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Created By: Ken Pitts
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APES 2012-13

Created By: Ken Pitts


Course Text Used:  Miller, Tyler G., Jr. 2007. Living in the Environment (15th Edition) . Brooks/Cole a division of Thompson Learning, Canada. 

A.P.E.S. is a challenging coursed designed to be the equivalent of a first year college environmental science lab course for science majors. Scoring high on the AP exam on Monday May 2 will allow students as college freshmen to take upper level environmental science (E.S.) courses with E.S. as a prerequisite. Other students will benefit from having fulfilled the required lab science course and be able to pursue courses within their major. The money required to take the AP exam is much less than paying for the equivalent 4 credits at a university. You are expected to prepare & take the AP exam if you are enrolled in this course.

Students will be expected to commit to daily study beyond the classroom. If you cannot consistently find 45 minutes daily for each hour you are in this class, then you do not have enough space in your life to commit to this course. College courses expect students to be responsible for their learning. Typically students will be asked to read ~15 pages per day of class, outline the reading, learn vocabulary key words, work on understanding concepts, prepare notes from classroom presentations (peer & instructor), review class notes and diagrams, look for relationships and connections to previously learned material, and be prepared for discussion questions and vocabulary exams.

The goal of this course is to prepare students for the AP College Board Exam given on the morning of May 2, 2011. This is a 3 hour test consisting of 2 parts: Part One (60%) - 90 minutes of 120 multiple choice questions designed to test content and concepts drawn from across the entire course. Part Two (40%) - 90 minutes of answering 4 mandatory free response essay questions. If your score on the AP Exam is a 4 or 5 then your grade can be raised to an "A" for both semesters, if you have a passing grade in the course otherwise. If you get a 3 on the AP Exam, any grade below a "B" will be raised to a "B" for both semesters, if you have a passing grade for the semester.

The broad areas covered by AP Exam are: Earth Systems & Resources (10-15%); The Living World (10-15%); Populations (10-15%); Land and Water Use (10-15%); Energy Resources & Consumption (10-15%); Pollution (25-30%); and Global Change (10-15%). Scoring high on this exam will require you to write well thought out essay responses using correctly spelled vocabulary indicating you can synthesize material showing relationships of concepts studied. It also requires broad and deep knowledge of this subject. It is not as important for you to memorize facts, such as dates of environmental disasters, as it is to understand the mechanisms by which environmental relationships were disrupted. There is mathematical integration and problem solving usually on at least 2 of the 4 FRQ's. They are complex problems that must be solved without the use of calculators.

The following APES ASSIGNMENT TYPES will prepare students for the national exam:

I.  Reading chapters for understanding.  Usually is about 15 pages before the next class.  Chapters are usually split in half and a multiple choice (MC) reading quiz with 8 - 15 questions is given at the beginning of the period.  Students may ask for clarification about the details of particular concepts before the quiz, but their question needs to show depth rather than "tell me all about ...."

II.  Science Notebooks are kept in bound notebooks.  All notes, diagrams, handouts, chapter outlines, and math tutorials worked problems are kept here.  A "Table of Contents" page is kept up to date so the evaluator can find the required assignments.  Student remedial vocabulary test retake qualifiers are also done here and presented to the instructor before a retake can be scheduled.  Assignments will be evaluated about 2 times a 9 wks grading period.

III.  Vocabulary Tests are given for each chapter.  They are cumulative, meaning when you are on chapter 2, half of the test will be from chapter 1.  When you are taking chapter 3 test, half of it will be from chapters 2 & 1.  This year's format is 20 fill in the blank (FI) questions (20 pts) and 5 words not given on the "FI' section will be selected for you to write a coherent paragraph about that show 1) you know the definition (5 pts) and 2) you have practical examples (5 pts) of what that looks like in the world.  If you do not score 80% (proficient) on the vocabulary test, then you will need to take your test and write an essay that includes all 25 words given on your exam.  When that is done, you show your instructor and schedule a retake.  The essay is mandatory and automatically assigned to students scoring less than 80%.  It is worth 25 points in the "daily work" grade category and due 1 week from students learning their scores.

IV.  Take Home Tests are made available to you to take online by following a link on http://kenpitts.net/apes/apes_2012_13.html.  They are due at a given time, usually midnight the day before class.  These are entered in the "Daily Grades" section of the gradebook.  Students will be assigned a login for the quia.com website.  The questions will be given 1 at a time.  Students can save their test and continue at a later time.

