Course Syllabus 

2021-2022 Syllabus: AP Human Geography

Instructor: Mr. Samuelson

Classroom/Office: E-203

Class Times and Dates: M-F 3rd Block with a split between A/B Day

Office Hours for tutoring and conferences: Before school on Fridays

Additional tutoring and conference times may be scheduled by prearranged appointment. Normal office hours may be unavailable due to prearranged appointments. Please check availability by email prior to arriving.

Contact Information:

Phone: 704-290-1520

Email is the best contact method. We will also be using Remind for class communication. Though I check my UCPS email often during the school day, please allow 48 hours for a response.

Course Overview & Purpose:

AP Human Geography is a college-level introductory course offered to students interested in the subject material, while providing the opportunity to earn college credit for the corresponding college course. On May 5, 2022 students will take the AP exam for this course to determine possible college credit. Please go to the following website to find information on what universities award college credit for passing AP exam scores:

Students are required to take the AP exam if they want to receive AP credit towards their GPA. Students enrolled in this course are expected to engage in the level of rigor expected of college students. As with most college courses, AP courses require a significant amount of reading, writing, and studying to be successful. This course will demand a greater commitment of time and motivation on the part of the student, and therefore each student should assess their own ability to meet these expectations. With this in mind, students are highly encouraged to attend AP review sessions in the spring. A list of review dates will be posted in March.

This course introduces students to the social science of human geography, which is the systematic study of observable phenomena and patterns that result from the interactions between human beings and the physical environments of the Earth. Throughout this course, students will examine the role humans play in shaping the physical environments of the Earth and how those environments shape human behavior across space and time. Students assume the role of geographers and will use a spatial perspective, a way of viewing the world, to analyze and understand human behavior and everyday events. Geography is more than the study of where places exist; it is also the study of why places exist and how they shape and are shaped by human beings. To help students understand the “where” and “why”, they will learn cartographic skills to make maps and understand what information maps communicate, and use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) such as Google Earth to explore how human behavior and the physical environments of Earth can impact each other on different scales. A local drought in a farming community in Nebraska may result in a poor corn harvest, thus impacting larger regions that depend on corn for consumer products. Understanding such connections is at the core of human geography. Most students are already aware of and use Global Position Systems (GPS) as a tool to communicate with each other, and this familiarity with a geographer’s tool can guide students towards a deeper understanding of why geography is an important and an interesting field of study that connects humans and the Earth.

Although GPS may be a familiar tool to students, there is a significant amount of content that will be new to them. There are seven categories of study within human geography that students will need to understand to be successful in the course and on the AP exam. The seven categories are: geography – its nature and perspectives, population and migration, cultural patterns and processes, political organization of space, agriculture and rural land use, industrialization and economic development, and cities and urban land use. Each category contains content terminology and concepts that connect to each other, thus it is essential for students to study the terminology frequently and critically apply those terms and larger concepts throughout the course. Each category will correspond to a unit of study for the course.

Student Conduct Expectations:

I have high expectations and requirements of all students enrolled in my courses. Students are expected to be active participants in their learning. This means that they are asking questions about what they are learning, and that they think critically about what they are learning by analyzing the content and applying that knowledge. A high level of engagement is expected of all students. All students have individual knowledge, experiences, and perspectives that are valuable in and outside the classroom, and thus it is essential that students become teachers in addition to learners. Students are expected to follow Union County Public Schools district and Marvin Ridge High School policies as they are outlined in the student handbook. Classroom procedures and expectations will be established at the beginning of the course. Students should be familiar with and adhere to the expectations outlined in those documents and this syllabus.

Students are expected to behave in a polite and respectful manner at all times during class, as they will be exposed to many different ideas, opinions, and ways of life throughout this course. For some students this exposure to these diverse human experiences may seem strange, at odds with their own beliefs and traditions, and possibly controversial. What students are exposed to in this course should challenge and extend their known world view on how people think and act. Students are expected to have opinions about what they learn and to share those opinions in a fact-based, thoughtful, and respectful manner. They are not required or expected to agree or disagree with the opinions of others, but they are expected to be respectful of other’s opinions. Students are encouraged to discuss their knowledge and experiences in a respectful manner.

Students are expected to engage in a manner of maturity and mutual respect. This means that when others are talking they are not. They are not dismissive or disdainful of others. Students that bully others, or act aggressively towards others for any reason, or in any form (verbal, physical, or suggestive) will find the behavior not to be tolerated. Students are expected to adhere to the district and school policies regarding bullying.

