AP Human Geography Syllabus

Human Geography



Course Description


Advanced placement human geography is offered as a one semester college course that is taken for three trimesters(36 weeks) at the high school level. This course analyzes the social organization of people and the effect that humans have on their environment. Human Geography highlights the five themes of geography; location, place, regions, movement and human environmental interactions. The course provides a study of human geography that contains the following topics but is not inclusive: types of maps, geographer’s tools, population, migration, pop and folk culture, urban and rural contrasts, economic development and globalization. Teaching methods that will be employed are varied and include, lecture and class discussion, use of multimedia and technology, collaborative group work, papers, and projects.


Unit Information


Topic Time


Trimester 1

Introduction to Human Geography 3 weeks

Population 2 weeks

Migration 2 weeks

Local Culture, Pop, Cultural Landscape 3 weeks

Identity: Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Sexuality 2 weeks


Trimester 2

Language 1 week

Religion 3 weeks

Political Geography 3 weeks

Urban Geography 3 weeks

Development 2 weeks


Trimester 3

Agriculture 3 weeks

Industry and Services 3 weeks

Human Environment 2 weeks

Review for the AP Exam 4 weeks






Assignments and Assessments


Students will be quizzed and tested on each unit. Tests will be weighted as 75% of the total grade. The test will be comprised of two portions, multiple choice(50%), and the free response written questions(50%). In addition they will work with their atlases on various activities. Periodic map quizzes on world geography are also given. Students will also work individually as well as collaboratively on activities and projects.


* Students will be administered a unit exam at the end of each unit.

* Students are expected to read each chapter by day five of the unit. From day five and on a reading quiz will be administered at random.

* Students will be administered one vocabulary quiz per unit. The vocabulary quiz will be after the reading quiz, but before the unit exam.

* Map quizzes of the world will be given and contribute to your test category.

* All other student work will be worth 25% of their total grade.

* This is not standard based grading, thus there will be no re-takes permitted.

* This being an AP college class, no extra credit will be awarded.


Content and Skills


Introduction to Human Geography

Concepts: Maps and spatial perspective, types of maps, remote sensing, GPS and GIS, scale, diffusion, systematic study of the nature and perspectives of geography, five themes of geography: location, place, region, movement, human/environmental interactions, globalization, learning and applying geographical skills

Activities: Choropleth map activity, map scrap, “One Earth, Many Scales” video (Power of Place), paper on a famous geographer



Concepts: Population density and distribution, population data, population growth, demographic transition, growth pyramids and population projections, population composition and life expectancy, government’s role in population

Activities: Population Pyramids with family data as well as various countries (computer lab), National Geographic “Lost Girls of China” video, “Population Geography” video (Power of Place)



Concepts: What is migration? Why do people migrate? Where do people migrate? How do governments affect migration?

Activities: “A Migrants Heart” video, “Boundaries and Borderlands” video, migration activity, migration free response question.




Local Culture, Pop Culture and Cultural Landscapes

Concepts: Folk culture, local and pop culture, rural and urban cultures, hearths of pop culture, housing types and diffusion

Activities: Housing type activity, photographic examples of pop and folk culture, Neighborhood geographer project, cultural landscape project(powerpoint, written paper with pictures, poster) “Taboo Body Perfect and Delicacies” video


Identity: Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality

Concepts: Race and racism, segregation, identities across scales, ethnicity and place, identity and space, the role of women in society

Activities: “Boston, Ethnic Mosaic” video (Power of Place), “Vancouver, Hong Kong East” video, activity on education, women and place, “Taboo Rights of Passage” video



Concepts: Language and culture, standardized language, dialects, language formation, languages of Europe and Africa, lingua franca, multilingualism, official languages, global language, toponyms

Activities: maps and diffusion of language



Concepts: map of world religions, origins and diffusion of world religions, religion and cultural landscape, religion and politics

Activities: On line religion activity, “Sacred Space, Secular States” video, collaborative research project on a world religion, “Jonestown: The Life and Death of the Peoples Temple” video, map activity of world religions, map scrap activity


Political Geography

Concepts: stateless nations, nation-state, world systems and political power, European colonialism and diffusion of nation-state model, supranationalism and devolution, boundaries: establishment, types and disputes, geopolitics and world order

Activities: “Supranationalism and Devolution” video, European Union collaborative computer activity, remapping Africa activity, Stateless nation activity


Urban Geography

Concepts: Hearths of urbanization, role of the ancient city in society, diffusion of urbanization, central place theory, city models, core periphery, semiperiphery models, cities as spaces of consumption

Activities: Core periphery activity, maquiladora activity, “Transforming Industrial Heartland” video, Global Eco activity, map scrap activity







Concepts: defining and measuring development, dependency theory, barriers to economic development, costs of economic development, government policies and development, islands of development, growth in the periphery

Activities: “Gabon: Sustainable Resources” video, “Changes in the Hinterlands” video (Power of Place)



Concepts: roots of agriculture, first, second and third agricultural revolution, GMOs, linking climate maps with agricultural production, environmental impacts of agriculture, agribusiness, loss of productive farmland, von Thunen’s model of agricultural land use, rural land use

Activities: agribusiness activity, “Small Farms and Big Cities” “Urban and Rural Contrasts” videos, climate graph activity


Industry and Services

Concepts: the industrial revolution, diffusion to Europe, Weber’s model, Hotelling’s model, Losch’s model, industrial regions of the world before and after 1950, core, semiperiphery, periphery industrialization, geography of manufacturing, major industrial belts, service sector, high tech corridors

Activities: Industrial mapping activity, “Global Interaction” video, “Developing Countries” video


Human Environment

Concepts: Components of the environment and changes over time, environmental stresses and alteration of environments, biodiversity, population ecology and patterns of consumption, technology and the environment, protection of the ozone layer, global climate change

Activities: “An Inconvenient Truth” video, Biome map activity project


Globalization and the Geography of Networks

Concepts: globalization and networks, at what scales do networks operate?, changing identities in the globalized world

Activities: map scrap activity, global urbanization activity, “Global Interaction” video (Power of Place)














Title: Human Geography: People, Place and Culture

Publisher: Wiley

Published Date: 2007

Authors: H. J. deBlij, Alexander B. Murphy, Erin H. Fouberg


Other Course Materials:

Primary source: Holt’s World Atlas

Audiovisual Materials: “The Power of Place” Geography for the 21st century, Annenberg/CPB

Newspaper: Current events from the NY Times and other newspaper.

Audiovisual: “Guns, Germs, and Steel”

Audiovisual: National Geographic “Taboo”

Audiovisual: National Geographic “Lost Girls of China”

Audiovisual: “An Inconvenient Truth”

Audiovisual: Video on demand at learner.org and PBS Frontline video

Other: Collapse by Jared Diamond, Buddha’s Breath by Al Gore, activities from NCGE web site and others that have been obtained from APHG list serv.

Primary sources: Several other college AP Human Geography text books that are used for preparation as well as for the students’ research:

“Human Geography in Action” by Michael Kuby et al

“Human Geography” by Knox and Marsden

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