will be graded on completeness, accuracy, neatness & organization. You may be required to share information about your project with the class and you may be required to work with a partner(s) for some of these projects.

 Lab Exercises: 

Lab exercises accompany most units and will require a written (typed) report.  Each student is expected to turn in their own laboratory reports whether they worked in a group or not, unless specified in class.  It is the responsibility of the student to turn these assignments in on time as no late work will be taken!  If you are absent the day it is due, you MUST turn in the assignment upon your return.


An assignment guide, that includes assignments and readings for the year, will be given to you at the beginning of the year.  It is your responsibility to write in due dates of the given assignments as we go through them.  Each week students will be reminded of upcoming assignments and due dates.  It is the students’ responsibility to turn these assignments in on time as no late work will be taken!  If you are absent the day it is due, you MUST turn in the assignment upon your return.


 Students at Righetti High School are assigned a citizenship grade, either Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory, at each grading period.  Students requiring disciplinary action can expect to receive an Unsatisfactory Citizenship grade.

Cell Phones, iPods, & MP3’s:   

There may be times we need to use computers and cell phones in class for research purposes.  If this is the case, I will make the announcement.  However, during all other times, cell phones, iPods, & MP3 players should be put away.  They will be confiscated if they are out during class.  Parents will have to pick these up from the office.  Head phones should not be visible.  Cell phones should be turned off and there should be NO texting!

 Makeups:  Homework will not be accepted late unless the student is absent on the due date for illness or other officially excused absence.*  Work is expected to be turned in promptly upon your return to school.  Work missed for unexcused absences such as cuts may not be made up.  Tests will be made up upon your return, either after school or during lunch (you may not have as much time as during class to take the make up exam)!

 Extra Credit:  I do not do extra credit assignments.  So, don’t ask.  You may, however, receive
Branch Bucks during class for answering questions correctly, doing an outstanding job on your projects or helping out during class.  Branch Bucks, worth 1 point each, are redeemable for extra points on tests.


Classroom Guidelines/Rules:
The following rules should be taken seriously in the classroom.  It should be noted that although these rules need to be followed everyday in the classroom, my advice is to also follow them outside of the classroom so you will be an all-around fun, interesting, nice person to be around, not a grumpity old sourpuss!

 Be respectful to yourself and others.
I respect you.  You respect me.  Then we can be a great big family (sung to the tune of Barney).  I want to build a community within our classroom so we can enjoy each other and learn.  I have the right to teach and you have the right to learn.  We must respect each other’s rights.  If we can do so, we will learn a lot from each other.

Be courteous to all.
Treat each other with respect.  Treat others how you would want to be treated.  Listen to what others have to say because everyone has something important to say.  Learn from each other.  Use kind words at all times, especially during group work and/or debates.  It’s okay to disagree but be courteous about it.  Listen to what others say before a rebuttal.  Don’t ever put others down.  Be courteous to them.

 Be positive!
A positive attitude is priceless!  Don’t complain about doing group work, try to learn from the experience.  Try to be a positive influence on your group members/classmates.  It does a lot to one’s self-esteem to be optimistic.  Look at the good, not the negative!!!   :)

Be considerate!
Everyone is in this class to learn.  Yes, even me.  I learn from my students just as you will learn from your classmates and I.  Everyone needs to be considerate of each other.  Raise your hand to speak.  Be considerate of the time I have to teach.  I have the right to start on time.  When the bell rings, you must be in your seat, ready to learn.  Be considerate of me at the end of the class.  I expect to dismiss you, not the bell.


School Rules:

Attendance/Tardy Policy - see Student Parent Handbook

Major Discipline - see Student Parent Handbook



Cut along this line and return this stub to Ms. Branch




I have read the preceding rules and guidelines for AP Environmental Science class, and understand the contents.


__________________________               ________________________         ___________

  student name (printed)                                    student signature                                 date      


__________________________                    ________________________            __________    

  parent signature                                                Parent email address                           date






© Laura Branch 2017