Extract from the College Boards AP Environmental Science Course Outline:

VI. Pollution (25-30%)

  1. Pollution Types
    1. Air pollution
      (Sources-primary and secondary; major air pollutants; measurement units; smog; acid deposition-causes and effects; heat islands and temperature inversions; indoor air pollution; remediation and reduction strategies; Clean Air Act and other relevant laws)
    2. Noise pollution
      (Sources; effects; control measures)
    3. Water pollution
      (Types; sources, causes, and effects; cultural eutrophication; groundwater pollution; maintaining water quality; water purification; sewage treatment/septic systems; Clean Water Act and other relevant laws)
    4. Solid waste
      (Types; disposal; reduction)
  1. Impacts on the Environment and Human Health
    1. Hazards to human health
      (Environmental risk analysis; acute and chronic effects; dose response relationships; air pollutants; smoking and other risks)
    2. Hazardous chemicals in the environment
      (Types of hazardous waste; treatment/disposal of hazardous waste; cleanup of contaminated sites; biomagnification; relevant laws)
  1. Economic Impacts
    (Cost-benefit analysis; externalities; marginal costs; sustainability)

   The topic of pollution is worth more than any other section on the AP exam. The first quarter project consists of two parts:

  1. A written report on one of the subjects mentioned above or other pollution-related subject (for example the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill). 
  2. A formal presentation to the class on the same subject using whatever visual aids the student prefers (poster board, power point, websites, video clips, iMovie, youtube, etc)

Grading Rubric.

   The written report will be graded according to the ‘research paper rubric’ and the presentation will be graded according to the ‘oral presentation rubric’ each available to view at


© Sean Wilmot 2012