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Environmental Systems B

Course Description

Environmental Systems B, the second course of a two-semester series, continues the study of the natural world. Students explore environmental issues and make informed decisions using scientific problem solving. Specific topics include characteristics of aquatic biomes, management of water resources, use of mineral resources and effects of mining, renewable and nonrenewable energy resources, atmospheric cycles, climate change, and sustainability.

Course Organization

Modules. The Modules are practice assignments. Each Module is a non-graded exercise that allows you to build your knowledge and identify your strengths and weaknesses.
Graded Assignments. Graded Assignments are the tasks you will submit to your instructor for a grade. Each assignment contains specific information about how your work will be assessed and how credit will be given for your responses. The average of your assignments will count for 75 percent of your course grade.

Course Objectives

Upon completing of this course, you will be able to:

  • describe the water cycle and the processes involved;
  • compare aquatic biomes in regard to the characteristics that affect them;
  • identify water resources and discuss how we use water;
  • evaluate the impact of water pollution on aquatic viability and methods of conservation;
  • explain the impact of geologic forces on ecosystems and the rock cycle;
  • identify sources of mineral resources and the consequences of mining;
  • identify renewable and nonrenewable energy resources and compare their costs and benefits;
  • describe how energy is used and discuss methods for energy conservation;
  • describe the cycles within the atmosphere related to climate and storms;
  • identify the causes and consequences of atmospheric issues such as global warming, acid precipitation, and ozone depletion;
  • examine impacts of human population trends on global resources;
  • define sustainability and identify sustainable practices; and
  • determine the historical contributions of environmental scientists.

Final Examination

The final examination is comprehensive; it covers the material from all of the units. To pass the course, you must receive a grade of 70 percent or better. You can apply to take the Final Exam after 100 percent of your graded assignments have been submitted, and at least 70 percent have been graded and returned to you.
Format: Objective
Time Allowed: 3 hours

Course Outline

Total Number of Units: 6
Total Number of Activities: 29
Total Number of Graded Assignments: 26

Unit 1: The Hydrosphere
Module 1: Water Resources and the Water Cycle
Module 2: Virtual Lab: The Water Cycle Gizmo
Module 3: Characteristics of Aquatic Ecosystems
Module 4: Freshwater Ecosystems
Module 5: Marine Ecosystems
Graded Assignment 1: Water Resources and the Water Cycle
Graded Assignment 2: Characteristics of Aquatic Ecosystems
Graded Assignment 3: Freshwater and Marine Ecosystems
Graded Assignment 4: The Hydrosphere Unit Test

Unit 2: Water Use, Pollution, and Conservation
Module 1: Water Use
Module 2: Aquatic Ecosystem Degradation and Water Pollution
Module 3: Virtual Lab: Water Pollution Gizmo
Module 4: Water Treatment
Module 5: Water Management and Conservation
Graded Assignment 1: Water Use
Graded Assignment 2: Water Pollution
Graded Assignment 3: Water Treatment, Management, and Conservation
Graded Assignment 4: Water Use, Pollution, and Conservation Unit Test

Unit 3: The Geosphere and Mineral Resources
Module 1: The Geosphere
Module 2: Virtual Lab: Plate Tectonics Gizmo
Module 3: Geography and the Environment
Module 4: Virtual Lab: Reading Topographical Maps Gizmo
Module 5: Mineral Resources and Mining
Graded Assignment 1: The Geosphere
Graded Assignment 2: Geography and the Environment
Graded Assignment 3: Mineral Resources and Mining
Graded Assignment 4: The Geosphere and Mineral Resources Unit Test

Environmental Systems B Midterm Exam
This Midterm Exam counts as a graded assignment and does not need to be taken at a testing center.

Unit 4: Energy Resources
Module 1: Energy Use
Module 2: Nonrenewable Energy Resources
Module 3: Renewable Energy Resources
Module 4: Energy Security and Conservation
Graded Assignment 1: Energy Use
Graded Assignment 2: Nonrenewable and Renewable Energy Resources
Graded Assignment 3: Energy Security and Conservation
Graded Assignment 4: Energy Resources Unit Test

Unit 5: Atmosphere and Climate
Module 1: The Atmosphere and the Greenhouse Effect
Module 2: Climate
Module 3: Air Pollution
Module 4: Global Atmospheric Issues
Module 5: Virtual Lab: Greenhouse Effect Gizmo
Graded Assignment 1: The Atmosphere and the Greenhouse Effect
Graded Assignment 2: Climate
Graded Assignment 3: Air Pollution and Global Atmospheric Issues
Graded Assignment 4: Atmosphere and Climate Unit Test

Unit 6: Sustainability
Module 1: Ecological Footprint
Module 2: Ecological Footprint Activity
Module 3: Sustainable Growth and Development
Module 4: Your Sustainable Lifestyle
Module 5: Making a Difference
Graded Assignment 1: Ecological Footprint
Graded Assignment 2: Ecological Footprint Activity
Graded Assignment 3: Sustainable Growth and Development
Graded Assignment 4: How Can I Make a Difference?
Graded Assignment 5: Sustainability Unit Test

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