AP Environmental Science

Report
AP Environmental Science
What have you gotten yourself into?
What is AP Environmental Science?

An interdisciplinary study that integrates
information and ideas from natural science:
Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Earth Science

And social sciences:
Economics, Politics, Ethics
The Course
 The
goal is to provide students with
- scientific principles, concepts & methodologies to
understand interrelationships of the natural world
- to identify & analyze environmental problems
- to evaluate relative risks
- to examine alternative solutions
The Course

Six Major Unifying Themes
- Science is a dynamic process
- Energy conversions underlie ecological processes
- Earth as an interconnected system
- Humans alter natural systems
- Cultural context of environmental problems
- Survival depends on sustainable systems
The Course

APES demonstrates the Nature of Science
- Science is a process
- Science is a method of learning more about
the world
- Science constantly changes the way we
understand the world
Prerequisites

MOST important prerequisite: Desire on the part
of the student

A Solid background in Biology and Chemistry

At least one year of algebra
Students Taking APES

Appeals to both traditional and alternative
learners

Tends to score lower than other science APs due
to integration of science disciplines

Lends itself well to inquiry-based, hands-on
learning
APES Topic Outline
I. Earth Systems and Resources (10-15%)
 Earth
Science Concepts
(geologic time scale, plate tectonics, earthquakes & volcanism, seasons, solar
intensity & latitudes)

Atmosphere
(composition & structure, weather & climate, atmospheric circulation, atmo-ocean
interactions)
 Global Water
Resources & Use
(freshwater/saltwater, ocean circulation, agricultural/industrial/domestic use, surface
& groundwater issues, global problems, conservation)
 Soil
& Soil Dynamics
(rock cycle, formation & composition, physical & chemical properties, soil types,
erosion and soil problems, soil conservation measures)
APES Topic Outline
II. The Living World (10-15%)
 Ecosystem
Structure
(pop. & communities, niches; species interactions; keystone & indicator species,
species diversity factors; major biomes)
 Energy
Flow
(photosynthesis & cellular respiration; food webs & trophic levels, ecological
pyramids)
 Ecosystem
Diversity
(biodiversity, natural selection, evolution ecosystem services)
 Natural
Ecosystem Change
(climate shifts, species movement, ecological succession)
 Natural
Biogeochemical Cycles
(carbon, nitrogen sulfur, phosphorus, water, conservation of matter
APES Topic Outline
III. Population (10-15%)
 Population
Biology
(population ecology, carrying capacity, reproductive strategies, survivorship)
 Human
- Human
Population
Population Dynamics
(historical population size, distribution, fertility rates, growth rates &
doubling times, demographic transition, age-structure diagrams)
- Population Size
(strategies for sustainability, case studies, national policies)
- Impact of Population Growth
(hunger, disease, economic effects, resource use, habitat modifications)
APES Topic Outline
IV. Land and Water Use (10-15%)
 Agriculture
- Feeding a Growing Population
(human nutritional requirement, types of agriculture, Green Revolution,
genetic engineering & crop production, deforestation, irrigation, sustainable
agriculture)
-
Controlling Pests
(types of pesticides, costs & benefits of pesticide use, IPM, laws)

Forestry
(tree plantations, old growth forests, forest fires, forest management, national
forests)
APES Topic Outline
IV. Land and Water Use (10-15%) (cont.)
 Mining
(mineral formation, extraction; global reserves; relevant laws and treaties)
 Fishing
(fishing techniques; overfishing; aquaculture; relevant laws and treaties)
 Global
Economics
(globalization, World Bank; Tragedy of the Commons; relevant laws and
treaties)
APES Topic Outline
V. Energy Resources and Consumption (1015%)
 Energy
Concepts
(energy forms, power, units, conversion, Laws of Thermodynamics)
 Energy
Consumption
- History
- Present Global Energy Use
- Future Energy Needs
 Fossil
Fuel Resources and Use
(formation of coal, oil, natural gas; extraction purification methods; world reserves
and global demand; synfuels; environmental advantages/disadvantages of sources)
APES Topic Outline
V. Energy Resources and Consumption (cont.)
 Nuclear
Energy
(nuclear fission process; nuclear fuel; electricity production; nuclear reactor
types; environmental advantages/disadvantages; safety issues; radiation &
human health; radioactive wastes; nuclear fusion)
 Hydroelectric
Power
(dams; flood control; silting; salmon; other impacts)
 Energy
Conservation
(energy efficiency, CAFÉ standards; hybrid vehicles; mass transit)
 Renewable
Energy
(solar energy; solar electricity; hydrogen fuel cells; biomass; wind energy;
small-scale hydroelectric; ocean waves & tidal energy; geothermal;
environmental advantages/disadvantages)
APES Topic Outline
VI. Pollution (25-30%)
 Pollution Types
- Air Pollution
( sources – primary & secondary; major air pollutants; measurement units;
acid deposition – causes & effects; heat islands & temp. inversions; indoor
air pollution; remediation & reduction strategies; Clear Air Act & other
relevant laws)
- Noise Pollution
(sources; effects; control measures)
- Water Pollution
(types; sources; causes; effects; cultural eutrophication; ground water
pollution; maintaining water quality; water purification; sewage treatment;
Clean Water Act & other relevant laws
- Solid Waste
(types; disposal; reduction)
APES Topics Outline
VI. Pollution (cont.)
 Impacts
on the Environment and Health
- Hazards to Human Health
(environmental risk analysis; acute & chronic effects; dos-response
relationships; air pollutants; smoking & other risks)
- Hazardous Chemicals in the Environment
(types of hazardous waste; treatment/disposal of hazardous waste; cleanup of
contaminated sites; biomagnification; relevant laws)
 Economic
Impact
(cost-benefit analysis; externalities; sustainability)
APES Topic Outline
VII. Global Change (10 – 15%)
 Stratospheric Ozone
(formation of stratoshperic ozone; ultraviolet radiation; causes of ozone
depletion; effects of ozone depletion; strategies for reducing ozone depletion;
relevant laws and treaties)
 Global Warming
(greenhouse gases and the greenhouse effect; impacts and consequences of
global warming; reducing climate change; relevant laws and treaties)
APES Topic Outline
VII. Global Change (10-15%) (cont.)

Loss of Biodiversity
- Habitat Loss
(overuse; pollution; introduced species; endangered & extinct species)
- Maintenance through Conservation
(strategies for conserving habitat)
- Relevant Laws & Treaties
(Endangered Species Act)

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