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Course Description:          Ecology


Teacher:                       Mrs. Kerr


Text:                             Various Handouts and portions of Aldo Leopold’s Sand County Almanac


Credit:                          40 Weeks –1 unit credit


I.    Course Description and General Expectations of Students


            The student will explore the relationship between human activity and the environment.  Students should have an understanding of scientific concepts and the interactions between the living and non-components of the environment.  Successful completion of Regents Biology is considered a prerequisite.  Students will learn to the effective communicators and collaborative contributors by working together on various projects throughout the course.  Students will learn to speak in scientifically appropriate terms and present results to the class in a professional manner.  Students will also learn to effectively communicate their environmental knowledge to others during the environmental interpretation unit at the end of the course.  A choice of long-term stewardship projects will be given to the students.  Success on these projects will depend on the students’ ability to plan and effectively set and achieve long term goals.  Students will be challenged to think creatively and critically throughout the various projects and assignments during the course.  Quality original work in this course is rewarded with high grades.  High quality work will be encouraged too by allowing students to select stewardship projects that are of individual interest.


II.   A Note to Students

            It is my hope that this will be an exciting and fun course; unlike any other you have taken in your high school career.  In order to make your experience in this class a successful one, I have a few classroom guidelines that all students will follow.

            A.  Class room Protocol

            1)   Be on time to class.

            2)   When you see that I am ready to start class, please cease all talking.

            3)   Late assignments are not accepted without a very good excuse (medical                      emergencies, family emergencies, etc.)  A LEGAL absence is a valid excuse and            any assignment or exams should be made up upon returning to school.            Individual situations can be discussed with me. 

            4)   It is very important that I have your complete cooperation during class, especially when we are outside during the forestry unit.

            5)  For safety reasons, there is no eating or drinking in the science classroom.

            6)  I will follow the school cell phone use policy strictly in my classroom. 


            B.  Materials

            1)   Folder for handouts, notebook.

            2)   Pencil or pen.




            Students who have been absent should see me upon return to class to determine what work needs to be made up.  Quizzes, tests, labs, homework and other classwork must be made up within 3 class days or the student will receive a zero for the assignment.   Often the student will make up a quiz or test upon returning to class the following day unless I do not want the student to miss the class that day. 


Exceptions:  I understand that individual circumstances may prevent students from meeting the above guidelines.  Exceptions may be granted only when the student contacts me in person and explains the situation to me before the assignment is DUE or the three day period has passed. 



            Example 1.  Student misses a lab activity on Monday.  The student must make up the lab activity by Thursday activity period in order to not receive a zero grade for the assignment. 


            Example 2.  Student is absent for a quiz on a Friday.  The student is absent on the following Monday also.  The student must take the quiz by Wednesday or speak with me individually to get an extension before Wednesday afternoon.  Also, I may ask the student to take the quiz on Tuesday during class if they did not miss any notes. 


            Example 3.  Student is absent on a Tuesday, when an assignment is due.  The student must turn in the assignment the first day he/she is back to school.   


            Students who will be absent for reasons known in advance should see the teacher as far in advance of the absence as possible to make arrangements to complete work before they leave if possible.  Students absent for one day during a unit are still required to take the unit quiz unless they are given specific permission by the teacher.  A student who comes to school late on a particular day and misses class should see the teacher that day to hand in work due or to take any missed quizzes or tests.  REMINDER TO STUDENTS:  Missing just a few days can cause a student to be behind the rest of the class.  I am, of course, available to help students get back on track but it is always best to miss as few classes as possible.  Also, activity period is for making up assignments and getting extra help. 


Late assignments:  Late assignments are not accepted for credit.   Often, information on the assignments will be given in class given students who turn in the assignment late an unfair advantage.  The only way an assignment may be turned in late is if you receive permission directly from me before the assignment is due. 





Grade Calculation: 


            For your marking period grade, a total points system will be used.  Most tests will be worth 100 points, assignments will be worth up to 100 points depending on the difficulty and amount of time it is expected to complete the work. 


            For you final grade calculation MP 1-4 will count for 75% of your course grade with the final exam counting as the remaining 25%. 


            Your final exam will be composed of at least 2 individual long-term assignments that will be given to you at the beginning of marking period 3. 



III.  Topics Outline


            A.  Ecology and Conservation History


            B.  Forestry


            C.  Wildlife


            D.  Aquatics


            E.  Soils


            F.  Current Issue



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Lynda Quick
45 East Elizabeth Street
Skaneateles, NY 13152