Course Description: (as per The College Board)
The AP Environmental Science course is designed to be the equivalent of a one-semester, introductory college course in environmental science. Unlike most other college introductory-level science course, environmental science is offered from a wide variety of departments in college. Depending on the department offering the course, different emphases are placed on various topics. Some courses are rigorous courses that stress scientific principles and analysis, and often include a laboratory component; other courses emphasize the study of environmental issues from a sociological or political perspective rather than traditional science. The AP Environmental Science course has been developed to be most like the former; as such it is intended to enable students to undertake, as first-year college students a more advanced study of topics in environmental science or alternatively, to fulfill a basic requirement for a laboratory science and thus free time for taking other courses.
The AP Environmental Science course is to provide students with the scientific principles, concepts and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and human-made, to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving and/or preventing them.
Environmental Science is interdisciplinary; it embraces a wide variety of topics from different areas of study. Yet there are several major unifying constructs, or themes, that cut across the many topics included in the study of environmental science. The following themes provide a foundation for the structure of the AP Environmental Science course.
1. Science is a process
2. Energy conversions underlie all ecological processes
3. The Earth itself is one interconnected system
4. Humans alter natural systems
5. Environmental problems have a cultural and social context
6. Human survival depends on developing practices that will achieve sustainable systems
Students who take AP Environmental Science are expected to have had biology and chemistry, both laboratory sciences. Students should also have a good understanding of algebra and some introductory calculus (i.e., limits and functions)
PART I: HUMANS AND SUSTAINABILITY: AN OVERVIEW.
1. Environmental Problems, Their Causes, and Sustainability.
PART II: SCIENCE, ECOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES, AND SUSTAINABILITY.
2. Science, Matter, Energy, and Systems.
3. Ecosystems: What Are They and How Do They Work?
4. Biodiversity and Evolution.
5. Biodiversity, Species Interactions, and Population Control.
6. The Human Population and Its Impact.
7. Climate and Biodiversity.
8. Aquatic Biodiversity.
PART III: SUSTAINING BIODIVERSITY.
9. Sustaining Biodiversity: The Species Approach.
10. Sustaining Terrestrial Biodiversity: The Ecosystem Approach.
11. Sustaining Aquatic Biodiversity.
PART IV: SUSTAINING NATURAL RESOURCES.
12. Food, Soil, and Pest Management.
13. Water Resources.
14. Geology and Nonrenewable Minerals.
15. Nonrenewable Energy.
16. Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
PART V: SUSTAINING ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY.
17. Environmental Hazards and Human Health.
18. Air Pollution.
19. Climate Disruption and Ozone Depletion.
20. Water Pollution.
21. Solid and Hazardous Waste.
22. Sustainable Cities.
PART VI: SUSTAINING HUMAN SOCIETIES.
23. Economics, Environment, and Sustainability.
24. Politics, Environment, and Sustainability.
25. Environmental Worldviews, Ethics, and Sustainability.
Unit Exams – 60%
(Homework/Classwork)-based weekly assessments – 25%
Projects/Field Study/Class participation/Labs/Practicals – 15%