Environmental Science
Paul Melkonian & James Cornwell

This course is broken into four units. Students will be working towards completing a major project at the end of each section. The main text that will be used throughout the semester is Holt Environmental Science by Karen Arms (1996). Skills that will be stressed will be research skills using different databases, internet sites, magazines, journals, and books. Students will learn how to cite from these different sources and put it into a bibliography. Lab skills will include the scientific method, how to set up an experiment, how to keep a lab journal, how to write a lab report, different ways to represent data, how to convert from one scale to another, and how to care for living organisms. Students will also gain skills in debating and making presentations. There will be a number of class trips in order for students to see the things they are researching and studying.

Each unit is written below along with the topics that will be covered in that unit, projects assigned, presentations, labs, field trips, additional resources used, and assessment methods.]

Unit 1: Biosphere
The major project in this section is for students to design their own theoretical biosphere. They will have to use the skills and knowledge gained in the unit to make a realistic biosphere. It will be assessed on the creativity of the design, how realistic the design is, if the organisms used are put in the correct ecosystem and able to survive in that ecosystem, the arguments the student uses to defend their design, the use of outsideresources, how the student implements the resources, and the presentation of the project to the class.

Topics to be covered:
• structure of ecosystems: species, populations, & communities; succession
• kinds of ecosystems: tropical rain forest, desert, tundra, etc.
•characteristics of the ecosystems: animals and plants, adaptations, temperature, etc
•relationships in an ecosystem: photosynthesis and respiration, predator/prey, competition, parasitic, mutualistic, commensilistic, natural selection, and evolution
•energy transfer in an ecosystem: food chain, food web, food pyramid

projects and labs:
• students will research ecosystems in pairs and present to class
• eco-column (soda bottle terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem set up)
• photosynthesis/ respiration lab
•food web and energy transfer research/art project/presenation

Field trips:Bronx Zoo, NY Aquarium, NY Botanical Garden, Clearwater Navigation (tentative), library
outside resources "Living in a Bubble", New Scientist, 4/492.; "Brave New World of Biosphere 2?", Science News, 11/6/96.; Film: " The Man Who Planted Trees." 1992.

Unit 2: Environments
There are two major projects in this unit. The first is an individual research paper comparing the environments of the student with that of other humans and of other animals. Here students will be assessed on connections made between their environments and the other environments researched, if the resources were cited in their paper properly, the depth written about the culture and environments of other humans and animals. The second project will be a group project in which students will research different planets in a group and compare that planet to Earth. They will write a paper and do a presentation. It will be assessed on the depth of information that the students present on the planet, how they cite the resources, and how they present the information to the class. During presentation what the student has internalized is looked at more than what the student can read to the class. The teacher and other students ask questions of those presenting after the presentation is done.
Topics to be covered:
• urban environment: observations, poetry, and articles
• comparing of environments: different articles are used about various human cultures, human evolution and animal environment
• planetary environments: students will research and present the planet they research
projects and labs: population density lab, reaction papers field trips: Hayden Planetarium, Museum of Natural History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, library, and internet resource outside of school
outside resources: "Population, Poverty and the Local Environment." Scientific American, 1995.; " A Kenya Sketchbook", Journal of Natural History, 1996.; Herero by Udechukwu, 1996.; "Bonobo Sex and Society", Scientific American; 3/95.; Mans Many Ways by Gould."

Unit3: Energy and Waste
The major project in this section will be a debate on different energy sources. Students will be assessed on strength of their arguments, preparedness ( amount of research done, how well they know their argument and how well they can anticipate their opponents argument)
Topics to be covered:
• Energy: fossil fuels, solar, hydro, nuclear, and electricity (positives and negatives of each)
• efficiency: the efficiency of different energy sources will be studied
• waste: how much each student is responsible for, recycling., composting, landfills, and incinerator
projects and labs: students will design their own super efficient dream house, class will set up a compost, and smaller research projects to help in preparing for the debate field trips: Fresh Kills, Con Ed Museum, and a recycling center
outside resources: "A Super-efficient Structure" by Amory Lovins; The Environmental Crisis: Opposing Viewpoints, Greenhaven Press.

Unit 4: Problems in the Environment
The major project for this unit will be a debate. The assessment will be similar to that of unit three except expectations will be higher since it will be the second time they have done a formal debate in the class.
Topics to be covered: Acid rain, global warming, the greenhouse effect, ozone hole, air pollution, and water pollution. The impact that these have on our daily lives and health will also be covered.
projects and labs: East River water quality test lab, school drinking water quality test lab, environmental decision making projects and an air pollution lab field trips: East River
outside resources: "Rivers of Death" (Ch 9 from Silent Spring); "Greenhouse Effect: Apocalypse Now or Chicken Little"; Greenhaven Press' : Opposing Viewpoints Pollution and Endangered Species.