Ms. Nicholson's AP Environmental Science Sample Course Syllabus
    Brief Description of Course

    The goal of this course is to provide students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and human-made, and to evaluate the risks associated with these problems and examine alternative solutions for resolving and/or preventing them.

    Unit Information

    Unit One (Chapter One and Two)

    Content and/or Skills Taught:

    Chapter 1 Environmental Problems, their Causes, and Sustainability

    Reading  -Case study Shrimp, Mangroves, and Pick-up Trucks

    Activity -Internet Estimating Your Ecological Footprint

    -Tragedy of the Commons Simulation [C5]

    Project -ScrAPEbook project (Environmental News Articles)[C8]

    Video -Dr. SuessThe Lorax

    Chapter 2 Environmental History: Learning from the Past

    Reading -Rachel Carsons Edge of the Sea

    Project -Research on Historical Environmental Disasters

    Video -Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Clip

    -The American Experience: Silent Spring Rachel Carson Video

    Unit 2 (Chapter Three and Four)

    Content and/or Skills Taught:

    Chapter 3 Science, Systems, Matter, and Energy

    Lab -Design an experiment: Salinization with Radish Seeds [C9][C11]

    Reading -Easter Islands Demise and Plato Quote similarities

    Chapter 4 Ecosystems: What are They and How do They Work?

    Project 1-Food Web/Pyramid Poster [C2]

    -Powerpoint Biogeochemical cycles [C1]

    Lab -Ecosystem Field Walk

    -Observing Plankton Lab [C2]

    Video -Ecosystem video (United Streaming)

    Major Assignments and/or Assessments:

    Unit 3 Chapter Five and Six)

    Content and/or Skills Taught:

    Chapter 5 Evolution and Biodiversity

    Video-Toxic Newts


    Lab -Biodiversity in Leaf Litter [C4][C11][C9]

    Reading -Guest essay by Norman Myers

    -Was Darwin Wrong? article

    Chapter 6 Climate and Terrestrial Biodiversity

    Activity - Making Climatograms

    Project- Biomes Powerpoint

    Video -Coastal Biomes

    Major Assignments and/or Assessments:

    Unit 4 (Chapter Seven and Eight)

    Content and/or Skills Taught:

    Chapter 7 Aquatic Biodiversity

    Video -Coral Reefs video

    Lab/Field Trip -Bethabara Stream Water Quality using Macroinvertebrates [C9][C10][C11]

    Chapter 8 Community Ecology [C1]


    -On-line Winogradsky tutorial


    -Non-native species video (United Streaming)

    -Cane toads video

    Lab -Winogradsky column

    Activity 2 -Symbiosis activity [C8]

    Reading -Cane toad article [C8]

    Major Assignments and/or Assessments::

    Unit 5 (Chapter Nine and Ten)

    Content and/or Skills Taught:

    Chapter 9 Population Ecology

    Lab - Population Growth with Lemna minor [C3][C9][C11]

    - Field trip-collecting population data from

    historic cemetery [C3]

    Activity -Population Estimation

    -Somethings Fishy activity

    - Population Pyramid Activity [C10]

    Video -The People Paradox

    -Succession video

    Chapter 10 Applying Population Technology: The Human [C3]

    Activity -Doubling Time Problems Reading

    -Discussion-Population control

    Lab -Survivorship Curves with cemetery population data [C9]

    Video -ZPG World Population Growth

    Major Assignments and/or Assessments:

    Unit Name or Timeframe:

    Unit 6 (Chapter Eleven and Twelve)

    Content and/or Skills Taught:

    Chapter 11 Sustaining Terrestrial Biodiversity: Managing and Protecting Ecosystems

    Reading -Who is Julia Butterfly Hill?

    -Remembering Chico Mendez

    -Issue 4 Is Biodiversity Overprotected? [C4]

    Video -China Revs Up video

    -Temperate Deciduous Forests video

    -Boreal Forests video

    Activity -Making a Clinometer

    -Tree Height Problems [C9]

    Lab 3 -Forest Lab [C10][C11]

    -Biodiversity in Leaf Litter [C9][C11]

    Chapter 12 Sustaining Biodiversity: The Species Approach

    Video -Threats to Biodiversity video

    Project -Endangered Species Powerpoint

    Major Assignments and/or Assessments:

    Unit Name or Timeframe:

    Unit 7 (Chapter Thirteen, Fifteen and Twenty-Two)

    Content and/or Skills Taught:

    Chapter 13 Sustaining Aquatic Biodiversity [C1][C4]

    Video -Can the Oceans Keep up with the Hunt?

