­­­­Advanced Placement Human Geography

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­­­­Advanced Placement Human Geography

Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy

Instructor: Michael Fair

e-mail: mfair@tjca.org

phone: (828) 657-9998



        AP Human Geography is a college-level course that examines where people live and why. In a broader definition, human geography will provide an opportunity for students to study the patterns that exist on the earth’s surface that are a result of human interactions. The purpose of this course is to utilize geographic processes in order to analyze spatial patterns that are evident in the world in which we live. Additionally, students will examine the deeper issues behind current events to gain a better understanding of why the world looks like and operates the way it does. Throughout this course, a strong emphasis will be placed on reading skills, writing skills, and the submission of quality work. Students will be expected to read and comprehend texts and supplemental materials written at a college reading level. Additionally, students will be expected to submit high quality work as measured by university standards.

        AP Human Geography will enhance students’ understanding of the world in which they live by introducing them to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human interaction, use, and alteration of Earth’s surface. Students will use the same tools and techniques that geographers use to examine worldwide human social organization and its environmental consequences. In employing these skills, students will finish this course with a better understanding of how culture, religion, politics, and many other factors contribute to a global economy and help determine where and how people live.



        Advanced placement courses offer motivated students a challenging year of study. This course is taught at a college level and will require a significantly larger workload than a typical high school course. Students can expect homework every day, including many weekends and holidays. All students will take the AP test in May, and those who score a 3, 4, or 5 will receive college credit. (Some colleges and universities do not accept a 3 as a passing score. Please check each institution’s specific requirements.) Because the pace of this course is much faster than most other courses, it is essential that students have good attendance and complete all readings and assignments in a timely manner. Students are expected to be self-motivated, organized, and practice good time management skills. Those who fall behind will have difficulty catching up.  Additionally, students will be exposed to many world issues – many of them controversial in nature – and are encouraged to participate in class discussions. These topics will range in difficulty and may include but are not limited to globalization, racial and cultural issues, differing forms of government, fertility rates, population control policies, agricultural practices, economic dilemmas, city design, and many others.

  • 1 - One-inch binder (or larger)

  • Notebook paper (re-supplied throughout the year)

  • Pen / pencil

Students should bring their binder to class each day and will be expected to keep it organized as specified by the teacher. Students may choose to take their binder home periodically for assistance studying and staying organized.



  • Fouberg, Murphy, & Blij. Human Geography People, Place, and Culture. 9th ed. Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2009.

  • Diamond, Jared. Collapse, How Societies Chose to Fail or Succeed, Penguin Group Inc. 2005.

(Students will be issued one textbook at the beginning of the year with a unique identification number and will be responsible for returning the same book at the end of the year. Lost or damaged textbooks will result in a fine of approximately $96.95)

Marsh, Alagona. Barron’s AP Human Geography. 4th ed.

ISBN-10: 0764143727

(This AP test preparation paperback can be found on Amazon for a variety of prices.)


60% …… Assessments:  (Chapter and Unit tests, quizzes)

40% …… Graded work:  (homework, classwork, notebook checks, projects.)

(Note: Late work will NOT be accepted. Students will be given one extra day to turn in any late assignment for half credit. The only exception is in the case of an excused absence. Students will be given two days for every one day missed to make up their work for full credit. Blackboard is the resource to consult in these circumstances.)
Students will keep a binder of all homework, notes, handouts, and activities completed throughout the year. This binder will be a part of their grade and, if organized properly, will help tremendously in studying for each exam. In class, students will complete a variety of work including notes, essays, mapping activities, current event and video write-ups, discussions, and debates.

For homework, students will be required to read and take notes on each chapter using the teacher-created key terms as a guide. After notes are graded, students are to then place them in their binder within the proper section. The length of time spent on each chapter will vary from about one to two weeks.


This course finishes with a cumulative exam for possible college credit, so a heavy emphasis will be placed on student test scores. Quizzes will be given weekly based upon the required readings, and each chapter will culminate with a comprehensive test.

Please check the class website for announcements and updates.


For some students, this will be the first time taking any AP class. It is suggested that parents and students sit down together on a weekly basis to watch a world news program or read a newspaper that features an international section. A basic understanding of current events is necessary and vital to understanding course content. It is also imperative that students have a support system at home in order to learn organization and time management skills. Without support from home and a specified time to study each evening, first-time AP students will struggle with reading and comprehending college-level material. Rest assured that, while in school, students will receive all the support they need in order to be successful. My passion as a teacher is teaching kids the skills needed to be successful in life and helping students become the best that they are capable of becoming by reaching their full potential.
As determined by the National Geography Standards, students who successfully complete this course will be able to:


1. Use and think about maps and spatial data.

The study of geography is focused on the ways in which humans interact with the environment and how the natural landscape affects the lives of people throughout the world. Learning to think about and solve problems by using maps to study and analyze spatial data is critical to establishing a firm foundation in this course.


