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AP Human Geography Course Syllabus

Course Overview
AP Human Geography is a yearlong course that focuses on the systematic distribution,
processes, and effects of human populations on the planet. Units of study include
population, migration, culture, language, religion, ethnicity, political geography,
economic development, industry, agriculture, and urban geography. Emphasis is placed
on geographic models and their applications. Case studies from around the globe are
compared to the situation in both the United States and locally. Digital activities are used
to explore certain topics.
Course Objectives
To introduce students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that
have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of Earths surface
To learn about and employ the methods of geographers, especially including
observation, mapmaking, data gathering and reporting, and technical writing
To employ spatial concepts, geographic vocabulary, and landscape
interpretation to a variety of locations and situations around the globe and in local
To develop a geographic perspective with which to view the landscape and
understand current events
Texts and Study Materials
Rubenstein, James M. The Cultural Landscape: An Introduction to Human
Geography. 12th ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2015.
Fouberg, Murphy, and H.J. De Blij. Human Geography: People, Place, and
Culture. 11th ed. New York: Wiley, 2010.
Veregin, Howard. Goodes World Atlas. 22nd ed. Skokie, IL: Rand McNally,
Human Geography in Action, 6th Edition Michael Kuby, John Harner, Patricia
Gober. January 2013, 2013. Print.
Deng, Alephonsion, Benson Deng, Benjamin Ajak, and Judy Bernstein. They
Poured Fire on Us from the Sky: The True Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan.
New York: Public Affairs, 2005. Print.
Jennings, Ken, and S. McArthur. Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of
Geography Wonks. New York: Scribner, 2011. Print.
US Census Bureau (
The Economist (
Necessary Materials
3 Ring Binder
Loose leaf paper (college ruled)
Students will organize all their notes, vocabulary, class activities, etc. by

Teaching Strategies
I have been advised to structure my class around four main activities: (1) discussion of
key terms and concepts, (2) examination of case studies, (3) practice of key geographical
skills, and (4) practice of written expression via free-response questions. A typical day
includes at least two of these activities (examples are given below). The fourth main
activity is the one I use most commonly: practice of key geographical skills. Nearly every
day I ask students to examine a map(s) or graphed or textual information and respond to
it using such concepts as scale, region, location and place, or association and
Homework in the form of a reading assignment, or video, is assigned daily. Video case
studies always include a previewing focus activity and a debriefing activity. Class
discussions (lectures) are always accompanied by listening guides. For the reading of
articles from newspapers or journals, I require students to fill in a generic reader
response form or annotate a map.
I have found that providing students with access to the course content (Power Points,
assignments, etc.) through a learning management system is very valuable as it
provides students the opportunity to access this material whenever they need to. For this
learning management system I use a mix of my class blog
and Google Classroom. I have found this is a great resource for students who were
absent and it has decreased the number of students asking for additional copies of
assignments, calendar, etc. as these items are all online.
Student Evaluation
1. Student evaluation is based upon the following weighted categories:
i. Class participation (discussions, debates, prepared
for class i.e. HW)-20%
ii. Class assignments (includes FQRs)-30%
iii. Quizzes- 15% (approximately 1 a week)
iv. Exams and Projects-35%
b. The format of unit tests and midterm exam is modeled on the AP
Human Geography exam. Likewise, students are given 45 minutes to answer
the two free response question required on the exam. This is done during
ONE class period. Also, students are typically given a choice of more than
two free response to choose from. During another the second half of class,
35 minutes, students complete the multiple choice portion of the exam
(usually 75 questions).
i. For the midterm exam, which students have two
hours to complete, they are given one hour to answer 75 multiple
choice questions and one hour to answer three free response
c. For all exams, the multiple choice and free response questions
are both weighted at 50%, to also mimic the scoring process of the AP exam.
In class exams take up TWO class periods to model the actual AP exam as
closely as possible. Time management is typically an issue that students
have some difficulty with, especially those students who have never
experienced an AP exam.

1. A student is guilty of a violation of academic integrity if he or she
a. Represents the work of others as his or her own.
b. Gives or obtains assistance in any academic work from another
individual in a situation in which the student is expected to perform
2. Some Definitions of Academic Dishonesty include
a. Plagiarism:
i. Submitting written materials without proper
acknowledgment of the source.
ii. Deliberate attribution to, or citation of, a source from
which the referenced materials was not, in fact, obtained.
iii. Submitting data which has been altered or contrived
in such a way as to be deliberately misleading.
b. Aiding others to cheat or plagiarize. Examples include, but are
not limited to, the following:
i. Giving unauthorized assistance to another or others
during a test or evaluation, this includes allowing someone to copy
from a test or examination, or arranging with others to give or receive
answers via signals. Talking during a test will be treated as cheating
regardless of the content of the conversation.
ii. Providing specific information about a recently given
test, examination, or assignment, to a student who thereby gains an
unfair advantage in an academic evaluation.
iii. Providing aid to another person, knowing such aid is
expressly prohibited by the teacher, in the research, preparation,
creation, writing, performing, or publication of work to be submitted for
academic evaluation.
iv. Removing or attempting to remove, without
authorization, any material relating to a class that would give another
student unfair academic advantage
v. Copying from someone elses test or examination
2. If you are caught cheating on an exam, I will give you 24 hours to notify your
parents before I call them.
3. All cases of cheating will result in a grade of 0 (zero) for the assignment
and be reported to the honor council.
Late Work Policy
Late assignments will be subject to a 10% grade deduction per working day the
assignment is turned in late. The penalty will be waived for extenuating circumstances
such as student absence or other circumstances as judged by the teacher.
Extra Help
I am available most 4th block time frames and during WINN, the 45 minutes at the end
of the day. I am also available before 9pm online or at 7 in the morning.
Course Prerequisites
There are no specific prerequisites for this course. That being said, each student who
would like to enroll in AP Geography must go through the following application process:

Parent/guardian approval.
Guidance counselor approval.
Current social studies teacher approval based on work ethic, attendance,
high level of analytical and synthesizing skills and a current grade of B or higher.
Approval of AP Human Geography teacher.
Tentative Course Planner
Unit Sequencing:
1. Nature & Perspectives
2. Population & Migration
3. Political Geography
4. Agriculture & Rural Land Use
5. Economics & Industrialization
6. Cities & Urban Land Use
7. Cultural Patterns and Processes
Unit 1: Geography: Its Nature and Perspectives
Chapter 1
~ 3 weeks (along with introduction to course, summer assignment
discussion, 100 country map test)
Tentatively: Aug 31st- September 23rd 2016
Tests: Sept 23rd
Reading Assignments
Rubenstein, Chapter 1: This is Geography
Ken Jennings Maphead
Unit Objectives and Activities
1. Define geography, human geography; explain the meaning of the
spatial perspective.
2. Explain how geographers classify each of the following and provide
examples of each:
a) distributions
b) locations
c) regions
3. Identify how each of the following plays a role in mapmaking:
a) simplification
b) categorization
c) symbolization
d) induction
4. Identify types of scale and projections used in mapmaking; identify
advantages and disadvantages of different projections.
5. List different types (models) of diffusion and provide
examples/illustrations of each in the real world.
6. Distinguish between different types of maps and mapped information
(e.g., dot distribution, choropleth, etc.) and provide explanations of strengths
and weaknesses of each.
Unit 2: Population and Migration

