Unit 4 in AP
® Environmental Science is about Earth’s systems and resources. It is heavy in Earth Science and is foundational to understanding environmental problems and solutions. Many teachers begin with ecology (Units 1 and 2) of the Course and Exam Description, while others begin with Unit 4 in AP
® Environmental Science. They do this for a variety of reasons.
In some schools, students have a strong background in Earth Science and beginning with this unit builds on previous knowledge. Other teachers have more knowledge in Earth Science and want to begin the year confident in the content. Some like to cover things like plate tectonics, weather and soil before ecology. For some its weather related. In colder parts of the county, soil testing needs to be done before the ground freezes. Conversely, in hotter climates, anything outside in Units 1 and 2 can be difficult due to heat.
What order should you choose?
You can choose whichever makes sense to you and many teachers start with Unit 1 and students do fine with ecology even without the Earth Science background. If you or your students have a stronger Biology background, starting with Unit 1 can build on previous knowledge. (Click for Unit 1 Resources) One drawback to starting with Unit 4 is that the formative and summative assessment resources on AP Classroom spiral and scaffold and become harder as the units continue. Weigh the different options and decide which is best for you and your students. You can even follow the order of the textbook or your own order and its fine.
My students have a stronger Biology background and have not had much Earth science since 6th grade. Unit 4 topics are difficult for them and I prefer to cover Ecology in Unit 1 at the start of the year.
Unit 4 AP
® Environmental Science Resources
Below are resources for Unit 4 in AP
® Environmental Science of the Course and Exam Description. No teacher will do all of these items! Choose the ones that best serve your students, lab equipment and what seems fun to you!
Most of the resources linked here are free and can be found on a different post on my website, or the link takes you directly to the website with that resource. I do have links to some paid items from various locations for your reference as many teachers like to see those options too.
Note: This page works best on a regular computer or laptop, its harder to navigate on a phone.
What about content? Click to learn about different ways to deliver content besides powerpoints.
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