Course Description

The AP Environmental Science course is the equivalent of a one-semester, introductory college course in environmental science, through which students engage with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world. The course requires that students identify and analyze natural and human-made environmental problems, evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them. Environmental science is interdisciplinary, embracing topics from geology, biology, environmental studies, environmental science, chemistry, and geography.

Online Textbook Link
How to get a 5 on the APES exam

Weeks 1 and 2

Article for week one of school:
How Trump is Changing the Environment

Exam Format

Calculators are not permitted on the exam.
Section I
Multiple Choice — 100 Questions | 1 Hour, 30 Minutes | 60% of Exam Score

  • Individual questions
  • Questions in sets
Section II
Free Response — 4 Questions | 1 Hour, 30 Minutes | 40% of Exam Score

  • Data Set (1 question)
  • Document-Based Question (1 question)
  • Synthesis and Evaluation (2 questions)

Please note: our in class unit exams will be 60 multiple choice questions and 1 FRQ in 90 minutes. You have 22.5 minutes for each FRQ, and 54 seconds for each multiple choice question. Pacing will be important, extra time will not be given in order to prepare you for the AP Exam. These exams will make up 80% of your overall class grade.


"Environment, The Science Behind the Stories," 5th Edition, AP Edition, written by Withgott and Laposata, published by Pearson in 2014

Course Calendar

Course Outline

Summer Assignment

Please be sure to follow the due dates on the summer assignment below.
My email address is

Your information for each law should be brief, maybe 2 sentences, like this fake example: In 1989, the Babbey Law was enacted by Congress; it requires that all high school students in the US take 4 years of science. It is overseen by the US Department of Education, and relates to Unit 2 of APES.

Please cite your sources or include a reference page (or you will lose points for plagiarism)

1: Ecology/Earth Science

Biomes, Cycles, Succession, Ecosystems, Food Webs, Biodiversity
Chapters 1-5, 11

Chapter 1

Warm-up Article

Environmental Science

Chapter 2

Energy Flow in Ecosystems

Chapter 3

Cane Toads: An unnatural history

Population Ecology
Ecosystem Diversity
Natural Selection
Speciation and Extinction

Chapter 4

Invasive carp: NPR: Asian carp and the Great Lakes
Yellowstone Wolves:

Chapter 4 Intro Activity:

Links for the WQ:

Energy Flow
11 Worst Invasive Species

Chapter 5

Lots of videos:
Feedback loops
San Diego Watershed
Invasive Mussels
15 rare and endangered species
Protecting our local watersheds
Environmental Systems
Ecosystem Ecology
Biogeochemical Cycles

Chapter 11

And some more videos:
Ecosystem Diversity
Natural Ecosystem Change
Loss of Biodiversity

Unit 1 Review

2. Human Populations

History, Laws, Economics, Human populations, Urban areas
Chapters 6, 7, 8, 13

Chapter 6

John Muir
Henry David Thoreau
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Intro Activity: test corrections
For each multiple choice question you missed, please
1. write the question
2. write the correct answer
3. explain, in one sentence, why this answer is correct (or why you got it wrong)

Chapter 6 Activity: Tragedy of the Commons

Environmental Economics
Tragedy of the Commons

Chapter 7

Intro Activity: Current Event

Project: Fracking Article Analysis

Environmental Laws
Fracking Explained
How Does Fracking Work?
Understanding Fracking

Chapter 8

Intro activity, FRQs:

Human Population Dynamics
Human population size
Population Pyramids
How to Read a Population Pyramid

Chapter 13

Human population impacts
Urbanization and the Future of Cities
Built to Last

Unit 2 Review Guide:

3. Land

Agriculture, Forests, Land, Soil
Chapters 9, 10, 12

Chapter 9

Soil and Soil Dynamics
Soil Triangle Practice

Chapter 10

Intro Article: A Tiny Country Feeds the World, Nat Geo, 2017

NPR article about GMOs

Chapter 12

Forestry and Rangelands
Land Use


Winter Break

Park you have been assigned:

4. Water

Fisheries, Policies, Pollution, Oceanography
Chapters 15 and 16

Chapter 15

Water Resources

Chapter 16


Biomagnification and the Trouble with Toxins

Water Pollution
El Nino - La Nina
El Nino 101


5. Air

Atmosphere, Pollution, Greenhouse gases
Chapters 17 and 18

Chapter 17
The Atmosphere
Air Pollution
Stratospheric Ozone

Chapter 18
Coriolis Effect

Global Climate Change

6. Waste

Toxicology, Waste, Mining
Chapters 14, 22, and 23

Solid Waste
Health Impacts of Pollution

7. Energy

Fossil fuels, Alternative energy
Chapters 19, 20, and 21

Energy Concepts
Energy Consumption
Fossil Fuels
Nuclear Energy
Hydroelectric Power
Energy Reduction
Renewable Energy

8. Sustainability

Chapter 24

Global Climate Change
Loss of Biodiversity


How to get a 5 on the APES exam
Quick study card

Suggested Reading

"Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," by Barbara Kingsolver
"The Sixth Extinction," by Elizabeth Kolbert
"Silent Spring," by Rachel Carson
"Gathering Moss," by Robin Wall Kimmerer
"Desert Solitaire," by Edward Abbey
"The Hidden Life of Trees," by Peter Wohlleben
"Blue Mind," by Wallace Nichols