Academic Integrity Expectations:

Each student is expected to adhere to the rules of academic integrity, which means that you are honest and submit original work that you have created. Cheating and plagiarism will not be tolerated. If a student is caught cheating they will receive a zero for the assignment and/or assessment and will be referred for disciplinary action in accordance with district and school policies. If a student is having trouble with an assignment they should seek help from the teacher, and not copy the ideas and work of others. If you are using someone else’s ideas, you need to cite the source. If you are unsure how to cite another person’s work please ask how. Plagiarism and cheating are very serious. Not only do you receive a zero on the assignment/assessment, you have shown you cannot be trusted to do what is right and ethical. In addition, instances of cheating and plagiarism go on a student’s academic record, which may affect their chances of being accepted at universities. The grades and points earned by cheating are not worth the consequences, which include the loss of your integrity and the loss of trust from others.

Student Required Materials:

Students are required to have a notebook with paper to take notes (may be used with other classes), pencils or pens, highlighters. These materials are tools to help the student better organize the content, and must be brought to all classes. The teacher will provide textbooks and other primary source materials. Students may need additional materials to complete projects.

Required Textbooks & Supplemental Resources:

Primary Student Textbook:

Rubenstein, J. M. (2016). The Cultural Landscape: An Introduction to Human Geography. (12 ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Supplemental Teacher Textbooks and Resources:

Bednarz, Bockenhauer, Hiebert. (2020). Human Geography: A Spatial Perspective. New York, NY: National Geographic’s Learning.

de Blij, H. J., & Murphy, A. B. (2003). Human Geography: Culture, Society, and Space. (7th ed.). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

*Additional primary source documents to be handed out in class and posted to Canvas

*Films, music, blogs, and podcasts may be used with some activities

Student Performance Expectations and Evaluation:

Students are expected to be successful in this course. In order for them to be successful they will need to be prepared for each class by studying the material, completing in and out of class assignments, actively participating in class, and seeking additional help if they are having difficulties with the material. Ultimately, students are accountable and responsible for their own academic achievement. The teacher, parent/guardian, administration, and support staff is here to guide each student towards success. This is an advanced placement course, and as such, there is a great deal of reading and writing. Students will need to assess their individual ability to be successful in this course, and decide if it is the right course for them. Students should expect to spend at least an hour each night working on their assignments or reviewing material. Students may feel stressed-out or overwhelmed at the higher expectations in this course. To reduce these feelings, time-management and organizational skills are imperative. Some weeks may be heavier with assignments than other weeks, so it is essential to budget time wisely, as to not get bogged down with course readings and assignments. Use the course curriculum guide and calendar to help you be successful and less stressed. Remember, this is an AP course, which means that you are choosing to take a college-level course while you attend high school.

Student Academic Evaluation and Late Policy:

Students will be evaluated through various methods including, but not limited to: participation, in-class assignments, out-of-class assignments, projects, quizzes, tests, mid-terms, finals, essays, research papers, journals, online readings and postings, and individual and group work. Students are expected to perform to their best potential on any given assessment. If an assignment is confusing, it is the student’s responsibility to seek clarification early. Take advantage of the tutoring hours made available to you by the teacher. Assignments are announced well in advance, and not understanding an assignment is not an excuse for a late submission.

Late assignments are accepted, but will have penalties. Assignments will only earn a maximum of half credit after the due date. Assignments make up a substantial part of the course grade, so timely completion is essential for student success. If there are extenuating circumstances that prevent a student from completing an assignment in a timely manner, such as sickness, etc… it is the student’s responsibility to communicate that to the teacher, in order for accommodations to be made. If a student misses a test, they will be expected to make-up the assessment when they return to school. It is the student’s responsibility to communicate with the teacher to acquire any content that was missed due to the absence. Tests will be announced well in advance, and therefore there is no excuse for unpreparedness upon return from the absence, save material missed during the absence. The teacher reserves the right to alter any assignment/assessment to accommodate the circumstantial or learning needs of a student.

The individual assignment/assessment grades are not weighted by percentile; however, any state, district, or school mandated tests that are required may be a weighted percentile of the student’s total grade with the remainder of the student’s grade comprised of the points earned throughout the semester, if applicable. Additionally, parents/guardians can view student grades by logging on to the PowerSchool. User names and passwords can be acquired in the main office at MRHS. The teacher reserves the right to change/alter a grade if there is justifiable cause and at the sole discretion of the teacher.

All regular assignments are due at the beginning of the class, and this includes any initial Canvas posts. Any assignment submitted during or after class will be considered late unless it is discussed with the teacher prior to the beginning of class. Peer response Canvas postings are due by midnight of the assignment due date. Some assignments will be submitted electronically on Canvas or Turnitin.

