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Learning Recommendations:

General Description:  This course is designed to be the equivalent of an introductory college course in environmental science. The goal of AP Environmental Science 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, embracing topics from geology, biology, environmental studies, environmental science, chemistry, and geography.

Content:  Environmental Science is interdisciplinary: it embraces topics from different areas of study. There are several unifying themes that cut across topics. The following are course themes:

  • Science is a process
  • Energy conversions underlie all ecology processes
  • Earth itself is one interconnected system
  • Humans alter natural systems
  • Environmental problems have a cultural and social context
  • Human survival depends on developing practices that will achieve sustainable systems

Topics include:

  • Earth Systems and  Resources
  • The Living World
  • Population
  • Land and Water Use
  • Energy Resources and Consumption
  • Pollution
  • Global Change

Because it is designed to be a course in environmental science rather than environmental studies, the AP Environmental Science course includes a strong laboratory and field investigation component. Investigations conducted will challenge students’ abilities to:

  • Critically observe environmental systems
  • Develop and conduct well-designed experiments
  • Utilize appropriate techniques and instrumentation
  • Analyze and interpret data, including appropriate statistical and graphical representations
  • Think analytically and apply concepts to the solution of environmental problems
  • Make conclusions and evaluate their quality and validity
  • Propose further questions for study
  • Communicate accurately and meaningfully about observations and conclusions

Strategies:  Students will learn through the combination of:

  • Lecture and discussion
  • Self-designed and prescribed laboratory investigations
  • Problem solving and critical thinking exercises
  • Multimedia offerings (computer simulations, video features)
  • Demonstrations (student or teacher-directed)
  • Student projects and cooperative learning

Homework:  Students should expect homework at least 3-5 times per multi-week unit. These assignments include but are not limited to: practice packets, article readings and analyses, and lab activity investigation write-ups. Beyond any written homework, students are expected to spend 30-60 minutes – PER NIGHT – reviewing and studying the AP environmental science content.

Course Fee / Materials:  $40 fee. Notebook, goggles, set of colored pencils

AP courses at IHS challenge students with rigorous college-level work. By succeeding in college-level work while still in high school, students in AP courses develop confidence in their own abilities and learn essential time management and study skills needed for college and career success.

AP courses provide the opportunity for students to earn college credits. In order to earn college credit, students must register for the AP exam for this course. AP exam fees vary each year. Scholarships are available for students who qualify. AP exam registration takes place December through March. College credit can be earned with a passing score on the AP exam, but what the score qualification and amount of credit earned varies by college.