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AP Environmental Science: Summer Work 2015




2015-05-04: Please note that you do not have to submit a hard copy of your work - electronic copies (like Word documents, PDFs, etc.) are fine if they meet the file size requirement (which applies to each assignment, not each page!). Please do not submit photographs of your work.
2014-05-31: The purpose of the summer work is to get a head start on the school year by covering a major part of the AP Environmental Science curriculum: Area II: The Living World. It is largely a review of topics already covered in AP Biology. This will give us more time for learning new subject matter in class. We'll do some relevant labs in class and then probably have a test the second week of school.
2014-05-31: You can monitor updates to this page (and any other one on this site) by clicking the "Notify" option under the "..." at the top of each page. There you will have the option to receive email updates whenever there is a change to a page, to the discussions, or both; that way, you will not have to check the site as often.


The summer work involves reading parts of Living in the Environment by G. Tyler Miller, Jr., and completing the tasks related to the reading. Most of the tasks involve online discussions related to the reading. To participate in the discussions, you need a Wikispaces account and you must be approved as a member of this wikispace. Go to my home page for instructions about how to do this.

There will be five tasks, each with it's own deadline. There is a separate web page devoted to explaining each task of the summer work. The following table provides a summary.
Task: Website
Point Value
1: AreaIIA
2015-07-11 23:59
reading, notes
2: AreaIIB
2015-07-18 23:59
reading, notes, discussions
3: AreaIIC
2015-07-25 23:59
reading, notes, discussions
4: AreaIID
2015-08-01 23:59
reading, notes, discussions
5: AreaIIE
2015-08-08 23:59
reading, notes, discussions

Due dates
For bookwork other than discussions, I will grade either of the following:
  • a hard copy of your work. (hard copies are more likely to receive comments and corrections). Keep in mind that if you are submitting hard copies, the High School Office actually closes a little bit before 11:59 p.m., so plan ahead! If you send your work by mail, please direct it to the attention of Mr. Klein.
  • an electronic copy of your work provided (1) your first or last name is included in the file names; (2) no file is larger than 1 MB; (3) the formats are cross-platform compatible; and (4) the submission is not a photograph of your work.
    • Electronic submissions might not receive comments or corrections (because I will not print your work)
    • I might require an electronic copy of your work so that I can check it at, so be sure to save electronic copies of all of your work.
If you need to make special arrangements for submitting your work (for instance, if you know you will be out of town), then make alternate arrangements with me at least two weeks before each deadline.

General guidelines
1. Every task must be typed unless stated otherwise.
2. All answers should demonstrate an ability to organize one’s thoughts in an orderly way.
3. Be complete, but do not feel compelled to add flowery language or clever literary devices.


You must participate in online, threaded discussions during the summer.
  • get used to critical discussions of the environment outside of class (which I've found is one of the best ways to learn environmental science)
  • use the internet to learn about environmental issues
  • get accustomed to using this website
  • build a sense of community in the class
  • convince me that you have done the reading
When and how much
I will post discussion questions every week for four weeks beginning no later than Saturday, July 11, and there will be two or three topics each week. You are required to participate in every discussion every week, but if you know you will not have internet access for awhile (like on vacation), please let me know at least two (2) weeks in advance so that we can make alternate arrangements for you to earn points. Discussions will stay open for one week before being locked.
Discussions will focus on important issues relating to Living in the Environment. You will answer questions, ask your own questions, and make comments expressing your opinion. You will *not* have to write essay-length responses to questions or comments. You will also make Cornell notes on the reading. Here is a document explaining how to do that in my science courses:
Your discussions will be evaluated by:
  • the number of posts you make in each discussion topic (minimum 2, including your own initial post and one reply);
  • the amount of your input (you should write about 100 words or more per post - your opinion should certainly take more than just one word or phrase of agreement with the previous statement by your peers);
  • the quality of your input assessed by the relevance to the topic, clarity of understanding the issue and expressing your findings/opinion, depth of knowledge of the subject, exactness and fullness of responses, and language correctness;
  • explicit connections to the reading using in-text citations like this: Miller (2005) found that... or Data suggests that... (Miller, 2005). or Alley (2000) thinks "This is a fairly good approximation of the Greenland ice sheet" (p. 35); lack of references to the reading will result in lower grades;
  • postings made after the due date are not counted;
  • see rubric below.
  • Each week of discussions has its own page. Go to the page where you want to make a post (see links above).
  • Scroll to the bottom of that page to see the discussion questions, and then click the "Add Discussion" bottom to post your own reply. DO NOT REPLY directly to my posts.
  • Give your post a logical title (containing both the subject and your name) like "Discussion 1A - Kurt".
  • Besides answering each discussion question every week, make sure you reply to at least one other person's post on each topic every week; when you reply to someone else's post, you will COMMENT function.
  • If you have questions on how to do any of this, either look to see what others have done, or post a message on THIS page, and I (or your peers) will respond to it.


