• Advanced Placement Human Geography


    Course Outline


                As the objective of this course is preparation for the advanced placement examination, a substantial portion of all graded work in this course will mirror that which is found on the AP test.  Students will complete assessments that include multiple choice and free response questions—some of which are stimulus-based.  There will also be some take home assignments such as research papers, group projects, ETC. 

                Some basic knowledge of geography and an informed interest in the relationships and patterns created by the interaction of people and space are assumed as motives for course enrollment, as is, of course, scoring a passing grade of 3 (or higher) on the examination given in the spring.  As per school district policy, all students enrolled in this course must take the AP Examination.  Students are responsible for completion of all reading assignments and are encouraged to take outline notes to facilitate their understanding of the reading materials.  Given the volume of material, time will not permit us to go over each reading assignment in class.  Therefore, as in any college course, you are expected to read and understand the material regardless and, if you are having difficulty, seek out assistance from classmates, the teacher, or both.

    If you are absent, it is YOUR responsibility to find out about missed assignments and materials. I am in G51 during lunch, and will conduct additional tutorials by appointment.  Handouts will be available in Room G51 and I can always be reached by email at hladkyc@madisonnjps.org.


    A.P. Human Geography - Unit Summaries and Required Reading

    Unit 1 - Geography: Its Nature and Perspectives

    Unit Summary:

    Students will familiarize themselves with the basics tools, skills, and concepts required to understand the world through spatial analysis.  They come to understand that human geography involves examining the changing interrelationships between places, human-environment interactions, and the evolution of landscapes. 

    Rubenstein Chapter 1

    Essential Questions:

    • How do geographers describe where things are? Why is geography a science?
    • What makes places unique?
    • Why are different places similar?
    • Why are some human actions not sustainable?

    Unit Enduring Understandings:

    • Geography, as a field of inquiry, looks at the world from a spatial perspective
    • Geography offers a set of concepts, skills, and tools that facilitate critical thinking and problem solving
    • Geographical skills provide a foundation for analyzing world patterns and processes
    • Geospatial technologies increase the capability for gathering and analyzing geographic information with applications to everyday life
    • Field experiences continue to be important means of gathering geographic information and data

    Unit 2 – Population and Migration

    Unit Summary:

    Students seek to understand the distribution of people on earth, why people decide to live where they do, why they migrate from one place to another, and the effects of migration.  Population change is understood by looking at demographic characteristics such as gender, health, aging, birth and death rates and life expectancy in order to understand spatial distribution of livable areas and where the population is growing.  Major migration patterns of today and historical periods of the past are considered.  

    Rubenstein Chapters 2 and 3

    Unit Essential Questions:

    • How and where is world population distributed?
    • How and has the world’s population increased? Why is population increasing at different rates in different countries?
    • Where are and what explains world migration distributions?
    • What types of obstacles do migrants face and why?

    Unit Enduring Understandings:

    • Knowledge of the geographic patterns and characteristics of human populations facilitates understanding of cultural, political, economic, and urban systems.
    • Populations grow and decline over time and space
    • Causes and consequences of migration are influenced by cultural, demographic, economic, environmental, and political factors.

    Unit 3 – Cultural Patterns and Processes

    Unit Summary:

    Students examine regional patterns of conflict, cooperation, cultural exchange, and cultural evolution based on language, religion, and gender.  The unit begins with an overview of the origins, diffusion, and spatial distribution of folk and popular culture.  Students will then determine the distinctive distribution of language, with an emphasis on the globalization of English and attempts to preserve local languages.  They will also analyze the distribution, diffusion, and influence of major religions, as well as the impact of religion on the landscape and culture. 

    Rubenstein Chapters 4, 5, 6, 7

    Unit Essential Questions:

    • Where are folk and popular leisure activities and material culture distributed?
    • Why is access to folk and popular culture unequal?
    • To what extent do folk and popular culture face sustainability challenges?
    • Where are world languages distributed? Where did they originate and diffuse?
    • Why do individual languages vary among places? Why do people preserve local languages?
    • Where and how do religions affect and organize space and landscape? How can this lead to conflict?
    • Where are ethnicities distributed, and why are these distributions distinctive?

    Unit Enduring Understandings:

    • Concepts of culture frame the shared behaviors of a society
    • Culture varies by place and region

    Unit 4 – Political Organization of Space

    Unit Summary:

    Students study the evolution of political units of political space (countries, cities, neighborhoods), paying special attention to how units at each scale evolved, and how they function both internally and with each other. Students also analyze the role of ethnicity in the creation of the nation-state.  They also look at the forces that create and strengthen countries on the one hand, and those that work to tear them apart, on the other.  These forces include differing cultural interpretations about the role of the state, ethnicity, location of boundaries, and the relationship between terrorism and political geography.

    Rubenstein Chapter 8

    Unit Essential Questions:

    • How and why did states, nations and international organizations develop?
    • How and why have ethnicity and nationalism led to conflict and, more recently, terrorism?
    • Where are states distributed?
    • Why are nation-states difficult to create?
    • What are the positive and negative consequences of boundaries?
    • Where do states face threats?