2. Understand and interpret the implications of associations among phenomena in places.

The study of geography looks at the world from a spatial perspective in trying to understand how phenomena are related to one another in particular places on the earth. Students will learn to recognize, interpret, and assess the nature and significance of the relationships of phenomena that occur in the same place. Thus, the goal is to understand how values, politics, and economics all work together to create particular types of cultural landscapes.


3. Recognize and interpret at different scales the relationships among patterns and processes.  

Geographical analysis requires a closer look at scale as a framework for understanding how events and processes at different scales influence one another. Students should understand that phenomena at one scale (e.g., local) may be influenced by developments at other scales (e.g., regional, national, or global). Special consideration should be given to processes operating at multiple scales when seeking explanations of geographic patterns and arrangements.


4. Define regions and evaluate the regionalization process.

Geography is concerned not only with describing patterns, but with analyzing how they came about and what they mean. Students should be able to move from simply locating and describing regions to considering how and why they come into being. Such thinking is necessary to understanding the changing nature of the world we live in.


5. Characterize and analyze changing interconnections among places.

At the heart of geographical perspective is a concern with the ways in which events and processes operating in one place can influence those operating at other places. Students should view places and patterns not in isolation, but in terms of their spatial and functional relationship with other places and patterns. Additionally, they should strive to be aware that those relationships are constantly changing and seek to understand how and why change occurs.


I. Geography: Its Nature and Perspectives

The AP Human Geography course studies the interconnectedness of people, places, and events. Students will learn the concepts of location, space, place, scale, pattern, regionalization, and globalization. These concepts are basic to students’ understanding of spatial interaction and spatial behavior, population growth and movement, culture, economics, politics, and urbanization. Students will learn how to use maps and to apply geographical skills to interpret patterns or organization. The outcome of this course should give students a sophisticated view of the modern world and allow students to recognize the relevance of academic geography to daily life.

II. Population

An understanding of how human population is organized is fundamental to the study of human geography. Students will use the themes of scale, pattern, and interdependence to analyze the distribution of the human population at different scales: local community, state, national, continental, or global. Fertility rates, mortality rates, and migration can used to assess population growth in lesser developed countries and in more developed countries. Analysis of refugee flows, immigration, and internal migration patterns give students a sense of how political disputes, regional differences and employment rates are all related. Students can measure contemporary growth trends by studying demographic transitions and are then in a position to evaluate major population policies.
III. Cultural Patterns and Processes

Understanding the world’s regional variations as affected by language, religion, race, ethnicity, and gender is vital to comprehending how cultural patterns vary from the local scale to the global scale. The course explores the diffusion of cultures as it relates to language and dialects, agricultural practices, and religion and the resulting effect cultural diffusion has on human – environment interaction. Culture is expressed in landscapes that are unique to cultural identity, and the study of built environments enables the geographer to interpret unique values, tastes, and beliefs.

IV. Political Organization of Space

This section of the course examines the political organization of the world’s territory and how political patterns affect a wide range of activities. Students will be introduced to the forces that have shaped the modern political map and will study closer how the basic structure of political boundaries are often inconsistent with ethnic, economic, and environmental patterns. Students will study political organizations at the national level (such as NATO, the European Union, and NAFTA) and at local levels (such as electoral districts and municipal boundaries).

V. Agriculture and Land Use

Students will examine the origin and the spread of domestication to understand the effect that current agricultural trends have on the world. The course then explores the major agricultural production industries and regions in the contemporary world. Students will then seek explanations for the location of major agricultural activities and the impact of modern farming practices on worldwide nutrition rates.

VI. Industrialization and Economic Development

The interaction of factors such as natural resource locations, culture, politics, and history can have direct influence on economic activity. Students will learn about the geographic elements of industrialization and the rise of less developed countries and more developed countries. Ideas regarding the international division of labor, economic globalization, and resource and market dependence need to be studied in order to understand disparities between countries.

VII. Cities and Urban Land Use

Urban Geography analyzes cities to study their location, current and historical distribution, functions, reasons for growth, linkage, and communication. Students will also study the form, structure, and landscape of cities to see how they function as places to live and work. Additionally, comparisons between cities in different countries will be analyzed in greater detail to illustrate how differing economic systems and cultural values can lead to variations in the spatial structures and landscapes of urban places. Students also examine trends in current urban development and evaluate urban planning design initiatives.