Discussions (66 points)
Each discussion topic is worth six points (eleven topics total). The following rubric explains how you will be graded on each topic (3 points for your initial post and 3 points for your replies).
Writing competency
Errors in grammar or format frequently obscure expression of thought.
Ineffective wording, sentence structure, and expression.
Some errors in grammar or format occasionally obscure expression of thought. Imprecise use of words and expression.
Minor errors in grammar or format. Acceptable, effective use of words and expression.
Exemplary spelling and grammar. Precise use of words with meaning clearly expressed.
Thinking skills evident: knowledge, comprehension, application, synthesis, evaluation
Basic knowledge level information is presented. Organization is not evident. Interpretation, application, explanation and/or critique are not evident.
Knowledge and comprehension are evident. Organization lacking. Interpretation, application, explanation and/or critique are minimal.
Some higher order thinking is evident. Organization is logical. Links need strengthening. Most ideas are clearly interpreted, applied, explained and/or critiqued. Makes explicit connections to the reading.
Higher order thinking is clearly evident and presented in a clear logical flow. Insightful interpretation, application, explanation, and/or critique. Makes explicit connections to the reading.
Interacts in positive, constructive, timely manner
Contribution is late and therefore not able to add to discussion. Respect of others is lacking.
Contribution is technically on time, but too close to deadline for others to have time to reply or only expresses agreement with discussion topic.
Contributes further thought to discussion in a timely way.
Adds clear insights to ongoing discussion. Asks probing, constructive questions.
I will probably grade you on each of the three categories and then average the result except that earning a 0 in any category will result in a 0 for that discussion.

Cornell notes (34 points)
Cornell notes will be graded according to the following rubric:
There is no header information, or your name is missing.
Header is missing either chapter, section title, or page numbers or header is missing the date.
Header contains chapter, section title, and page numbers.
Cue Column
Nothing is written or drawn in the cue column.
Needs more questions, main ideas, key words, formulas, diagrams, or visuals.
Contains questions, main ideas, key words, important formulas, and diagrams or visuals.
Note-taking Column
Outline is incomplete (or missing) and does not contain all of the main points; no example problems.
Outline is either too detailed or not detailed enough; outline contains example problems
Outline is detailed enough to be useful without being difficult to read; outline contains example problems (for mathematical sections)
Diagrams, visuals, and formulas look hastily made; notes are too disorganized or illegible to read.
Diagrams, visuals, or formulas are incorrect or indiscernible; notes are missing either headings, indents, or space between lines.
Diagrams, visuals, and formulas are clear; notes contain headings, indents, and adequate space between lines.
Summary is missing.
Summary is ambiguous or incorrect or too long or too short.
Summary clearly and succinctly restates the main idea of the assigned section.


The definition of plagiarism might be much broader than you realize. Check out the Purdue OWL page on Avoiding Plagiarism or this page on Types of Plagiarism
If ideas, phrases, sentences, or structures of passages are copied from the internet or from the book and pasted into any essay without giving proper credit for it, that is considered plagiarism. See the Student/Parent Handbook and AP Authorization Contract if you are curious about the consequences of plagiarism.