Chapters 2 3
~ 3 weeks
Tentatively: Sept 26th- Oct 14th
Tests: Oct 14th

Reading Assignment
Rubenstein, Chapter 2: Population & Health & Chapter 3 Migration
Deng, Alephonsion, Benson Deng, Benjamin Ajak, and Judy Bernstein.
They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky: The True Story of Three Lost Boys from
Sudan. New York: Public Affairs, 2005. Print.
Unit Objectives and Activities
Map major and emerging population concentrations and describe
demographic characteristics of each.
1. Consider the concepts of ecumene and non-ecumene, and consider:
a) Why do most people live where they do?
b) For what reasons have humans historically avoided certain
c) Where do non-examples of each exist? Why?
2. Calculate arithmetic, agricultural, and physiological densities and
describe the strengths and weaknesses of each for demographic analysis.
3. Explain the elements of a population pyramid and distinguish between
characteristic shapes.
4. Explain the demographic transition model:
a) What are its components?
b) Which countries does it describe in each phase?
c) Why might it not predict the future for developing
countries today? [SC12]
5. Give examples of pro- and anti-nationalist policies and their effects in
example countries.
6. Define key demographic terms and identify regions in which high and
low extreme examples of each can be found.
7. Concerning natural hazards, do the following:
a) list various types of natural hazards and disasters
b) map the areas most affected by them
c) compare with the map of population distribution
d) hypothesize the degree of danger in various regions
e) discuss methods that are taken to adapt to these dangers
Unit 3: Political Organization of Space
Chapters 8, and 7 (last 2 sections)
~ 2 weeks
Tentatively: October 17th- 28th
Tests: Oct. 28th
The Poured Fire on Us from the Sky due: Oct 25th
Reading Assignment
Rubenstein, Chapter 8: Political Geography & Rubenstein, Chapter 7:
Ethnicities Last 2 sections

Deng, Alephonsion, Benson Deng, Benjamin Ajak, and Judy Bernstein.

They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky: The True Story of Three Lost Boys from
Sudan. New York: Public Affairs, 2005. Print.
Unit Objectives and Activities
1. Explain the concept of state by:
a) identifying necessary qualifications and characteristics
b) listing examples of states in various regions
c) describing quasi-states
2. Describe the problems of multinational states and stateless nations.
3. List advantages and disadvantages of different types of boundaries
and provide real-world examples of:
a) natural/physical boundaries
b) cultural boundaries
c) geometric boundaries
4. List advantages and disadvantages of different shapes of states and
provide examples.
5. Discuss the concepts of imperialism and colonialism and illustrate
some of their consequences on the contemporary political map.
6. Define irredentism and devolution and illustrate with examples.
7. Summarize the history of the United Nations and identify issues of
current importance regarding it.
8. Consider ways in which gender-related issues are expressed spatially,
particularly in regards to:
a) economic roles and activity
b) health and reproduction
c) level of education
9. Discuss and illustrate with examples various nation-state
configurations including:
a) nation-state
b) part-nation state
c) multinational state
d) stateless nation
Unit 4: Agricultural and Rural Land Use
Chapter 9
~ 1.5 weeks
Tentatively: Oct 31- Nov 10th (Thursday, Friday is off)
Tests: Oct 10th
Reading Assignment
Rubenstein, Chapter 9: Food & Agriculture
Unit Objectives and Activities
1. Explain how agriculture originated and identify its various hearths.
a. Describe the evolution of agricultural practices from their
first use until today.
b. Neolithic Revolution
c. Second Agricultural Revolution

