AP Environmental Science (APES)

AP Environmental Science (APES)

AP Environmental Science (APES)

Syllabus 2010-2011

Course Purpose

Welcome to AP Environmental Science. The goal of the APES course is to provide students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the natural world. The course will also help to indentify, analyze, and examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing environmental issues. The beauty of environmental science is that it is disciplinary; it embraces a wide variety of topics from different areas of study including all major branches of science, sociology, anthropology, economics, government, and ethics. In addition to studying issues of the past, present, and future, this class will also explore tools for effective environmental change and expose the class to direct hands-on experience of science in the environment.


Books: Cunningham, William P., and Mary Ann Cunningham, Environmental

Science A Global Concern tenth edition. McGraw-Hill 2008.

Molnar, William, Laboratory Investigations AP Environmental Science

Saddle Brook, New Jersey, Peoples Publishing Group 2005.

Organization: Two 1” three-ring binders: one is brought to school everyday

and needs to have five dividers (this is for daily work). The

other one is kept at home to organize past assignments.

Colored pencils, paper folder with pockets and three prongs

(for activities and projects), a ruler, USB drive, and three hole

punch (the prior two items are highly recommended)


Instruction consists mostly of lectures, discussions, demonstrations, and written assignments-including research projects, in-class assignments, and homework. One period a week (at a minimum) will be devoted to hands-on laboratory experiences or fieldwork. All lab and fieldwork requires a written report.

Unit # Activities/Chapters Time (Weeks)

Unit 1: Environmentalism 1.5

Chapter 1 History of Conservation

Chapter 2 Environmental Ethics


  1. Tragedy of the Commons
  2. Environmental History
  3. An Ecological Footprint
  • Lab: Ecosystem Columns

Video: The Lorax, Hot Politics (Frontline)

Unit 2: Geology: Processes, Hazards, Soils, and Mapping 3.5

Chapter 14 Geology and Earth Resources


  1. Plate Tectonics and Geologic Processes
  2. Soil Formation and soil profiles
  3. Characteristics of soil and reading a soil triangle
  • Lab: Soils-How and why are they different
  • Lab: Topographic Maps
  • Lab: Soil Salinization

Unit 3: The Atmosphere

Chapter 15 Air, Weather, and Climate


  1. Frontal systems and Coriolis effect
  2. Ocean Currents and el nino
  3. Greenhouse gasses and Global warming
  • Lab: Air Quality Monitoring
  • Lab: Outdoor Albedo
  • Lab: Biogeochemical Cycle Project

Test: Chapters 1,2,14, and 15

Unit 4: The Living World 5.0

Chapter 3 Matter, Energy, and Life


  1. Review of General Chemistry
  2. Trophic levels and Productivity
  3. Nutrient Cycles and energy flow
  • Lab: Eating at a Lower Trophic Level
  • Lab: Energy from Yeast Cells
  • Lab: Net Primary Productivity
  • Lab: Food Webbing

Chapters 4,5,11,12,13 Biodiversity


  1. Communities and interaction
  2. Evolution and Natural Selection
  3. Biomes, Restoration, and Management
  • Lab: Brine Shrimp Abiotic Factors
  • Lab: Predator/Prey Simulation
  • Lab: Gather your Food
  • Lab: Transect Study at Kenyon Forest Preserve using FQI

Test Chapters 3-5, and 11-13

Unit 5 Population Dynamics 3.5

Chapters 6 and 7


  1. Population Growth
  2. Factors that Influence Growth
  3. Demographics
  • Lab: The Power of Doubling
  • Lab: Something’s Fishy
  • Lab: Population Distribution and Survivorship (Field Trip)

Test Chapters 6 and 7

Unit 6 Land and Water Use 3.5

Chapter 9 Food and Agriculture


  1. Nutrition
  2. Soil Conservation
  3. Genetically Modified Crops
  4. Sustainability
  5. Pest Control
  • Lab: Soil Nutrients and pH

First Semester Final

Unit 6 (cont) Land Use

Chapters 14 and 22 Mining and Urban land Development 1.5


  1. Mining and Mining Laws
  2. Urbanization
  3. Smart Growth
  • Lab: Cookie Mining
  • Guest Speaker: Randy Recklaus-City of Batavia

Test Chapter 9, 14, and 22

Unit 7 Energy Resources 3.0

Chapters 19 and 20 Conventional and Sustainable Energy


  1. Renewable and Non-Renewable
  2. Waste Generation and Disposal
  3. Pollution: Air, Water, and Land
  • Lab: Home Energy Audit
  • Lab: Energy and Recycling

Chapter 21 Solid, Toxic and Hazardous Waste


  1. Waste Disposal Methods
  2. Landfill Construction
  3. Hazardous and Toxic Wastes
  4. Recycling
  • Lab: Solid Waste Diary
  • Lab: Disposal of Nuclear Waste
  • Field Trip: Fox River Water Reclamation District Tour

Test Chapters 19-21

Unit 8 Water Use, Management, and Pollution 3.0

Chapter 17 Water Use and Management


  1. Resources and Compartments
  2. Availability and Shortages
  3. Conservation
  • Lab: Water Loss Drop by Drop
  • Lab: Salinization Lab

Chapter 18 Water Pollution


  1. Type and Effects of Water Pollution
  2. Pollution Control and Legislation
  • Lab: Water Quality Assessment

Test Chapters 17-18

Unit 9 Environmental Health, Toxicology, and Legislation 3.0

Chapters 8 and 24


  1. Health Hazards
  2. Movement and Distribution of Toxins
  3. Risk Assessment
  4. Environmental Policy
  5. Environmental Laws, Treaties, and Conventions
  • Lab: LC50 of Brine Shrimp (Toxic Tea)
  • Lab: Bioassay Experiment with Lettuce
  • Project: Environmental Law Timeline
  • Project: Political Activism Letter

Test Chapters 8 and 24

Ecological Economics 1.5

Chapter 23


  1. Economic Worldviews
  2. Natural Resource Accounting
  3. Trade, Development, and Jobs
  • Project: Personally Responsible Consumerism

What Shall We Do? 1.0

Chapter 25


  1. Education
  2. Accountability
  • Lab: Campus Environmental Audit