AP Environmental Science

This site is dedicated to developing and locating resources for students taking AP Environmental Science. It is created by the collaborative effort of teacher and students and is thus considered a wiki. The goal of this site is to continue beyond the scope of this course to help yourself and future students.

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Course Description:

The AP Environmental Science course is designed to be the equivalent of a one-semester, introductory college course in environmental science. Successful completion of the AP Environmental Science exam in can lead to Introductory science or elective credit at the college or university you choose to attend. Due to the scope of the course and the wide variety of departments in which environmental studies is offered at colleges and universities, students need to confer with each school upon applying to see which courses may be offered for credit.

Course Objectives: 

The goal of 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 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. 1. Science is a process. 
    • Science is a method of learning more about the world. 
    • Science constantly changes the way we understand the world. 
  2. Energy conversions underlie all ecological processes. 
    • Energy cannot be created; it must come from somewhere. 
    • As energy flows through systems, at each step more of it becomes unusable. 
  3. The Earth itself is one interconnected system. 
    • Natural systems change over time and space. 
    • Biogeochemical systems vary in ability to recover from disturbances. 
  4. Humans alter natural systems. 
    • Humans have had an impact on the environment for millions of years. 
    • Technology and population growth have enabled humans to increase both the rate and scale of their impact on the environment. 
  5. Environmental problems have a cultural and social context. 
    • Understanding the role of cultural, social, and economic factors is vital to the development of solutions. 
  6. Human survival depends on developing practices that will achieve sustainable systems. 
    • A suitable combination of conservation and development is required. 
    • Management of common resources is essential.

Recommended Prerequisites:

  • 1 year or equivalent Biology
  • 1 year or equivalent Physical Science
  • Algebra or above

Academic and Behavioral Expectations:

AP Environmental Science provides students with an experience equivalent to an introductory level science course. There are extensive reading assignments that the student must complete in order to be successful. Supplementary readings in the form of journal articles, and supplementary texts are also required. In addition students are expected to complete assigned laboratory write-ups and any other supplementary assignments given throughout the course. Students are expected to spend at least 1 hour each night (or 5-10 hours on weekends) reading, reviewing, and or completing assignments. Student not able to, or unwilling to put in the time generally do not do well in AP Environmental Science.

At all times students are expected to follow school rules, behave in a responsible and mature manner, and conduct themselves with honor and integrity. Students are expected to do their own work. Plagiarism and cheating will not be tolerated.