AP Human Geography - Brookwood High School Ms. Blankenship

Spring Syllabus

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AP Human Geography

Mrs. Blankenship

Spring Semester 2013


Happy second semester!  This is an advanced placement class and I will treat you as a student planning to excel in college.  Study skills and writing assignments included in this class will prepare you for future high school and college courses. Please be sure to read the entire syllabus, as this will affect the rest of this semester.


Course Description

The purpose of the Advanced Placement course in Human Geography is to introduce students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of Earth’s surface.  Students will employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to analyze human social organization and its environmental consequences.  Students will also learn about the methods and tools geographers use in their science and practice.


Goals and Topics

On successful completion of the course, the student will be able to:


·         use and think about maps and spatial data sets.  Geography is fundamentally concerned with the ways in which patterns on Earth’s surface reflect and influence physical and human processes.  As such, maps and spatial data are fundamental to the discipline and learning to use and think about them is critical to geographic literacy. 


·         understand and interpret the implications of associations among phenomena in places.  Geography looks at the world from a spatial perspective—seeking to understand the changing spatial organization and material character of Earth’s surface. 


·         recognize and interpret at different scales the relationships among patterns and processes.  Geographical analysis requires a sensitivity to scale—not just as a spatial category but as a framework for understanding how events and processes at different scales influence one another.  


·         define regions and evaluate the regionalization process.  Geography is concerned not simply with describing patterns but with analyzing how they came about and what they mean.  Students will see regions as objects of analysis and exploration and move beyond simply locating and describing regions to considering how and why they come into being—and what they reveal about the changing character of the world in which we live.


·        characterize and analyze changing interconnections among places.  At the heart of a 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 will better understand that relationships among places are constantly changing, and they will understand how and why change occurs.





We will cover a lot of interesting information in this course.  The aim of this AP course is to provide students with a learning experience equivalent to that obtained in most college introductory Human Geography classes.  Content in this course is focused on input and problem solving activities and fieldwork.  Content will be geared for development of critical thinking skills.  Human Geography has many allied fields to which it is related.  Allied fields to be included in this course are: political science, demography, anthropology, sociology, history, psychology, economics, regional economics, language, religious studies, urban social science, and urban planning.  Reading strategies, study skills, map skills, analytical strategies, time management, note taking, test-taking strategies, and current events will all be covered in this course.  We will also complete writing assignments to prepare you to take the 10th grade Gateway Test.  You will be required to pass the Gateway before you graduate from high school.


Gwinnett County Public School Gateway Exam:

All students must demonstrate knowledge of the Gwinnett County Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum.  Students were provided a booklet listing each of these AKS by course at the beginning of the school year. Ninth graders enrolling in 1998-99 and beyond will need to pass the Gwinnett County Gateway Exam over the AKS before graduation.  The Gateway Exam will measure students' ability to write effectively about the science and social studies AKS covered in 9th and 10th grades.  The exam will be administered in the spring of the 10th grade year.  Students will have several opportunities to retake the exam if they are not successful the first time.


This course will be divided into seven units and one mini unit.  These units will be covered second semester.  They include:


Unit Four

I.                   Political Organization of Space

A.     Territorial dimensions of politics

1.       The concept of territoriality

2.       The nature and meaning of boundaries

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

B.     Evolution of the contemporary political pattern

1.       Territorial assumptions underlying the nation-state ideal

2.       Colonialism and imperialism

3.       Internal political boundaries and arrangements

C.     Challenges to inherited political-territorial arrangements

1.       Changing nature of sovereignty

2.       Fragmentation, unification, alliance

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






Unit Five
II.                Agricultural and Rural Land Use

A.     Development and diffusion of agriculture

1.       Neolithic Agricultural Revolution

2.       Evolution of energy sources and technology

3.       Regions of plant and animal domestication

B.     Major agricultural production regions

1.       Agricultural systems associated with major bio-climatic zones

2.       Production and food supply:  linkages and flows

C.     Rural land use and change

1.       Land use and location models

2.       Settlement patterns and urban-rural connection

3.       Environmental and social impacts of intensification

D.     Impacts of modern agricultural change

1.       Green Revolution

2.       Consumption, nutrition, and hunger

3.       Industrial/commercial agriculture

4.       Environmental change:  desertification, deforestation, etc.


Unit Six
III.             Industrialization and Economic Development

A.     Character of industrialization

1.       Economic sectors:  primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary

2.       Specialization in places and the concept of comparative advantage

3.       Transport and communications

4.       Models of industrial location

B.     Spatial aspects of the rise of industrial economies

1.       Changing energy sources and technology

2.       Economic cores and peripheries

3.       Models of economic development and their geographic critiques

C.     Contemporary global patterns of industrialization

1.       Linkages and interdependencies

2.       Changing patterns of economic activity

3.       Deindustrialization

4.       Economic development initiatives:  government policies

D.     Impacts of industrialization

1.       Time-space compression

2.       Social stratification

3.       Health and quality of life

4.       Environmental change and issues of sustainability









Unit Seven
IV.              Cities and Urban Land Use

A.     Definitions of urbanism

B.     Origin and evolution of cities

1.       Historical patterns of  urbanization

2.       Cultural context and urban form

3.       Urban growth and rural-urban migration

4.       Rise of megacities

5.       Models of urban systems

6.       Comparative models of internal city structure

C.     Functional character of contemporary cities

1.       Changing employment mix

2.       Changing demographic and social structures

D.     Built environment and social space

1.       Transportation and infrastructure

2.       Political organization or urban areas

3.       Locational decisions, conflicts, and hazards

4.       Uneven development, ghettoization, and gentrification

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

6.       Impacts of suburbanization and edge cities

E.      Responses to urban growth

1.       Urban planning and design

2.       Community action and intiatives

Mini Unit

         V.      Environmental Studies


Texts:             DeBlij, H.J. and Murphy, Alexander B.  Human Geography – People, Place and Culture.  New Jersey, 2007

Rubenstein, James.  An Introduction to Human Geography.  New Jersey, 1999.


*We will also use a large number of additional textbooks that will be available in the classroom.


Required Supplies:

·        3 Ring Loose-leaf Binder

·        7 Dividers labeled:  Geography, Population, Culture, Political Organization, Agriculture, Industry/Economics, Urban Land Use

·        Colored Pencils and a Highlighter 

·        One of the following for classroom use – a box of Kleenex

Paper towels


Grades                                                                          Grading Scale

Daily Work (Classwork, Homework, Quizzes)  25%                             A+       90-100

Presentations/Projects/Writing Assignments                   10%                             A         80-89

Tests                                                                            45%                             B          74-79

Final Exam                                                                   20%                             C         70-73

            F          0-69

The final exam grade is divided into two parts - Performance exam 8% and Objective exam 12%



Due to the increased course requirements and greater degree of difficulty, AP courses have an additional 10 points added to the student’s final average.

I will only figure grades by appointment after school.  Class time is for instruction.  If you think a mistake has been made in averaging your grade, let me know immediately.



Assignments this semester will include a variety of reading, handouts, projects, journals, presentations, scrapbooks, papers, portfolios, map skills, and study skills.  All assignments are expected to be turned in on time and complete.  To receive full credit for an assignment, it must be complete, written in blue or black ink, legible, neat, organized, and turned in on time.  IF YOU ARE PRESENT DURING ANY PART OF THE SCHOOL DAY, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR TURNING IN ANY ASSIGNMENTS THAT ARE DUE BEFORE YOU LEAVE SCHOOL.  (This includes projects and papers.  All assignments means ALL assignments!)


Late Work

Late work will be accepted one day late for 75% credit.  Assignments more than one day late will not be accepted.  This includes projects and papers!


Make-Up Work

When you are absent, it is YOUR responsibility to find out the material you missed and make-up any assignments.  Only excused absentees will be able to make-up work, but unexcused absentees should still get missed assignments to prepare for tests.  There is a make-up notebook that will have the information and any handouts you missed.  At the front of the notebook there are contracts that you and I must sign stating the assignments you missed and the date when you will turn them in to me.  You have 5 days, starting the day you return, to sign the contract.  Specific details will be decided on the contract. 



I enforce Brookwood High School discipline policies.  Some important guidelines for classroom behavior are listed below.

·        Be on time to class.

·        Bring all books and materials to class.

·        Turn in assignments on time.

·        No sleeping or eating (don’t even think about bringing food into the classroom!)


***Cheating will not be tolerated.  Copying any type of work is considered cheating, even if it is only homework.  Cheating will result in a zero for the grade and will not be allowed to make-up.  Bottom-line – don’t cheat!



If behavior problems occur, after-school detention will be assigned.  Skipped detentions will be referred to the administration.




















































Please sign and return this portion of the course guide by the end of the first week of school.


I have read and understand the responsibilities and procedures of AP Human Geography.


______________________________            ____________            ________________

Student Signature                                              Date                             Home Phone #


______________________________            ____________            ________________

Parent Signature                                               Date                             Daytime Phone #



Parents:  If you need to speak with me, please call the school at 770-978-5082 or contact me through e-mail.  My current e-mail address is: