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David Stevens

oceanography syllabus





Course Description:    The Physical Oceanography course is an activity based introduction class in Physical Oceanography. The course is designed by the Hawaii Marine Science Studies Program at the University of Hawaii. The text book, The Fluid Earth, explores the physics, chemistry, and geology of the oceans and applications in ocean engineering and related technologies. The second text, Oceanography by Tom Garrison, is a higher level text which goes into detail in these subjects and will be used for additional reading assignments and to add depth to the subjects covered.



Course Outline:    The Physical Oceanography course is divided into four sections which will be covered in the four quarters of the school year. During the first quarter the Earth and the ocean basins will be explored. Students will construct two and three dimensional models of landforms and seafloor features, construct models of maps, and are introduced to plate tectonics. In the second quarter students will study waves and coastlines. In this section students will simulate idealized waves in the laboratory and analyze and relate these waves to observed waves, tides, and other beach phenomena. In the second semester, first quarter, students will study classic physical oceanography, including physical properties of seawater: density, salinity, pressure, and temperature. After developing an understanding of these physical characteristics students will apply them to understand ocean currents and ocean circulation patterns. During the last quarter of the year and as time permits students will study chemical oceanography. In this section students will explore the chemical properties of water and seawater and use their understanding of the subject to investigate the water cycle, acid rain, the greenhouse effect, water pollution, and marine debris. Marine transportation, marine economics, and diving technology, as well as local and international current events will be fit into the curriculum where applicable.





Parents can reach me at the school at (562) 425-1281 ext. 3254 or e-mail me at  The best way to contact me is through e-mail as I check my mail periodically throughout the day. This year (2015-16) my preparation period will be period 6 (from 1:46 to 2:40) and I will return calls and respond to e-mail and schedule appointments during this period and before and after school.










The following percentages will be used to assign letter grades:


90-100%         = A

80-90%           = B

70-80%           = C

60-70%           = D

Below 60%      = F


Points earned for assignments will be placed into one of the following four categories. Each category is weighted by the following percentage.


Class work       40%

Assessments     30%

Homework       20%

Participation     10%


Total grade       100%


The 40% of your grade which comes from the class work section of the grade includes classroom written assignments, laboratory investigations, in class construction projects and activities like graphs, diagrams, art projects, etc.


Assessments (tests, quizzes, final exam, etc.) count for 30% of the overall grade but the points assigned to each individual assessment will vary somewhat depending on the amount of material covered and the number of questions on that assessment.


Homework counts for 20% of the overall grade and will consist of a variety of written assignments. Most homework is worth 5 to 10 points per assignment. Included in the homework section of the grade is the requirement that all course work generated during each semester is re-submitted at the end of each semester for a grade. This work must be contained in some type of folder and is due on the day of the mid-term exam for the first semester and the final exam day for the second semester.


Participation points will be assigned periodically during the semester and account for 10% of the overall grade. Students in class engaged and participating in the class activities typically earn these points -  however, students may lose points by sleeping in class, refusing to contribute in group activities, engaging in off-topic conversations, repeatedly using cell phones in class or applying make-up,  having multiple truancies or  suspensions, failure to bring required materials to class, etc. These actions are not consistent with acceptable class participation and will result in a lower participation score.


I reserve the right to amend or modify this policy at any time.




Students are expected to bring a pencil and paper to class every day as well as a positive attitude toward learning and your fellow students. Do not disrupt the beginning of class by asking all who sit near you to borrow pencil, paper, etc. Come to class prepared, it is the first and foremost way you show that you are prepared to participate.


Students are expected to pay attention to lectures, discussions, and be engaged in the class activities. My expectations are that students will listen carefully and follow instructions and stay in their seats unless there is a compelling reason to be somewhere else in the room. Students are not allowed behind the instructor’s desk or in cabinets and files. Please respect the plants, animals, and other student’s possessions in the classroom.


I expect students not to be sleeping or have their head down during class time. Eating anything in class is prohibited – including gum. Cell phones must be turned off in class and put away. In an emergency your parent or guardian may call the office and they will contact you. No personal music devices will be allowed in the class. No exceptions. Devices will be confiscated and turned in to the office. All purses, backpacks, etc. must be kept on the floor by your desk, not on tabletops or on your lap.


You will be assigned textbook(s) that you will keep at home. At the end of the year they must be turned back in to the bookroom or you will be fined for their loss. You must turn in the same texts that you were issued, as no other ones will clear your obligation.


If you are absent it is your responsibility to clear the absence. If the absence is not cleared within 5 school days it becomes a truant absence. Multiple truancies will negatively impact your grade.


Late work is only accepted if the student clears the absence with the attendance office. Students have the number of days they were absent plus 1 day to submit late work. Otherwise I do not want to support students procrastinating by accepting late work. Look online at school loop for the work you missed during an absence or ask me about it upon your return.


Students should use restrooms during passing period. If you find you must go to the restroom during class you must ask first and then take a pass. Unreasonably frequent visits to the restroom or extended stays there will result in the loss of your privilege to go.


Students conduct many activities and projects in this class. If you conduct yourself in an unsafe manner you will be removed from the activity and receive a 0 for the assignment. Student safety is of paramount importance in this classroom.


Except for the mid-term and the final any test a student does poorly on can be taken again for a grade not to exceed a C (70 %). It will be a different test and it must be taken with-in one week. See me for the details about this policy.







Students should enter and exit the room by the north door only in an orderly manner. Do not wait outside or in the doorway until the bell rings. You will be sent to OCS. I expect students to be within the classroom setting when the tardy bell rings. If your not – you’re late, and late students will be sent to OCS.


No food, gum, or drinks are allowed in the class with the exception of water. I do not expect to see students reading magazines or putting on make-up or on their phone in class. Keep these items in your purse or backpack on the floor. Students are here to learn and these items will be confiscated.


Watch your manners – keep your hands to yourself, respect others space, belongings, and opinions, and raise your hand to speak. Disrupting the instructor or others when they are speaking or presenting to the group is not acceptable behavior. Foul language and bullying will not be tolerated. Practice the golden rule and be respectful of others.


At the end of class I will excuse students to go, the bell does not excuse you. No students leave until the room is orderly and equipment is returned to its proper place.


Never throw anything in the class room. Another student could be hurt, possibly seriously and throwing anything will not be tolerated.


Penalties for not following these class behavior expectations vary, but typically (not always) start with a warning. Dangerous behavior for example, may result immediately with a referral to an administrator. A typical repeated violation incurs a 30 minute detention, loss of participation points, and eventually calls to parents and referrals to administrators.


Tests are to show students mastery of the material. Any student caught cheating on a test or copying another student’s work will receive a 0 grade. No exceptions.


I reserve the right to modify or add to these rules at any time.

David Stevens Locker