d. Green Revolution and biotechnology

2. Consider how each of the following correlates with specific agricultural
a. climate
b. terrain
c. culture
d. situation with regard to world markets
3. Describe and apply the von Thnen model to both small-scale and
large-scale situations.
4. Identify the predominant agricultural practices associated with various
regions of the world.
5. Use agricultural practice to differentiate between less developed and
relatively developed countries.
6. Compare and contrast different types of rural landscapes and
a. linear villages
b. cluster villages
c. dispersed settlements
Unit 5: Industrialization and Economic Development
Chapters 10, 11
~ 2 weeks
Tentatively: Nov 14th- Dec 2nd (Thanksgiving Break)
Tests: Dec 2nd
Reading Assignments
Rubenstein, Chapter 10: Development & Chapter 11: Industry &
Unit Objectives and Activities
1. Use examples of human welfare indicators to distinguish between
relatively developed and less developed countries.
1. Use examples of economic indicators to classify countries as less
developed or relatively developed.
2. Draw the Brandt line on a world or regional map.
3. Compare and contrast different theories and models of economic
development and the relationship between less developed and relatively
developed countries.
1. Provide examples of the different sectors of a countrys economy and
explain the economic relationship between them.
Unit Objectives and Activities
1. Explain the Industrial Revolution by:
a. describing its origin
b. describing its diffusion and current pattern of industrial
2. Map regional manufacturing zones in each continent and identify the
following for each:
a. origin and resources
b. current strengths and/or problems

3. Compare and contrast preindustrial, industrial, and postindustrial life

and landscape.
4. Describe how site and situation factors influence the location of
manufacturing and give examples.
5. Discuss the problems created by or associated with industrialization in:
a. developed countries
b. developing countries
6. Make graphic models that describe the inputs and connections of
various industries.
Unit 6: Cities and Urban Land Use
Chapters 12 13
~ 1.5 2 weeks
Tentatively: Dec 5th- Dec 16th
Tests: Dec 16th
Reading Assignments
Rubenstein, Chapter 12: Services and Settlements
Rubenstein, Chapter 13: Urban Patterns
Unit Objectives and Activities
1. Contrast European and North American cities:
a. central business districts
b. suburbs and suburban growth
2. Compare and contrast elements of the following urban models:
a. concentric zone
b. sector
c. multiple-nuclei
d. galactic city/edge cities
3. Describe the move of retail and industry to the suburbs.
4. Explain the growth of suburbs in terms of social, transportation, and
economic changes.
5. Differentiate between three models of North American cities.
6. Compare and contrast spatial characteristics of cities in the following
a. Latin America
b. Africa
c. Southeast Asia
7. List and evaluate the problems of the inner city.
8. Do a Cultural Landscape Analysis of Portland ME
9. Explain and illustrate important models dealing with the urban
hierarchy for:
a. central-place theory
b. rank-size rule and primate cities
Unit 7: Cultural Patterns and Processes
Chapters 4 6, 7 (first 2 sections)
~ 2 2 weeks
Tentatively Dec 19th- Jan 13th
Tests: Dec 13th

Reading Assignment



Folk and Popular Culture

Ethnicity (1st 2 sections)

Unit Objectives and Activities- Chap 7

1. Describe the distribution of major ethnicities within the United States:
a) identify states/regions in which they are clustered
b) identify regions in which they are mostly absent
c) provide reasons for the present distribution
2. Examine case studies of ethnic conflicts from different regions.
Unit Objectives and Activities
1. Define culture and cultural geography.
2. Compare and contrast the following aspects of folk and popular
a. origins
b. methods of diffusion
c. culture regions
3. Examine specific examples of folk culture and regions.
4. Examine examples of specific popular cultural traits and discuss their
5. Discuss ways in which cultural traits are affected by and affect the
natural environment.
6. Discuss the role of racism and ethnocentrism in the understanding of
the cultural landscape.
Unit Objectives and Activities
1. Discuss the importance and role of language as an element of culture.
2. Explain how languages are classified and related.
3. Map the distribution of major language families worldwide.
4. Show the division of Europe into the following language groups and
give specific
5. examples from major groups:
a. Germanic
b. Slavic
c. Romance
6. Describe the following characteristics of English:
a. origin and historical development
b. worldwide diffusion
c. spatial variation
d. role in cultural convergence
7. Explain the how, why, and where of language change.
8. Discuss the regional and local variety in language using the following
a. slang
b. isogloss
c. accent

