Broward Private School Students Get Creative with AP Human Geography Coursework

Share Article

Private school teacher at The Sagemont School asks AP Human Geography students to create original board games as a creative approach to reviewing the extensive amount of information in the survey course.

By definition College Board Advanced Placement (AP) classes are textbook intensive. These are college-level courses offered by high schools. Students can obtain college credit by passing a rigorous exam.

Ashley Andress, one of the Social Studies teachers at The Sagemont School, a private school in Broward County, has come up with a clever way to help her students prepare for the AP Human Geography exam. She wants students to get their head in the game, literally. As a final project she has students create a board game as a way to review for the AP exam.

AP Human Geography is one of the most popular courses at The Sagemont School. The class is often taken by 10th graders as one of their first AP courses. The Social Studies class is described as the introduction to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use and alteration of the Earth’s surface. Through the curriculum, high school students employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to examine human social organization and its environmental consequences. Students also study the methods and tools geographers use in their science and practice.

The course covers a wide and diverse selection of information. Sagemont students learn about maps, population growth, political geography, economics, agriculture, as well rural and urban geography. At the end of the course, it is a daunting job to review this broad survey of information.

Each year the games become more challenging and complex. Last year, private school student, Daniel Cardamone and his partners took the game to gargantuan proportions, creating a life-size game that had to be played in the walkway outside the classroom. Other games are desktop size and resemble popular board games such as Cranium, The Game of Life and Monopoly. “The students must include questions from all of the units that we cover throughout the year, from population geography to environmental geography and everything in between,” states Ms. Andress.

Regardless of size, the games must all be “playable.” The high school students take turns playing their classmates’ games as a means of reviewing for the AP exam. Students are evaluated on their knowledge of the AP Human Geography concepts as they play.

Senior Laura Gaddini thought the games were a clever and fun way to reinforce the lessons learned in class. “I think hands-on activities are more effective in helping students study because I find the traditional way a bit limiting. Creating the board game required me to think more about the concepts rather than just memorizing them in my head like traditional study methods tend to require,” she explains. “Playing my classmates’ board games also provided me with a challenge to see just how much I knew about the concepts.”

Cardamone, a junior, agrees. “I firmly believe that hands-on activities are more beneficial than traditional study methods. They perk interest as you learn to implement the knowledge learned in practical ways instead of sitting down and studying class notes.”

Although he acknowledges that he did need to study his notes to create the game. “By re-evaluating my notes from concepts studied in Human Geography throughout the year and creating flashcards for the game, I was able to further memorize important information to help me succeed on the AP exam.”

Ms. Andress says she is proud of how her students embrace this project with such gusto. “Each year, when the students turn in their board games, they impress me more and more. I keep thinking they will run out of new ideas, but they never do,” she shares. “The students can be so creative when given the chance, even with an AP class which is usually geared towards the textbook and preparing for the AP exam. They all really step up to the plate in applying their knowledge to create these games.”

The board game project is not the only hands-on activity Ms. Andress utilizes in her classes. She also has her AP Human Geography students create their own graphs and charts throughout the year to better prepare them for interpreting them on the AP exam.

She also teaches economics to all Sagemont seniors. Each year she does a project with them called Senior Market. “Students have to create their own businesses from scratch based on something they think the population of the school has a demand for,” explains Ms. Andress. “The students make the product, the advertising, the storefront itself. Then, for one week during lunch, they compete to sell their products to the students and teachers at Sagemont.”

Sagemont is committed to providing a college prep curriculum that is innovative and technologically rich in content and delivery. Sagemont serves students from preschool through 12th grade, and the school’s graduates are accepted into some of the best colleges and universities in the nation.

The Sagemont School and operates two campuses in Weston, Fl. In preschool through the elementary grades, The Sagemont School provides core concepts in a creative environment combined with weekly specials that include science, art, music, Spanish for non-native & native speakers, swimming, PE and media and technology. From middle school through high school graduation, Sagemont students choose from a variety of regular, honors and AP course work. In addition, students share in a networked wireless laptop environment and participate in a comprehensive guidance program for college entrance. Visit The Sagemont School Web site at http://www.sagemont.com/ or blog at http://www.sagemont-privateschoolblog.com/

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Maria Ackermann
Sagemont
(954) 389-2454
Email >
Follow us on
Visit website