AP Environmental Science (Sem 1)

Enrollment Message:

ATTENTION: Due to rigor and testing requirements in a year-long course, we recommend that a student be enrolled in Sem 2 at the time of their Sem 1 enrollment. Enrolling early increases likelihood of staying with the same instructor all year, promoting student success. Sem 2 enrollment may be dropped as late as January. This course has REQUIRED due dates. All Sem 2 due dates in AP courses occur prior to the College Board’s national AP exam date. The pacing ensures completion of all required lessons and assessments prior to the AP Exam. Official AP Course and Exam Descriptions are located on the AP Central website. Michigan Virtual prepares students for the AP exam but does not offer the AP exam. It is the responsibility of the school or parent to register for a local administration of the AP exam. AP courses often require students purchase a College Board approved textbook. Please refer to the Additional Costs section of the syllabus to locate any required textbooks or materials.

AP Environmental Science A is the first of a two semester course revolving around ecology, biology, and conservation. The impacts associated with human and animal activities such as pollution, overpopulation, and deforestation will be studied to give students a strong understanding of their role as citizens of the world. Laboratory and field experiences will be heavily stressed so that students may learn by interacting with the environment. This course does not include the AP exam; students can contact their school’s AP coordinator or guidance counselor to sign up for the exam. In order to maintain the integrity of AP standards, all AP course midterm and final exams must be proctored. Prerequisites: Biology. Current or completed enrollment in chemistry and Algebra 1.

Course Objectives: Upon completing this course, students will be able to do the following:

• Understand the interrelationships of the natural world

• Identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and human-made

• Evaluate the relative risks associated with environmental problems

• Examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing environmental problems

Course Outline: This course covers the following topics: resource use and sustainability, population and population dynamics, science, matter and energy, and ecosystems and biodiversity.

Unit 1: Introduction to Environmental Science

Unit 2: Science, Matter and Energy

Unit 3: Population Dynamics

Unit 4: Ecosystems and Biodiversity

Unit 5: Terrestrial Biodiversity

Unit 6: Aquatic Biodiversity

Unit 7: Food, Soil, and Pests

Resources Included:

Additional Costs: Students must obtain the following textbook before starting the course: G. Tyler Miller, Scott E. Spoolman. Living in the Environment, Nineteenth Edition, Cengage Learning Inc, 2018. Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-337-09415-3 eText: ISBN: 978-0-357-69324-7. It is also highly recommended that students obtain a copy of the accompanying text, Fast Track To A 5: Preparing for the AP Environmental Science Examination, by David Hong and Karen Lionberger, ISBN 978-0-538-49382-6. New or used textbooks can be purchased through Amazon or another online textbook resource. The cost of the text materials is not included in the cost of the course. Additionally, while most lab activities can be completed by using everyday household items, it may be necessary to purchase some items on occasion. Students currently enrolled in a local high school may find it helpful to contact a science instructor to see about gaining access to lab materials (measuring tools, non-hazardous chemicals, etc.) for the completion of some labs. Finally, there is a minimum of one required field experience in which the student visits and compares multiple natural environments (travel costs may be required and will vary for students).

Scoring System: Michigan Virtual does not assign letter grades, grant credit for courses, nor issue transcripts or diplomas. A final score reported as a percentage of total points earned will be sent to students upon completion of a course. Your school mentor is also able to access this score within the Student Learning Portal. Schools may use this score for conversion to their own letter grading system.

Time Commitment: Semester sessions are 18-weeks long: Students must be able to spend 1 or more hours per day in the course to be successful. Summer sessions are 10 weeks long: Students must be able to spend a minimum of 2 or more hours per day, or about 90 hours during the summer, for the student to be successful in any course. Trimester sessions are 12-weeks long: Students must be able to spend 1.5 or more hours per day in the course to be successful.

Technology Requirements: Students will require a computer device with headphones, a microphone, webcam, up-to-date Chrome Web Browser, and access to YouTube.

Please review the Michigan Virtual Technology Requirements: https://michiganvirtual.org/about/support/knowledge-base/technical-requirements/ 

Instructor Support System: For technical issues within your course, contact the Customer Care Center by email at [email protected] or by phone at (888) 889-2840.

Instructor Contact Expectations: Students can use email or the private message system within the Student Learning Portal to access highly qualified teachers when they need instructor assistance. Students will also receive feedback on their work inside the learning management system. The Instructor Info area of their course may describe additional communication options.

Academic Support Available: In addition to access to a highly qualified, Michigan certified teacher, students have access to academic videos and outside resources verified by Michigan Virtual. For technical issues within the course, students can contact the Michigan Virtual Customer Care by email at [email protected] or by phone at (888) 889-2840.

Required Assessment: Online assessments consist of formative and summative assessments represented by computer-graded multiple choice, instructor-graded writing assignments including hands-on projects, model building and other forms of authentic assessments.

Technical Skills Needed: Basic technology skills necessary to locate and share information and files as well as interact with others in a Learning Management System (LMS), include the ability to:

  • Download, edit, save, convert, and upload files
  • Download and install software
  • Use a messaging service similar to email
  • Communicate with others in online discussion or message boards, following basic rules of netiquette
  • Open attachments shared in messages
  • Create, save, and submit files in commonly used word processing program formats and as a PDF
  • Edit file share settings in cloud-based applications, such as Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides
  • Save a file as a .pdf
  • Copy and paste and format text using your mouse, keyboard, or an html editor’s toolbar menu
  • Insert images or links into a file or html editor
  • Search for information within a document using Ctrl+F or Command+F keyboard shortcuts
  • Work in multiple browser windows and tabs simultaneously
  • Activate a microphone or webcam on your device, and record and upload or link audio and/or video files
  • Use presentation and graphics programs
  • Follow an online pacing guide or calendar of due dates
  • Use spell-check, citation editors, and tools commonly provided in word processing tool menus
  • Create and maintain usernames and passwords

Additional Information: The official course descriptions for Advanced Placement courses and information about their exams are located on the College Board site at a http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/courses/descriptions/index.html

Michigan Virtual prepares students in AP courses for the AP exam, but does not offer the exam test itself.  It is the responsibility of the school or parent to register for a local administration of the AP exam.  

There are required due dates in AP courses. The pacing of due dates in AP courses aligns to the completion of all lessons and required assignments and assessments prior to the national AP exam date related to this course title. The calendar of AP exam dates is published by the College Board (Exam Calendar).

In accordance with College Board requirements for AP Environmental Science this course will require students to complete a variety of field experiences and laboratory actives. Students will need to have access to and will be expected to visit nearby waterways, forests, fields, parks etc. Additionally, students will be expected to have access to common household items or consumable grocery items to complete lab activities (e.g. glassware, Milk, bread, etc.).


School Level: High School
Standards: College Board: AP Course Topics and Objectives
NCAA Approved: Yes
Alignment Document: Document
Course Location:
NCES Code: 03207
MDE Endorsement Code: DA - Biology
MMC Minimum Requirements:

When Offered: _Internal Use Only

Content Provider: Michigan Virtual
Instructor Provider: Michigan Virtual

Course Type: Advanced Placement