• Updated: 7/29/2022

    Course Description:

    Environmental science is a field of science that integrates physical, biological, and chemical sciences to study the environment and the relationship between man-made and natural resources and processes. This is an applied lab science based on experimentation and observation.  Students are expected to solve environmental problems that relate to resource depletion, pollution, extinction, and more. 


    Suggested Materials: Some sort of paper in an organized binder for which notes can be written and kept for frequent reference. A way to organize and keep handouts, pen and pencil and a basic function calculator are essential materials to have access to. If you have any issues obtaining these materials, contact me immediately.


    Course Standards:

    By the time the student completes the course of study he or she will be able to:

    • Develop and use models of the Earth that explains the role of energy and matter in Earth's constantly changing internal and external systems (geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere).
    • Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
    • Obtain, evaluate and communicate about the positive and negative ethical, social, economic and political implications of human activity on the biodiversity of an ecosystem.
    • Construct an explanation of the origin, expansion, and scale of the universe based on astronomical evidence
    • Construct an explanation based on evidence to illustrate the role of nuclear fusion in the life cycle of a star.
    • Construct an explanation of how gravitational forces impact the evolution of planetary motion, structure, surfaces, atmospheres, moons and rings.
    • Evaluate explanations and theories about the role of energy and matter in geologic changes over time.
    • Construct an explanation for a field’s strength and influence on an object (electric, gravitational, magnetic).
    • Collect, analyze and interpret data regarding the change in motion of an object or system in one dimension, to construct an explanation using Newton’s Laws.
    • Use mathematics and computational thinking to explain how Newton’s laws are used in engineering and technologies to create products to serve human ends.
    • Construct an explanation about the relationship among the frequency, wavelength and speed of waves traveling in various media and their applications to modern technology.
    • Analyze and interpret data to determine how energy from the Sun affects weather patterns and climate.
    • Engage in argument from evidence about the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, changes in climate, and human activity and how they influence each other.
    • Develop and use models to explain the relationship of structure of atoms to patterns and properties observed in the periodic table and describe how these models are revised with new evidence.
    • Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about how the use of chemistry related technologies have had positive and negative ethical, social, economic, and/or political implications.
    • Engage in argument from evidence regarding the ethical, social, economic and/or political implications of current energy sources.
    • Develop and use models that show how changes in the transfer of matter and energy within an ecosystem and interactions between species may affect organisms and their environment.
    • Evaluate the evidence for the role of relationships among organisms on individuals chances to survive and reproduce.
    • Engage in argument from evidence regarding the ethical, social, economic and/or political implications of a current genetic technology.
    • Engage in argument from evidence the disadvantages and advantages of different methods of waste disposal.
    • Engage in argument from evidence regarding the ethical, social, economic and/or political implications of current agricultural methods.


    Classroom Expectations: In addition to strictly following the DVUSD "Students Rights and Responsibilities Handbook, I expect the following to occur in my classroom:

    1. Be There – It is important that you are in class regularly and on time. Not only should you physically be in class but also mentally.  Students should take advantage of time with the instructor to pay attention and ask questions as needed.  Make sure you come prepared for class with supplies and assignments done such as notes, reading, pre-lab etc.  If you are not prepared for class you may not be able to participate in the activity that day which will impact your success in class.
    2. Choose your attitude – You have no control over the things that other people do. You only have control over your reactions.  Make a conscious effort to have a positive attitude.  It is not always easy but if you are aware that only you can control your mood every day can be a great day.
    3. No food or drinks in the classroom – We might be using substances that may contaminate what you put in your mouth. This is for your own health and safety.
    4. Listen and participate- A lot of the learning for this class takes place when I am talking with you or you are collaborating in your groups! So, please be sure to truly and actively listen and when appropriate, participate.
    5. Don’t procrastinate-Study what was done in class for 20 minutes (minimum) PER DAY and start any homework as soon as you can after school before you are tired, etc. You will find that the pace of the class is very quick and if you put things off you will have a hard time keeping up. If you stay on top of the workload, learning will come more easily for this challenging class you have chosen to undertake!
    6. Get Additional Help (tutoring) ASAP: In addition to the Academic Prep times built into our schedule each week, additional assistance/tutoring is provided on a weekly basis both by MRHS and individually by me. My weekly availability will be posted in the classroom at the start of each week. I will demonstrate to the students how to find availability each week. I also encourage your son/daughter to write down my availability each week in their Mountain Ridge planner (provided by the school) so that you too are aware of my weekly availability.


    Grading: Total grades will be calculated using 4 areas: bell work, homework checks, classwork/labs, and assessments (both quizzes and exams). Daily bell work, classwork (including homework and labs), and homework checks will each make up 10% of the total grade individually. Assessments make up 70% of the student’s total grade.


    The percentages will be rounded to the nearest whole number, a 79.5% will be rounded to an 80% and a 79.4% will be rounded to a 79%. 


