Instructor:  Jennifer Gentry PhD



Materials Provided                                 Other Required Materials

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WEB 7th Environmental Science

COURSE SYLLABUS                                                   2017-2018



This course is designed to give students a detailed look at the field of Environmental Science.  The materials and activities in the course come from a variety of sources, but thematic structure of the course is based on the Annenberg Foundation’s “Habitable Planet” curriculum, a high school curriculum intended for students taking the AP Environmental Science Placement Exam.  While the course does not attempt to cover the depth or breadth of material in the Habitable Planet, following the structure of the course is intended to expose students to a variety of topics within this broad field.  


Specific goals of the course are to:

  • help students to look at the world around them with an observant eye so that they can identify questions or problems that are interesting to them.
  • build confidence in their ability to seek out their own answers to those questions and problems through competency in scientific methodology.
  • introduce students to specific areas of current scientific study within the broad and diverse field of environmental sciences.
  • empower students to participate in solutions by being informed about the problems and introducing them to ways that they can actively participate in solutions as citizen scientists or through their exploring their own research ideas.


Homework & Class Communication:

Students will be invited to our google classroom via email and the google classroom will be used to post assignments.  Homework will be posted by the end of WEB each Wednesday and is expected to take 3-4 hours/week. Students should be able to complete most assignments independently, which will include weekly reading (some given as class handouts and some online), videos, as well as writing assignments and/or lab activities.  The google classroom will also provide an opportunity for students to communicate with me throughout the week as well as with one another.  Note:  This is my first time using google classroom, and while I’ve heard great things about it from other teachers I’m sure that some patience will be required as we get started.  

Writing Assignments: 

Writing is a critical form of communication, but being able to write about science in a way that is understandable to the public has become a critical issue of our time.  Students will begin by learning to create sentences utilizing vocabulary words.  We will have several in class writing assignments and written portions of lab activities as a regular part of the homework.  As part of the first semester exam, students will write a persuasive essay on biodiversity.  In the second semester, a more extensive informative essay will be written on one of several topics related to the causes and effects of climate change.

Lab Activities & Projects: 

Lab activities are designed to progress through the school year from a focus on observational skills to deeper inquiry and analysis skills needed to draw conclusions from scientific data.  At the core, all projects are designed to develop a deep understanding of the scientific method, not as an abstract concept, but a a series of tools that students can utilize along with their own creativity to explore and solve problems in the world around them.  There will be at least one project or lab for each unit.



General Rules:

It is our highest priority to provide a safe environment for kids to explore science.  To ensure that we also have a productive learning environment, students bringing cell phones to class should keep them put away inside a backpack or other bag unless the teacher requests it out for a specific reason.  To provide an emotionally safe environment for the students, we expect all members of the class to treat one another respectfully, understanding that we are all individuals with different interests and strengths and that we all have an opportunity to benefit from that diversity.

Grading Policies:

Attendance and grades will be recorded.  Effort will be the primary requirement for ultimate success in the class.  Parents will be notified if assignments are not completed or if a student’s grades are consistently below average.  Parents and students are always welcome to contact me for updates on the progress of a student’s development.

Office Hours:

Please make an appointment in advance for office hours and I am more than happy to assist parents and students that may need some extra help to get the most out of the class.  If more extensive assistance is required we can assist parents in finding a tutor.



Students and parents are encouraged to contact me directly with any questions or concerns. 

Jennifer Gentry

B.S. Chemistry; Ph.D. Neuroscience