The AP Human Geography Course and Exam Description from the College Board includes a content outline in the form of Unit Guides which is structured around, from most general to most specific, big ideas, enduring understandings, learning objectives, and essential knowledge pieces as per Understanding by Design® pedagogy. This leads to a thematic orientation of the course. The big ideas of the course are presented as follows:
BIG IDEA 1: PATTERNS AND SPATIAL ORGANIZATION (PSO)
Spatial patterns and organization of human society are arranged according to political, historical, cultural, and economic factors.
BIG IDEA 2: IMPACTS AND INTERACTIONS (IMP)
Complex relationships of cause and effect exist among people, their environments, and historical and contemporary actions.
BIG IDEA 3: SPATIAL PROCESS AND SOCIETAL CHANGE (SPS)
A spatial perspective allows for a focus on the ways phenomena are related to one another in particular places, which in turn allows for the examination of human organization and its environmental consequences.
The big ideas have components across the course, evident in the Unit Guides which breaks the course into seven units, and further into topics. Our course will model this approach with each unit being a module, and each topic being a lesson. Each topic/lesson is tied to a specific subskill of the identified AP Human Geography Skills.
The AP Human Geography course outlines five basic skills that provide the backbone for fostering students’ critical thinking and modeling:
Concepts and Processes: Analyze geographic theories, approaches, concepts, processes, or models in theoretical and applied contexts.
Spatial Relationships: Analyze geographic patterns, relationships, and outcomes in applied contexts.
Data Analysis: Analyze and interpret quantitative geographic data represented in maps, tables, charts, graphs, satellite images, and infographics.
Source Analysis: Analyze and interpret qualitative geographic information represented in maps, images (e.g., satellite, photographs, cartoons), and landscapes.
Scale Analysis: Analyze geographic theories, approaches, concepts, processes, and models across geographic scales to explain spatial relationships.
The goal for the course is for students to become more geoliterate, more engaged in contemporary global issues, and more informed about multicultural viewpoints.
Students will see geography as a discipline relevant to the world in which they live; as a source of ideas for identifying, clarifying, and solving problems at various scales; and as a key component of building global citizenship and environmental stewardship.