Background Skills you Need

In order to be successful in AP Environmental Science (APES), you will need to have a strong grasp on biology and chemistry at a minimum.  You do not "need" to be familiar with physics in order to be successful in APES, but if you are familiar with physics as well you will have a much easier time understanding some of the concepts involved in the course.  It is also necessary that you feel comfortable with algebra and especially dimensional analysis from a math standpoint.

What to Expect

Concepts in APES are not necessarily "harder" than you may be used to in a typical science class, but the sheer amount of concepts and pace that they must be learned at makes the course a challenge for many students.  Because of the amount of information involved with APES and the background knowledge necessary to be successful, you should already have chapter 2 from the textbook read and objectives completed by the beginning of week two.  You will "hit the ground running" from day one!  As the year goes on, you should expect approximately two hours of work outside of class for every one hour of work during class.  This means that for every 90 minute class, there will be up to 3 hours of work outside of class.  This is a college level course that covers an immense amount of material!

Unit Materials

At the beginning of each unit, you will be given a list of objectives and a variety of resources to help you meet these objectives.  You will also have access to a digital textbook during the year.  If you experience login issues to your digital textbook to begin with, you may use a scanned copy of the chapter which may be downloaded here.  The objectives for the unit should be completed by the test date of each unit (8/27 for the first unit) and can be found here.  If you would like an overview of the unit or something to take notes on during your reading, you may wish to use the presentation notes for each unit (first unit presentation notes may be found here).  The day of a chapter or unit test for each unit is always clearly identified on each unit's respective page on this site.  Assignment due dates are always clearly identifiable and most correspond with unit test dates.


The first new concept that you will learn about in class is that of sustainability.  Most students have an idea of what they think this means, but the concept of sustainability entails quite a bit more than what you may be thinking.  Wisconsin Public Television put out a great talk on sustainability by Paul Robbins who is the director of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.  It is highly recommended that you watch this video as an AP Environmental Science (APES) student although it is not a requirement.  The video may be found at the link below.

Unit 1 Agenda

Please refer to the below agenda as you progress through this unit.  You will find similar agenda items for each unit throughout the year.  

Objective(s): Become acquainted with the resources necessary to be successful in AP Environmental Science.


  1. Acquaint yourself with APES site resources
  2. Setup AP access -
  3. Login to online textbook (should be an emailed link...)
  4. Review chapter 2 concepts. (Note slides here)
  5. Complete chapter 2 objectives
  6. Typical APES quantitative analysis question


  1. Bring your parent-signed safety contract next class
  2. Complete as many chapter 2 objectives as possible (due 8/27)
  3. Study for chapter 2 exam (given 8/27 and combined with chapter 1)

Objective(s): Be able to show your understanding of chapter 2 objectives.


  1. APES Math Discussion/Dimensional Analysis Review
  2. Dimensional Analysis Practice
  3. Complete chapter 2 objectives (Due 8/27)
  4. Begin chapter 1 objectives (Notes Slides)


  1. Read module 1 to prepare for next class
  2. Complete Dimensional Analysis Practice

Objective(s): Modules 1 & 2


  1. Trump Tower Chicago fish kill article
  2. Natural Capital & Ecosystem Services discussion- Read this article to become more familiar with what natural capital and ecosystem services are. Pages 325-327 are the most relevant. You can skip the last paragraph of page 327 and on.
  3. Environmental Indicators activity
  4. Ecological Footprint calculation - enter any email address (such as when signing up if you are worried about junk mail. Make sure it is in an email-like format or you will not be able to log in. You can also sign in with a Facebook account which may be interesting to post your ecological footprint results to in order to generate discussion!

Additional Articles/Information:


  1. Read module 2 to prepare for next class
  2. Ch 1 Objectives due 8/27
  3. Ch 2 Objectives due 8/27

Objective(s): Show knowledge of all chapter 1 and chapter 2 objectives.


  1. Chapters 1 & 2 Exam
  2. Begin reading module 26 and answering chapter 9 objectives


  1. Read module 26 (Chapter 9) to prepare for next class
  2. Begin Chapter 9 Objectives