Earth Science Syllabus

Why Earth Science? Because we live on Earth!

Whenever you get caught in a rainstorm or look up at the stars and wonder, that’s Earth Science. The primary goal of this course is to help you understand the planet you live on, while developing critical-thinking and problem solving skills.


Contact Information for Ms. Miller:

School phone: (607) 467- 2197                  Best way to reach me:

Website:                   School email:        


My Philosophy:

Smart people ask questions! The asking and answering of questions will drive this course. I expect all of my students to ask appropriate questions. I encourage parents to ask questions; please do not hesitate to contact me.


Extra Help:

I encourage students to seek assistance whenever they need it. I am available most days after school.


Materials needed for this class:

·      3-ring binder (~ 2”)

·      Something to write with that you and I will both be able to read and a pencil for labs

Optional, but helpful

·      Highlighters or crayons

·      Four function or scientific calculator

What you will learn:

  At the end of this course you will be able to answer the following essential questions:

·      What makes a good model?

·      How do we know what we know?

·      How can recognizing and understanding feedback and patterns help you figure out what’s going on in the Earth System?

·      Why does the Earth look the way it does?

·      How do I fit in with all of Earth’s parts?

·      How has the Earth changed over time?  (What does the evolution of life have to do with that?) 

·      How does the past help us predict the future?



Behavioral Expectations:


1.     Anticipate – to be aware of what will happen and take action to be prepared

a.     Arrive on time with your ES binder, a pen and a pencil.

b.     Unless otherwise noted, homework and labs are due the next day.

c.     Take care of personal needs before or after class.

2.     Participate – to take part in

a.     Complete all written assignments and notes.

b.     Ask, listen to and answer questions from both students and the teacher.

c.     Be an active member of any group.

3.     Cooperate – to work toward the same goal

a.     Be respectful and maintain a positive attitude

b.     Follow all instructions

c.     Speak at appropriate times, using appropriate language

Consequences for not meeting expectations

1.     Verbal warning – three strikes and then I decide which of the following applies based on the circumstance.

2.     Lunch/after school detention – assigned to any student who does not change their behavior. Students misbehaving will be will be required to write an apology for their behavior to injured parties.

3.     Call/email home – students continuing to misbehave will receive a call/email home at the teacher’s earliest convenience.

4.     Referral – students who choose to continue to misbehave after being given detention (or choose not to come to detention) will have a referral written. Severe disruptions will result in an immediate referral.

5.     Removal from class – students who are interfering with the learning of other students will be sent to the principal.


Assignments and Grading:

You will succeed in Earth Science if you attend class, complete your assignments, seek help when you are experiencing difficulty and exhibit a positive attitude.

Grades will be posted weekly by ID number.

1.     Labs = 30%

Laboratory experiment is considered an essential part of the science program. According to the New York State Education Department for entry into a Regents examination a student must complete a minimum of 1200 minutes of hands-on lab with satisfactory lab reports. At least a 65% must be earned on the lab report in order to be deemed “satisfactory”.

Students must follow the following rules in the lab, failure to do so will result in a 0% on the lab.

a.     Conduct yourself in a responsible manner at all times in the laboratory. Never fool around in the laboratory. Work areas should be kept clean and tidy at all times.

b.     Follow all written and verbal instructions carefully. If you do not understand a direction or part of a procedure, ask the instructor before proceeding.

c.     When first entering a science room, do not touch any equipment, chemicals, or other materials in the laboratory area until you are instructed to do so.

d.     Do not eat food, drink beverages, or chew gum in the laboratory. Do not use laboratory glassware as containers for food or beverages.

e.     Be alert and proceed with caution at all times in the laboratory. Notify the instructor immediately of any unsafe conditions you observe. Report any accident (spill, breakage, etc.) or injury (cut, burn, etc.) to the instructor immediately, no matter how trivial it may appear.

f.      Experiments must be personally monitored at all times. You will be assigned a laboratory station at which to work. Do not wander around the room, distract other students, or interfere with the laboratory experiments of others.

2.     Unit Tests = 40%

3.     Classwork/Homework = 30%

You should expect homework nearly every night. Homework often includes finishing labs and/or class work you did not finish, so use your class time wisely.


iPods in the Classroom:

Students will be using iPods from my classroom set for a variety of purposes. Students may not leave the room while using iPods, except in case of emergency. If your student has a medical condition that requires them to leave the room, please let me know.


I am happy to install the primary app we use on any iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad or Android device. Please note that if students opt to use their own device, neither the school nor I are responsible for it. If students are caught using apps on their own device that are not relevant to class, I will confiscate the device.