Content/Unit Description

% of AP Exam




  • Define geography, human geography; explain the meaning of the spatial perspective.

  • Evolution of key geographical concepts and models associated with notable geographers

  • Master key concepts underlying the geographical perspective: location, space, place, scale, pattern, movement and human-environment

  • Master key geographical skills

  • How to use, interpret, analyze and think about landscapes, maps and spatial data including

  1. Identify types of scale and projections used in mapmaking;

  2. Identify advantages and disadvantages of different projections.

  3. Distinguish between different types of maps and mapped information (e.g., dot distribution, thematic, etc.) and provide explanations of strengths and weaknesses of each and how to read and interpret the various maps.

  • How to understand and interpret the implications of associations among phenomena in places

  • How to recognize and interpret at different scales the relationships among patterns and processes

  • How to define regions and evaluate the regionalization process

  • How to characterize and analyze changing interconnections among places including globalization

  • Explain how geographers classify each of the following and provide examples of each:

  1. distributions

  2. locations

  3. regions

  • Identify how each of the following plays a role in mapmaking:

    1. simplification

    2. categorization

    3. symbolization

    4. induction

  • List different types (models) of diffusion and provide examples/ illustrations of each in the real world.

  • Introduce and become familiar with new geographic technologies, such as GIS and GPS

  • Identify sources of geographical ideas and data: the field, census data

5 – 10 %

de Blij, Ch 1

Landscape Analysis Essay

Mapping Activities
Landscape Analysis Essay

Introduction to ESRI on line GIS

Guided Notes Chp 1

2 weeks


1) Define geographic concepts at the end of chapter 1 in de Blij text.

2) Compare various map projections. State benefits and limitations of each.

3) Landscape Analysis Essay

4) Mapping Activities

5) Complete Guided Notes Chapter 1


1) Unit test consisting of 2 parts: multiple choice questions and FRQ section.

Content/Unit Description

% of AP Exam




  • Understand geographical analysis of population including

  1. Density, distribution, and scale and consequences of various densities and distributions

  2. Patterns of composition: age, sex, race, and ethnicity

  3. Population and natural hazards: past, present, and future

  4. Population growth and decline over time and space

  • Historical trends and projections for the future including

  1. Theories of population growth, including the Demographic Model

  2. Patterns of fertility, mortality, and health

  3. Regional variations of demographic transition

  4. Effects of population policies

  5. Population movement

  1. Push and pull factors

  2. Major voluntary and involuntary migrations at different scales

  3. Migration selectivity

  4. Short-term, local movements, and activity space



de Blij, Ch 2,3

Population Pyramid Project

Mapping – Population Density
Demographic Model Activity
Guided Notes

3 weeks


1) Define geographic concepts at the end of chapters 2,3 in de Blij text.

2) Using census data, create population pyramid for core, periphery and semi-periphery country.

3) Explain demographic transition model and provide examples.

4) Food policy assessment using census data

5) Population Pyramid Project / Essay

6) Mapping Activity - Global Population Densities

7) Demographic Model Activity

8) Guided Notes Chapters 2 & 3


1) Unit test consisting of 2 parts: multiple choice questions and FRQ section.

Content/Unit Description

% of AP




III Cultural Patterns and Process

  • Understand concepts of culture and identify

1. Traits

2. Diffusion

3. Acculturation

4. Cultural regions

  • Cultural differences including an understanding of

1. Language

2. Religion

3. Ethnicity

4. Gender

5. Popular and folk culture

  • C. Environmental impact of cultural attitudes and practices

  • D. Cultural landscapes and cultural identity

1. Values and preferences

2. Symbolic landscapes and sense of place

13 -17%

de Blij, Ch 4-7
Graphic Organizer

World Religion

Guided Notes

5 weeks


1) Define geographic concepts at the end of chapters 4-7 in de Blij text.

2) Create a graphic organizer comparing Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.

3) Develop a power point on a major world religion and present to classroom.

4) Guided Notes 4-7


1) Unit test consisting of 2 parts: multiple choice questions and FRQ section.