9. Explain how toponyms are derived and classified and give various
Unit Objectives and Activities
1. Identify the following characteristics of all major religions:
a. point of origin
b. method of diffusion
c. current distribution
d. landscape expression
2. Map the religious regions of the United States.
3. Discuss the major branches, their origins, and their current
distributions for the following religions:
a. Christianity
b. Islam
c. Buddhism
4. Distinguish between ethnic and universalizing religions:
a. holy sites
b. holy days
c. methods of diffusion
5. Describe ways in which the environment influences religion and ways
in which religions affect the natural environment.
6. Discuss various specific religious conflicts around the world in terms of
the following:
a. religion versus politics
b. religion versus religioninterfaith conflicts
c. religion versus religionintrafaith conflicts
Jan 17th- 20th
PING: due 20th
I review for the AP Exam by providing students with a copy of the Course Outline from
the AP Human Geography Course Description and asking them to define, illustrate, or
comment on each item. As well as, complete their PING project.
Teaching Strategies
The class time allotted to AP Geography is 75 minutes each day, five times a week from
August 31st, 2016-January 20th 2017. With regard to lab assignments using the Internet,
students receive at the beginning of the year a list of all the websites they will be
accessing throughout the course. Following is a lesson that I have found very successful
which allows students to utilize the Internet in correlating the relationship between
literacy rates and total fertility rates throughout the world. This lesson also provides
students with a good example of the interconnectedness of geographic themes that are
inherent through this course.
AP Exam Preparation:
To help prepare my students for the AP exam, almost every quiz assessment I give
them, and every exam has some form of free (constructed) response question which is
setup in the same format as those questions they will see on the AP exam. Likewise, unit

exams are comprehensive in nature, meaning they include not only questions from the
section of the course we have most recently covered but questions from earlier parts of
the course as well. With regard to how much time I allot for review before the AP Exam, it
is important that I take into consideration when planning my units the constant reality of
New England weather and the associated snow days I will lose class time for.
I try to allow for at least one week of review time after factoring in the loss of 5-6
school days due to inclement winter weather. As we move throughout the year, as noted
earlier, I require students to outline the major vocabulary terms from each unit along
with all the models/theories we have covered throughout the year so we can specifically
address these points during review sessions. Review sessions are typically held after
school or during our WINN periods, which are 45 minutes, once a week from January to
May. If students specifically ask, review sessions can also be held in the evening.
Final Exam Requirement:
Students will create a portfolio focused on two developing countries called the PING
For this project, you will be assigned TWO specific develoPING countries and will
research various geographical aspects of the country throughout the year. You will
gather information about the countries and organize it into a portfolio that will be
collected at the end of the year. You must also meet various checkpoints throughout
the year to ensure that you stay on top of your project. The goal of this project is to help
you become an expert on your specific countries, while simultaneously helping you
understand concepts of Human Geography in greater detail. We will start the year by
investigating the United States, a develoPED country, as a basis for comparison.
inch binder everything will be kept in the binder in the classroom
General Details:
Each student will choose different countries to research. Once you have
chosen your countries from the list, you must stick with it the entire year.
Your country portfolios will be due at different points throughout the year. The
of the portfolio due throughout the year will count TWICE - once during
whatever quarter it is collected and as a whole at the end of the year when ALL
pieces of the project are handed in. For the final submission of the whole
project, you can redo any piece or pieces of your portfolio to raise the total
grade (but you must include the originals with the revisions).
Certain assignments will be collected before the final portfolio is due. This is to
ensure that you are on the right track with your research and you are
keeping up with the assignments. The last thing I want to see is someone
waiting until the last minute to begin working on such an important
After each part of the portfolio is submitted, you will be required to take part in a
presentation where you must represent your country in a class wide
No late projects will be accepted under ANY circumstances! If you are absent
when something is due, make sure it gets into my hands that day.
Teacher Resources

