AP Environmental Science (lab)

1.5 Credits
36 weeks
Female Biologist Examining Plants and Vegetation in Nature
Begins July 2024

Enrollment for the 2023-2024 school year is no longer available. Students may register now for the 2024-2025 school year and will be assigned to a course section after July 1, 2024.

With the current changes in global climate, rising sea levels, and warming oceans, students need to discover the state of Earth’s systems and the consequences of human activities. AP Environmental Science provides students with a global view of their world and their role in it. It examines the scientific principles and concepts required to understand the interrelationships between ocean, land, and atmosphere that guide the natural world and allow Earth to be a planet suitable for life. Laboratory activities within the course support their learning of these relationships through reflective, hands-on, or virtual experiences. In addition, students identify and analyze environmental problems that are natural and human-made, determining their ecological footprint in the world to discover how their activities affect the world around them. They evaluate the relative risks associated with environmental problems and examine alternative solutions, such as clean energy, sustainable practices, and conservation, for resolving or preventing future environmental problems.



Major Topics and Concepts

Segment 1:

Module 1Ecosystems

  • 01.00 Ecosystems Checklist
  • 01.01 Introduction to Ecosystems
  • 01.02 Biomes
  • 01.03 Cycles
  • 01.04 Primary Productivity
  • 01.05 Trophic Levels and Energy Flow
  • 01.06 Food Chains and Food Webs
  • 01.07 Ecosystems Discussion-Based Assessment
  • 01.08 Ecosystems Module Exam

Module 2Biodiversity and Populations

  • 02.00 Biodiversity and Populations Checklist
  • 02.01 Biodiversity
  • 02.02 Ecological Relationships
  • 02.03 Natural Disruptions
  • 02.04 Adaptation and Succession
  • 02.05 Population Species
  • 02.06 Population Growth
  • 02.07 Demographics
  • 02.08 Human Population
  • 02.09 Biodiversity and Populations Discussion-Based Assessment
  • 02.10 Biodiversity and Populations Module Exam

Module 3Earth Systems

  • 03.00 Earth Systems Checklist
  • 03.01 Plate Tectonics
  • 03.02 Soil and Watersheds
  • 03.03 Atmosphere and Wind
  • 03.04 Solar Radiation and Seasons
  • 03.05 Weather and Climate
  • 03.06 Earth Systems Discussion-Based Assessment
  • 03.07 Earth Systems Module Exam

Module 4Natural Resources

  • 04.00 Natural Resources Checklist
  • 04.01 Tragedy of the Commons
  • 04.02 Agricultural Practices
  • 04.03 Food Production
  • 04.04 Mining and Urbanization
  • 04.05 Ecological Footprints
  • 04.06 Sustainability
  • 04.07 Pest Management
  • 04.08 Natural Resources Discussion-Based Assessment
  • 04.09 Natural Resources Module Exam
  • 04.10 Segment One Exam

Segment 2:

Module 5Energy Resources

  • 05.00 Energy Resources Checklist
  • 05.01 Energy Sources
  • 05.02 Fossil Fuels
  • 05.03 Nuclear Energy
  • 05.04 Renewable Energy Resources I
  • 05.05 Renewable Energy Resources II
  • 05.06 Energy Conservation
  • 05.07 Energy Resources Discussion-Based Assessment
  • 05.08 Energy Resources Module Exam

Module 6Air Pollution

  • 06.00 Air Pollution Checklist
  • 06.01 Introduction to Air Pollution
  • 06.02 Smog
  • 06.03 Air Pollutants
  • 06.04 Acid Deposition
  • 06.05 Noise Pollution
  • 06.06 Air Pollution Discussion-Based Assessment
  • 06.07 Air Pollution Module Exam

Module 7Water and Land Pollution

  • 07.00 Water and Land Pollution Checklist
  • 07.01 Effects of Pollutants
  • 07.02 Impact on Aquatic Ecosystems
  • 07.03 Solid Waste
  • 07.04 Sewage Treatment
  • 07.05 Lethal Dose Response
  • 07.06 Human Health and Diseases
  • 07.07 Water and Land Pollution Discussion-Based Assessment
  • 07.08 Water and Land Pollution Module Exam

Module 8Global Change

  • 08.00 Global Change Checklist
  • 08.01 Ozone Depletion
  • 08.02 Greenhouse Effect
  • 08.03 Global Climate Change
  • 08.04 Effects on Oceans
  • 08.05 Threats to Biodiversity
  • 08.06 Global Change Discussion-Based Assessment
  • 08.07 Global Change Module Exam
  • 08.08 AP Exam Prep
  • 08.09 Segment Two Exam

Course Materials

AP Course & Exam Registration Requirements

College Board requires students to register for AP exams no later than November 13th (individual schools may set earlier deadlines).

All VLACS AP students are required to enroll in the “course only” section in My AP.  Instructions for joining My AP will be posted on each VLACS course page and instructors are available to help with this process.

Students who plan to take the corresponding AP exam must arrange to take the exam at a local school that administers it. To register for an AP Exam, the local school will enroll the student in an “exam only” section in My AP.  Students should follow these steps:

  • Search for a local test site through this resource of contact AP Services for Students at 888-225-5427 [email protected]. That office can give you contact information for local AP coordinators who may be willing to test outside students. Students are then responsible for contacting coordinators on that list to see if one can arrange to test for you. You should do this no later than October 2nd. Note that schools may have their own local deadlines for receiving requests from outside students to test at their school so we recommend doing this as soon as possible
  • The AP coordinator who agrees to assist you must provide a join code for an “exam only” section in My AP. You’ll use the join code to join the section so that the AP coordinator can order your exam.

Please note that, if a school allows a student to register after the 11/13 deadline, there will be a $40 late exam fee. There will also be a $40 canceled/unused exam fee if a student registers and then cancels his/her exam or if the student does not show up on test day.

More information is available on the College Board’s website: https://apstudents.collegeboard.org/



Students will demonstrate an understanding of ecosystems by explaining interactions between organisms and their environment, describing different forms of energy, and explaining energy transfer between trophic levels.


Students will demonstrate an understanding of biodiversity by explaining the role of biodiversity within ecological systems, explaining the influence of ecological events on biodiversity, and describing factors that influence population growth.

Earth Systems

Students will demonstrate an understanding of Earth systems by describing the principles of plate tectonics, explaining the role of the atmosphere, and explaining principles of weather formation.

Natural Resources

Students will demonstrate an understanding of natural resources by explaining the advantages and disadvantages of the Green Revolution, describing the effects of urbanization on the environment, and explaining the complexities of sustainable practices.

Energy Resources

Students will demonstrate an understanding of energy resources by differentiating between renewable and nonrenewable energy resources, describing the environmental impact of nuclear energy, and comparing hydroelectricity and wind power.

Air Pollution

Students will demonstrate an understanding of air pollution by differentiating between primary and secondary pollutants, describing the environmental effects of acid decomposition, and explaining the effects of noise pollution.

Water & Land Pollution

Students will demonstrate an understanding of water and land pollution by describing the effects that pollutants have on land and water, explaining solid waste treatment and disposal processes, and explaining the effects of pollution on human health.

Global Changes

Students will demonstrate an understanding of global change by describing the effects of greenhouse gasses on the environment, analyzing the effects of climate change on ecosystems, and explaining threats to biodiversity.