    -Gutted video

    -Destructive Trawling clip

    Reading -Should Commercial Whaling be Resumed? article

    Activity -Speaker Mr. Ragusso (Marine/Meteorological Consultant)

    Chapter 15 Water Resources [C4]

    Reading -Clean Water Act Turns 30


    Chapter 22 Water Pollution [C6]

    Speaker Roseann LEsperance Stormwater division


    Lab -Chemical Water Quality Testing [C11]

    Cultural Eutrophication Lab [C11]

    Field Trip -Water Treatment Plant

    Stream Chemical Water Quality Testing [C10]

    Major Assignments and/or Assessments:

    Unit 8 (Chapter Fourteen and Sixteen)

    Content and/or Skills Taught:

    Chapter 14 Food and Soil Resources [C1]

    Lab -Amazon Soil lab

    -Soil Properties lab [C8][C11]

    Reading Selected reading from An Omnivores Dilemma

    Chapter 16 Geology and Nonrenewable Mineral Resources [C1]4

    Activity -Vulcan Materials- The Quarry Story Online Activity

    Lab Mining Simulation Lab [C5]

    Copper Extraction Lab [C5][C11]

    Video- A Common Ground

    Field Trip- Visit with geologist at Vulcan Materials Quarry [C5]

    Major Assignments and/or Assessments:

    Unit 9 (Chapter Seventeen and Eighteen)

    Content and/or Skills Taught:

    Chapter 17 Nonrenewable Energy Resources

    Lab- Peanut Mining Lab [C5][C8][C11]


    Geode in Eggshell

    Video  Shell Oil Oil Refining video

    Chapter 18 Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy [C5]

    Activity How Nuclear Power Works Website

    Watts the Cost? [C9]

    Reading- "The Truth About Hydrogen" Internet Article


    Advantage/Disadvantage Fuels Powerpoint [C5]

    Video-Race to Save the Planet: Do We Really Want to Live This Way?

    Major Assignments and/or Assessments:

    Unit Name or Timeframe:

    Unit 10 (Chapter Nineteen, Twenty-three and Twenty-Four)

    Content and/or Skills Taught:

    Chapter 19 Risk, Toxicology, and Human Health; Chapter 23 Pest Management

    Reading- Silent Spring Chapter 3 Elixirs of death [C6]


    Risk Activity

    Video- The Bodys Defense Against Disease

    Chapter 24 Solid and Hazardous Waste


    Landfill design Powerpoint

    Field Trip 5- Wastewater Treatment Plant

    Visit Landfill

    Video-Race to Save the Planet: Waste Not, Want not

    Major Assignments and/or Assessments:

    Unit Eleven (Chapter Twenty and Twenty-One)

    Content and/or Skills Taught:

    Chapter 20 Air Pollution & 21 Climate Change and Ozone Loss [C3][C7]


    Global Dimming article [C7]

    Lab-Measuring Particulate Pollution

    Activity -Carbon Dioxide emissions vs. Surface temperature graph [C9][C7]

    Division of Air Quality Internet Activity

    Video- An Inconvenient Truth

    Major Assignments and/or Assessments:

    Unit Twelve Chapters Twenty-Five-Twenty-Eight

    Chapter 25-28 Economics, Politics and Ethics in the Environment [C8]

    Worked throughout the year as other topics were included

    Activity -Legislation Jeopardy


    AP Exam May 15, 2007

    Major Assignments and/or Assessments:



    Living in the Environment: Principles, Connections


    Brooks Cole

    Published Date:

    17 September, 2004


    G. Tyler Miller Jr.



    Taking Sides- Clashing Views on Environmental Issu



    McGraw Hill

    Published Date:



    Thomas A. Easton



    The Wilderness Reader


    Univ. of Nevada Press

    Published Date:



    Frank Bergon


    Twenty-six writings of memorable conservationists


    Cod: A biography of a fish that changed the world


    Penguin Group

    Published Date:



    Mark Kurlansky


    Other Course Materials

    Material Type:

    Audiovisual Materials


    Race To Save The Planet Series





    Videoclips, quizzes, lesson plans