The following videos/video series I have found to be extremely effective with

my students:
The Power of Place. Series of 24 videos from Annenberg/CPB. 2003. *Purchase the associated teachers guide.
We Built This City: New York, London, and Paris. Discovery Channel. 2003.
World in the Balance. PBS. 2004.
The Hot Dog Program. PBS. 1996.
Frontline. Various years produced. PBS.
Wide Angle. Various years produced. PBS.
The following atlases I have consistently used as a tool in my
Hudson, John C., editor. Goodes World Atlas, 22 edition. Rand McNally.
Goodall, Brian. The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography. Penguin Books.
Seager, Joni. The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World. Penguin Books. 2003.
The following Books/Journals are very effective resources for teaching this
AP Training at Taft University Summer of 2016 with Ken Jennings.
The Online Facebook Page and Collegeboard Discussion Board
Princeton Review. Cracking the AP Human Geography Exam, 2016 Edition
(College Test Preparation). N.p.: Princeton, 2015. Print.
I have made extensive use of the following On-Line Resources in the teaching
of this course:
About Geography.
Agriculture websites.
American Cities Atlas Project.
Amusing America.
AP Central/College Board.
Australian Slang.
Blank Outline Maps of the Countries and Continents of the World.
Canada resources.
CIA. The World Factbook 2006. Cities and
Classical Geopolitics.
Connecticut Cooperative Extension.
Country Reports.
Cultural Landscapes around the world.
Digital Atlas of the U.S.
Global Connections/PBS Judaism, Christianity, Islam.
Comparative Religions.
Countries A to Z.
Demographic Transition Model.
Ethnicity and race by countries.


European Union.

Food and agriculture atlas.
Foreign Newspaper Translator. *Really good site to look at foreign papers which can then be translated
into English.
Geography gateway.
Geography and map reading room (Library of Congress)
German Names.
Global Integrity.
Great Cities (searchable site).
Green Revolution.
Growing a Nation.
Historical Atlas of the 20th century.
Historical Maps Overview.
International Potato Center.
Internet Travel Guide (Gheos).
Language Maps Collection.
Language Maps and Graphs.
Languages by Country.
Las Vegas.
Maps and flags.
Maps of Los Angeles.
Market Gardening.
Modern Language Association (MLA)
Museum of the City of New York.
Music Lyrics.
National Center for Health Statistics.
National Geographic.
New York City: Five Points Urban Archaeology.
New York City Immigration.
New York City Public Library Digital Collection.
NOAA Aquaculture.
NOAA Maps.
One Planet, Many People.
Pop vs. Soda.
Population and Demography.
Population Reference Bureau.
Poverty Mapping.
Reference desk atlas and maps.
Six Billion Others.
United Nations Development Programme. Human Development Reports.
United Nations FAO. Food and Agriculture Organization.
United Nations High Commission for Refugees. Statistics.
United Nations Population Division. World Population; World Urbanization.
United Nations Statistical Division.
University of Michigan Documents Center. Statistical Resources on the Web.
University of Texas Map Library.
University of Virginia. Cultural Maps in American Studies.
Urban Studies.
US Census Bureau. American Fact Finder. [] *I have made great use of this
site when having students compile an analysis of the cultural landscape of our local area.
US Census Bureau. County and City Data Book.
US Census Bureau. Foreign Trade Statistics.


US Census Bureau. International Data Base. *Students use this site to create and analyze population
pyramids on both an American and International level. Therefore, hypothesizing based on the data, as to the
impact of population growth on both current and future cultural, political and economic concerns.
U.S. census Bureau Minority Links.
U.S. National Atlas.
U.S. Department of Agriculture. Census of Agriculture.
U.S. Freight Railroads.
U.S. Presidential Elections Atlas.
U.S. State Department.
Week magazine.
World Bank. Data & Statistics.
World Census Information.
World Cultural Landscapes.
World Cities.
World Atlas.
World Maps.
World Subway Systems.
Writing Systems and Languages (Omniglot).