    Unit Enduring Understandings:

    • The contemporary political map has been shaped by events of the past.
    • Spatial political patterns reflect ideas of territoriality and power at a variety of scales.
    • The forces of globalization challenge contemporary political-territorial arrangements.

    Unit 5 – Agriculture, Food Production, and Rural Land Use

    Unit Summary:

    Students examine how people grow, process, and consume food.  The unit begins with understanding of the characteristics of each agricultural hearth and the diffusion of its foods.  Then students analyze how and why techniques and purposes of farmers vary by region, and why they decide to grow certain crops in certain places.  Students will also examine the impact of modern food production on the population, the environment, the rural landscape, and wider society. Finally, they will consider how global trade in agricultural products creates global connections and challenges farmers with concerns of sustainable practices and productions levels. 

    Rubenstein Chapter 9

    Unit Essential Questions:

    • How and where did agriculture originate and diffuse?
    • Why do regional differences affect food consumption?
    • Where and how is agriculture distributed?
    • How and why does agriculture vary from developed to less developed countries?
    • Why do farmers face economic and sustainability challenges?

    Unit Enduring Understandings:

    • The development of agriculture led to widespread alteration of the natural environment
    • Major agricultural regions reflect physical geography and economic forces
    • Settlement patterns and rural land use and reflected in the cultural landscape
    • Changes in food production and consumption present challenges and opportunities

    Unit 6 – Industrialization and Economic Development

    Unit Summary:

    Students will examine the distribution of manufacturing facilities and resources, as well as factors related to the site and situation of manufacturing facilities.  They will also analyze how people use resources and the impact of that use on the environment, as well as how the economy changes over time.  They will address the locational factors influencing developed and less developed countries by looking at economic, social, and demographic indicators.  Students will explore the role of government policies, development methods, responses to economic inequality, and growing worldwide economic interdependence.

    Rubenstein Chapters 10, 11, 12

    Unit Essential Questions:

    • How, why, and where does the level of development vary among regions and countries?
    • How can countries promote development?
    • How and why does development vary according to demographic differences?
    • What obstacles do country face to development and why?
    • Where and how are industries distributed? Why are situation and site factors important?
    • What challenges do industries face?
    • Where are consumer and business services distributed and why do they cluster in settlements?

    Unit Enduring Understandings:

    • The Industrial Revolution, as it diffused from its hearth, facilitated improvements in standards of living
    • Measures of economic development are used to understand patterns of social and economic differences at a variety of scales
    • Development is a process that varies across space and time
    • Sustainable development is a strategy to address resource depletion and environmental degradation

    Unit 7 – Cities and Urban Land Use

    Unit Summary:

    Students will examine the evolution of the distribution of cities, and analyze models of urban spatial organization.  These are used to explain the differences in urban areas throughout the world, with a look at the distinctive problems of inner cities and suburbs.

    Rubenstein Chapter 13

    Unit Essential Questions:

    • What activities and problems are associated with the inner-city and central business district of a major urban center?
    • Where are people distributed in urban areas?
    • Why do urban areas expand? What are the causes and consequences of suburbanization?
    • Why do cities face sustainability challenges? How can they meet them?

    Unit Enduring Understandings:

    • The form, function, and size of urban settlements are constantly changing.
    • Models help to understand the distribution and size of cities.
    • Models on internal city structure and urban development provide a framework for urban analysis.
    • Built landscapes and social space reflect the attitudes and values of a population.
    • Urban areas face economic, social, political, cultural, and environmental challenges.

    Unit 8 – Human Geography in Action

    Unit Summary:

    This unit synthesizes the course by requiring students to apply the AP content in a project where students research a human geography-related topic, determine actual and possible outcomes, and present a recommendation for change.  This recommendation will be presented using maps and spatial data.   The project will vary from year to year, as it is subject to student and teacher preferences, current international and national events, and enrollment size.  Options include an activity wherein students identify a local issue in need of amelioration, or a wider approach that asks students to work on a state or national-level problem.  Regardless of the issue(s) the class chooses to examine, the project must synthesize information from multiple sources, determine possible solutions, make a recommendation for reform, and include a presentation component, ideally to help inform the broader school community.

    Unit Essential Questions:

    • What are the most pressing problems of economic development and cultural change, and what should be done to address them?
    • What are the most pressing consequences of population growth, changing fertility rates, and international migration, and what should be done to address them?
    • What are the most pressing impacts of technological innovation on transportation, communication, industrialization, and other aspects of life, and what should be done to address them?
    • What are the most pressing struggles over political power and the use of territory, and what should be done to address them?
    • What are the most pressing conflicts over the demands of ethnic minorities, the role of women in society, and the inequalities between developed and developing countries, and what should be done to address them?
    • What are the most pressing controversies regarding agricultural land use, industrial development, and urban development, and what should be done to address them?
    • What are the most pressing aspects of climate change in shaping the human landscapes on Earth, and what should be done to address them?