Many of the requirements of this course incorporate the use of Canvas, which for all intents and purposes is an online classroom environment. Students access Canvas using their MRHS computer login ID and password. Parents/guardians can access the course as observers. Students will use Canvas to access their assignments, discussion forums, and most course readings and resources. Additionally, some assessments will be completed by students using Canvas. If students wish to print any document on Canvas in the Media Center the cost is $0.10 for each black and white page and $0.50 for each color page. Students will not be granted permission to visit the Media Center during class time to print materials that they should have printed prior to the start of class.

Grading Scale and Point Values:

A student’s grade is comprised of an accumulation of points. Each assignment will be worth a designated amount of points. A student’s final grade is determined based off the total amount of points earned divided by total amount of points possible. The teacher reserves the right to change/alter a grade if there is justifiable cause and at the sole discretion of the teacher. *Note* The AP Exam is not included in the final course grade.

All of the course content and readings are outlined for the student in the course curriculum guide. Students and parents/guardians should take the time to review the guide carefully to know when assigned readings are due. All assignments associated with specific chapters are due at the beginning of the class. Any assignment submitted during or after class will be considered late. Each assignment is worth a specified point value that is listed below. Students should familiarize themselves with how much each assignment is worth and keep track of their grades as a method of knowing their progress at all times.

Grading Scale: 100-90 – A; 89-80 – B; 79-70 – C; 69-60 – D; 59-0 – F

Projects: The majority of your grade that is not assessments, will be two projects you will do throughout the course of the year. Each will be submitted on the day of or day after the unit test. The Portfolio Project includes writing, flashcards, AP test practice, etc. The Ping Project is based off of one country each student is assigned at the beginning of the year and the work will match the unit we are working on.

Classwork/ Homework: There are some classwork or homework assignments for each chapter in the textbook that may include terminology, questions, important figures, Canvas discussion forums, and applied skills. Though generally there is one assignment per chapter, some may be broken up into multiple assignments as a result of content-heavy chapters. *Note* Homework is always graded for completion, accuracy, and quality.   

Tests: Each unit test will be administered at the end of each unit and is similar in design to the AP exam. Each unit test will have 60 multiple choice questions and 1 FRQ due to time constraints. These tests will be timed for each section: 60 minutes for the multiple choice questions and 25 minutes for the essay question. Some unit tests may be split into two days with the multiple choice questions completed on one day and three essays completed on the second day, and some unit tests may only include the three essays and no multiple choice questions. The type of unit test will always be announced for the purposes of studying, and all unit tests will be cumulative.

Quizzes: Announced and unannounced quizzes will be given to assess student knowledge on a topic prior to the unit exam. Map quizzes will be given throughout the course, each on a region of the world. Quizzes will also be given when school breaks happen in the middle of a unit, or the unit has several chapters.

Mock AP Exams: Mock AP exams will be similar to unit tests in design, and may take the place of a unit test. The purpose of this type of exam is to help students further experience the testing conditions for the AP exam. A mock exam could take the place of a mid-term exam or benchmark, as determined by MRHS administration. A mock exam could also take place on a Saturday. Mock exam dates and point value will be determined later in the course.

Other Assessments: Students may be required to take 1-2 benchmark tests. These tests are mandated by UCPS, and can take the form of a unit test, midterm exam or mock AP exam. The type and point value of the assessment will be determined at a later date based upon MRHS administrative decisions. Students will be informed of such decisions as they are communicated to the instructor.

Extra Credit: opportunities for extra credit are rare, thus if and when they are offered, students should take advantage of them. Extra credit can only help a student’s grade.

Graded-Work Policy: Once students submit assignments and assessments, the submitted work is graded as quickly as possible. Larger assignments, such as projects or research papers will take longer to grade and may not be graded until the end of the course. Grades are posted to Powerschool as work is graded. Students are always welcome to ask about their grades; however, grades will not be discussed over the telephone or in email communications. Students and parents/guardians are encouraged to use PowerSchool to check grades.         

As the course progresses, there may be a need to modify or cancel an assignment, project, or assessment. Students will be informed when and if this occurs, and any corresponding reasons. If the assignment is cancelled, any points associated with that assignment will not be factored into student grades.

Use of Electronic Devices:

Students must follow the district and school policies regarding the use of electronic devices. Cell phones, etc., must be turned off and stored away in the pockets during class. Throughout the course, students will utilize their school-issued Chromebook laptops for educational purposes. Students must follow all guidelines established regarding the use of these laptops. Student requests to charge their laptops will be granted at the discretion of the teacher. Students are not permitted to use the school-issued laptops during class without explicit consent from the teacher, and then only for directed purposes.