    Grading Scale:

    90% – 100%  = A

    80% – 89%  = B

    70% – 79%  =  C

    60% – 69%  = D  

    59% or below = F


    Power Schools On-line Access: Grades and attendance may be accessed 24 hours a day online with your Power School access code. Access codes are available in the Administration front office Monday – Friday 7:00 – 3:30. You must provide picture ID to be issued a code. MRHS also offers a guest computer and log-in for Power Schools, available in the Counseling office for parent/guardian. In an effort to conserve resources and harness the capacity of our electronic grade reporting program (described above), district schools will no longer print hard copies of report cards unless requested by individual parents. To request a hard copy of your student’s report card, please contact the front office at 623-376-3000.  In accordance with school policy there will be no extra credit available.


    Policies and Procedures

    • Homework assignments on paper are collected at the beginning of class. A majority of the assignments in this course will be submitted digitally via Canvas. Those assignments will be due by 7:30am on the due date. Assignments are not accepted via email, canvas message, Remind or any other method. Digital assignments must be submitted to Canvas for credit.
    • All assignments are given a due date appropriate to the work. A zero is filled in once the due date has passed in the gradebook as a placeholder. Although assignments can be turned in after that date, the point of any assignment is to expose students to content and help them obtain mastery of that content through timely practice so that they are successful on high stakes final exams. Not completing assignments as assigned and submitting them late hurts the student’s abilities to achieve mastery as they may go into assessments without feedback and practice.  Having late work also causes students to have to play "catch up" which causes additional stress on the student.
    • Communication is very important in this class and every other. The primary mode of communication for this class is Canvas Inbox and should be used when contacting your teacher. It is also a good idea to remember when your teacher is likely able to return your messages. Do not wait until the weekend to reach out with a question that you need answered promptly, as they may not see your message until Monday morning. Likewise, do not message late at night because you will not receive a response until the next day. Communicating efficiently and promptly with your instructor is a key component to your success in this class.
    • For all summative assessments, students will be allowed one retake per assessment as long as the student was present and took the original exam. No retake is available for students who miss the scheduled/announced exam and are taking a make-up test (there is no retest for a make-up test).
    • Students who are absent the day before a scheduled/announced assessment are expected to take the assessment as scheduled/announced the following day or following ACAPrep.
    • Mountain Ridge students have within the current unit of study to turn in assigned work for full credit. However, students will have a minimum of a week to turn in assignments from the assigned due date even if the unit is completed. The unit of study is established by the teacher and the Department on campus. A unit of study in this course is defined by the modules in Canvas.
    • Use of supplemental resources on any assessments is not permitted unless explicitly allowed prior to the assessment by your teacher.
    • On occasion, in order to re-enforce content mastery, PG and PG-13 science based video clips and science based instructional videos will be shown.


    Absences: After an absence, a student has one school day for each day missed to make up work/tests, regardless of the number of days absent. If many days were missed, please schedule an appointment with me to formulate a plan for the completion of make-up work. Make-up work for extended absences (over 3 days) may be requested through the Counseling Office and picked up there. 


    Late Assignments Policy:  Mountain Ridge students have within the current unit of study to turn in assigned work for full credit, as determined by the teacher, level, and department on campus. The length of the unit of study and due dates will be clearly communicated to students by the teacher through the modules in Canvas. All assignments will close 1 week after the end of the lesson quiz. No assignments will be accepted after this date.


    Classwork Policy: In-class assignments may be due by the end of the class period. Printed in-class work should be turned in through designated trays in the classroom.


    Plagiarism and Cheating: Plagiarism is the use of someone else’s work and reporting it as your own, or the giving of your work to another student to use as their own. Both instances are considered cheating and will not be tolerated. Any assignments that are plagiarized, or copied will not be accepted and the student using the copied work as well as the original author of the work (if the cheating is “peer to peer”) will both receive a zero for the assignment and may both face additional consequences at the school level in accordance with the MRHS Student Handbook.  There are also strict “no talking” and “no technology access” during all assessment (tests, quizzes and final exam). Any violation of these policies, regardless of the reasons/motives will result in the assessment being confiscated and a score of zero entered into the grade-book on the assessment. In addition, consequences at the school level may also occur in accordance with the MRHS Student handbook.


    Daily Device Use (iPads)

    Students should come to school with their iPads charged and ready to use in each class every day.  Within each classroom, there are three possible technology environments. Teachers will identify for students the environment expected during their class period.

    Devices may not be used to record or take photos of other people without their consent.  Consequences for classroom disruptions and misuse of devices will follow a progressive discipline model, beginning with a phone call home and progressing to office referrals for repeated or more serious offenses. Students who have devices out during a Red environment or during testing, may lose credit on their test or quiz.  See the Student Rights and Responsibilities consequence chart in the handbook for more specific descriptions of infractions and consequences.


    MRHS Laboratory Breakage Policy

    The Mountain Ridge Science Department has a policy regarding the damage or breakage of laboratory equipment. In the event a student breaks any laboratory materials, that student will be responsible for paying the replacement cost of each item. A complete list of all laboratory materials and their costs are posted in each classroom.  The students are taught proper procedures and laboratory etiquette to ensure the safety of our students during lab activities. This policy helps hold the students accountable for their actions and reinforces careful laboratory procedures.

    The Deer Valley Unified School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities.  For any inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies, contact the DVUSD District Office, 20402 N 15th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85027 (623) 445-500