Content/Unit Description

% of AP




IV. Political Organization of Space

  • Understand the territorial dimensions of politics including

  1. The concept of territoriality

  2. The nature and meaning of boundaries

  3. Influences of boundaries on identity, interaction, and exchange

  • Understand the evolution of the contemporary political pattern including

  1. The nation-state concept

  2. Colonialism and imperialism

  3. Federal and unitary states

  • Identify the challenges to inherited political-territorial arrangements including

  1. Changing nature of sovereignty

  2. Fragmentation, devolution, unification, alliance

  3. Spatial relationships between political patterns, patterns of ethnicity, economy, and environment

  4. Electoral geography, including gerrymandering


de Blij, Ch 8
Presentation on the concept of nation-states
Video discussion questions

2 weeks


1) Define geographic concepts at the end of chapters 8 in de Blij text.

2) Research and give a presentation on a stateless nation, nation-state, and multinational state.

3) Watch Annenberg Foundation video on stateless nations and answer questions to prepare for class discussion on topic.


1) Unit test consisting of 2 parts: multiple choice questions and FRQ section.

Content/Unit Description

% of AP




V. Agricultural and Rural Land Use

  • Understand the development and diffusion of agriculture including

  1. Neolithic Agricultural Revolution

  2. Second Agricultural Revolution

  3. 3. Current Organic Revolution

  • Identify major agricultural production regions including

  1. Agricultural systems associated with major bio- climatic zones

  2. Variations within major zones and effects of markets

  3. Linkages and flows among regions of food production and consumption

  • Identify and distinguish rural land use and settlement patterns including

  1. Models of land use, including von Thünen's model

  2. Settlement patterns associated with major agricultural types

  • Understand the modern commercial agriculture

  1. The Third Agricultural Revolution

  2. Green Revolution

  3. Biotechnology

  4. Spatial organization and diffusion of industrial agriculture

  5. Future food supplies and environmental impacts of agriculture

13 – 17%

de Blij, Ch 11

2 weeks


1) Define geographic concepts at the end of chapter 11 in de Blij text

2) Using data, analyze location of various crops and explain impact on local development

3) Explain how agriculture developed at various hearths

4) Describe and explain the three agricultural revolutions and their impact on society.

5) Visit local organic farm.

6) Guided Notes Chapter 11.


1) Unit test consisting of 2 parts: multiple choice questions (48 seconds per question) and FRQ’s

Content/Unit Description

% of AP






  • Understand key concepts in industrialization and development

  • Understand growth and diffusion of industrialization including

  1. The changing roles of energy and technology

  2. Industrial Revolution

  3. Evolution of economic cores and peripheries

  4. Geographic critiques of models of economic localization (i.e., land rent, comparative costs of transportation), industrial location, economic development, and world systems

  • Understand contemporary patterns and impacts of industrialization and development including

  1. Spatial organization of the world economy

  2. Variations in levels of development

  3. Deindustrialization and economic restructuring

  4. Pollution, health, and quality of life

  5. Industrialization, environmental change, and sustainability

  6. Local development initiatives: government policies


de Blij, Ch 10,

Chapter 10, 12,13,14

4 weeks

Activities –

1) Define geographic concepts at the end of chapters 10, 12-14 in de Blij text

2) Compare Rostow’s and Wallerstein’s models of development

3) Create a chart listing various countries as core, periphery, and semi-periphery

4) Guided Notes Chapter 10, 12, 13, 15


1) Unit test consisting of 2 parts: multiple choice questions (48 seconds per question) and FRQ section.

Suggested FRQ 2001 AP Exam #3, 2003 AP Exam #2, 2004 AP Exam #1

2006 AP Exam #2

Content/Unit Description

% of AP




VII. Cities and Urban Land Use

  • Understand the definitions of cities and urbanism

  • Understand and become familiar with the origins and evolution of cities including

    1. Historical patterns of urbanization

    2. Rural-urban migration and urban growth

    3. Global cities and megacities

    4. Models of urban systems

  • Functional character of contemporary cities

    1. Changing employment mix

    2. Changing demographic and social structures

  • Identify and understand the built environment and social space including

1. Comparative models of internal city structure

2. Transportation and infrastructure

3. Political organization of urban areas

4. Urban planning and design

5. Patterns of race, ethnicity, gender, and class

6. Uneven development, ghettoization, and gentrification

7. Impacts of suburbanization and edge cities

  • Understanding GIS in Describing and Interpreting the Urbanized Landscape


de Blij, Ch 9

1 week


1) Define geographic concepts at the end of chapter 9 in de Blij text

2) Compare the following models (concentric, sector, multiple nuclei)

3) Tour the County Planning Department. Meet with County Planners

4) Part 2 of GIS Project

1) Unit test consisting of 2 parts: multiple choice questions (48 seconds per question) and FRQ section. Suggested FRQ - 2001 AP Exam #2- 2002 AP Exam #3, - 2005 AP Exam #3

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