    Unit Enduring Understandings:

    • The interpretation of maps and spatial data help us to understand a variety of social scientific phenomena.
    • Maps and spatial data help us to recognize and interpret at different scales the relationships among patterns and processes.
    • Maps and spatial data help us to characterize and analyze changing interconnections among places and interpret contemporary human events.

     Required Text & Materials

    Kuby, Michael.  Human Geography in Action 6th Edition.  John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2013. 

    Rubenstein, James M.  The Cultural Landscape: An Introduction to Human Geography.  12th edition.  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2015


    Reading a daily news source is required for this course.  The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are suggested.  Current periodicals such as The Economist, Time, and Bloomberg Businessweek are also excellent sources.  Suggested online sources include bbc.com/news and cnn.com.

    1. Classroom Expectations

    Homework should be done outside of class and will be checked at the beginning of the period on the day that it is due. Students should edit and improve their work as we go over it.  Some assignments will be graded, and others will earn nominal credit for completion.  

    1. Grading Policy

    Quarter grades

    Tests and Projects =100 points

                Quizzes = 20-30 points

                Graded Homework = 10-15 points

                Classwork and ungraded homework = 2-5 points

    Semester 1 grade

    • Quarter 1 average = 50%, Quarter 2 average = 50%

    Semester 2 grade

    • Quarter 3 average = 50%, Quarter 4 average = 50%
    • Late Work & Make-up Policy

    Homework should be done outside of class and will be checked at the beginning of the period on the day that it is due. No credit for late assignments.

    If you are absent, it is YOUR responsibility to find out about missed assignments and materials. Ask classmates about assignments and copy missed notes from them. See me or check the AP Gov folder for handouts. I shall not come looking for you: you must come to me.

    • Class Participation

    Come prepared! You will be expected to come to class every day with a notebook (3 ring binder recommended), pen or pencil, and all learning materials in use at that time. Class discussion is based on homework and current events, and is designed to help students better comprehend critical details and concepts about Government and Political Science.

    • Teacher Availability

    I will be available for tutorials during common lunch (in G51) and by appointment and can always be reached by email at hladkyc@madisonnjps.org.


    MHS Humanities Department (Language Arts and Social Studies) Due Date and Late Work Policies

    The following policy is in effect as of September 2017:

    When a Humanities teacher assigns a major assignment (defined as constituting a significant portion--i.e. 20% or more--of a student's marking period grade), such as an essay, paper or project, the assignment must be turned in at the beginning of the class period on the day it is due.

    Any major assignment that is not submitted at the beginning of the class period on the day it is due is considered LATE.

    Late work may be accepted within three calendar days of a given due date, but that work will receive a 20% grade penalty.

    Late work submitted more than three days after the due date will not be accepted for any credit and will receive a grade of zero.  The department will consider 3:00 p.m. on the third day following the due date as the deadline for late work.  This will hold true for weekends and breaks as well.

    No essay or project due dates are adjusted for absence; due dates are given well in advance. For example, college visitation days and unofficial vacation days will not excuse late assignments.This is true for ALL students, regardless of whether they have an IEP or 504 accommodation plan. If absent, students should send in such work by the start time of the class period on the due date via email or Google Classroom, or with a reliable person who will bring the assignment to the teacher before the beginning of the class period on the day it is due. Teachers who accept work via email or Google Classroom will consider work as “on time” provided the time stamp on the email or submission is prior to the beginning of the class period on the due date and the file is accessible to the instructor.  If a student fails to submit a major assignment via email or Google Classroom or through a reliable person on the day that it is due this work is considered LATE and subject to the 20% grade penalty.

    Suggestions for Students to Avoid the Late Penalty:

    Students should take Chromebooks, textbooks and notebooks home each night. They should also select at least two class contacts whom they KNOW have good attendance and homework records, and email, text or phone those contacts the evening of the absence to check on classwork and homework assignments.

    In the event of extreme or unavoidable circumstances, teachers will handle each case individually.  Any requests for due date extensions, however, must be presented to the teacher at least one day before the due date.  

    Teachers are under no obligation to grant extensions, but each individual Humanities teacher will exercise discretion in matters as they arise.

    In all cases, communication between the student and teacher is absolutely essential; parental involvement is encouraged when reasons for a requested extension involve family or medical issues.

    In the case of anticipated absences, students may elect to submit assignments in person to the teacher prior to the absence or submit assignments electronically on the due date, bearing in mind that the time stamp must be before the beginning of the class period on the due date and the file is accessible to the instructor. However, considering the potential for technology and internet connectivity issues, students are encouraged to submit work prior to anticipated absences.

    The following guidelines have now been adopted for general use by the Humanities Department. Students and parents should familiarize themselves with these guidelines and can expect that teachers will adhere to them consistently when confronted with late work or missing assignments.


Last Modified on August 28, 2018