V.  Unit Exams are given in chunks of 2 to 4 chapters.  They are given AP style with 50-80 complex MC questions and 3 or 4 FRQ's.  These will only be given on block days with 1 hr for MC and 1 hr for FRQ's.  An evening review before the test has been a tradition in APES.

VI.  Projects, Labs, and Group Presentations:  Students work cooperatively to accomplish a wide variety of projects in APES.  These include labs incorporating scientific methodology or poster or Prezi.com presentations.  Students will need to be in a cooperative group of 4 to take care of 1) a vermicompost bin 2) a bucket garden, & 3) a bottle eco-column.  Progress and data on those projects will be communicated on gambassa.com.

VII.  Gambassa Points: 240 points are required for this assignment to get 100%.  There are a wide variety of activities you can do to earn your 240 points:

a)  community service: 1 hr = 60 pts (trash removal at sponsored cleanups, managing recycling on campus, running the compost complex on campus)
b)  conservation:  implementing water or energy conservation measures at your home or neighborhood
c)  getting to know your local environment:  identification of local species (for instance ebird.org allows you to add to a worldwide database and learn)
d)  recycling inorganics:  bringing in CA CRV plastic or aluminum bottles and cans from home or work to donate to the school (.4 pts per piece)
e)  recycling organics:  starting a composting complex at your house for table & yard waste
f)  growing local:  start your own winter garden (in fall) and reap the leafy green benefits in the spring
g)  reducing pollution:  make a plan to move away from plastic with your lifestyle (reusable cloth bags, reusable cups / straws / lids)

VIII.  Sustainability Projects:  You are required to do an individual or group (max 3) science project that deals with on aspect of moving toward sustainability.  The fall semester will be spent learning about what that means, picking an area of sustainability you are most interested in specializing in, writing a background section to the study you want to do, and coming up with a hypothesis and experimental design.  Experimentation will take place after winter break.  Spring semester will be spent doing the experiments, analyzing the data, and making conclusions.  If you finish your study in time for taking it to the district science fair, then gambassa points will be given for the time you spend competing at the fair and preparation for that (if you have a well done project and are "in it to win it!").

IX.  Semester Tests: Both semesters will have a cumulative exam.  First Semester will be a combination of MC questions and Vocabulary for all chapters covered.  Second semester test will be a practice AP Exam given the week before the AP Exam at the end of April.

SCALE:  89.5 is A-; 79.5 is B-; 69.5 is C-; 59.5 is D-.
EXTRA CREDIT:  4 possible in Gambassa extra 240; 2 if you purchase a study guide
NATIONAL EXAM:  A score of 3 will get you an auto "B" for both semesters if you were C or D.  A score of 4 or 5 will get you an auto "A" for both semester if you were passing the class.  If you flunk this course, your AP exam will not raise your grade.

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Water Use Efficiency Grant Final Report

Created By: Ken Pitts

A request of $1,075.61 was made in January to purchase three Vernier Lab Quest Interfaces.  The purpose of the request was to increase the number of Santiago students who could participate in water quality testing activities along the Santa Ana Watershed near Corona.  Students in Advanced Placement Environmental Science (AP ES) would be allowed to use top notch hand held computers to test a wide variety of water quality parameters.

Those interfaces were ordered and delivered for the cost o $1,075.60 (see attached CNUSD invoice purchase order 125248).  Students enrolled in AP ES used the equipment to determine the quality of the water in the Hagador Canyon stream.  The pictures that follow are highlights from that trip.  To see the entire set taken by a professional photographer, Zane Balough, you can follow this link:http://www.Gambassa.com/public/images/78/11352/Water Quality 1.html.  You can see the purchase order for Vernier at http://www.Gambassa.com/public/filelist/78/1294.html. 

Students will now be able to continue testing using this equipment for many years.  Nearly 120 students are enrolled in the 2012-13 AP ES course, and both Ken Pitts (teaches two sections) and Chris Spencer (teaches one section) will be using the interfaces while expanding the role of water quality testing within the curriculum.

A huge THANK YOU to the City of Corona for making this possible through the Water Efficiency Grant.  It will allow us to ever increase the knowledge of our students in the area of water awareness.


Kenneth D. Pitts

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