Topic Triage Units 6 and 7

I need to start this post with the disclaimer that I am not advocating skipping entire topics in the CED or passing judgement on how anyone else has decided to prioritize the pacing of their units. 

I'm just trying to share the topics that I feel can be condensed and covered minimally in class in order to allow more class time for topics that are more complex or cary greater exam relevance based on both the weighting laid out in the CED as well as released MCQs and FRQs.

Since I run a flipped classroom using EdPuzzle, I know my students have at least a basic exposure to every topic covered in the CED. For any topics that you skip or cover minimally in class, I highly recommend assigning some form of video (mine, AP Daily, Bozeman) or reading so that students have covered the content to some extent.

So with that context, here is how I would approach increasing my pace through units 6 and 7 in order to preserve more time for unit 9 and exam review in April. (Unit 8 topic triage coming soon!)

Unit 6: This unit really boils down to advantages and disadvantages of a handful of different forms of energy. If students leave with that information, along with a basic understanding of where each energy form comes from or how it is used to generate power, they’ll be in good shape.

    • In 6.1 - 6.5, really hone in on how each of the fossil fuels form, are extracted, what they’re used for, and their advantages and disadvantages. I use this fossil fuel foldable assignment to quickly get through a lot of that basic info.
    • Then in 6.6 - 6.13, focus on the advantages and disadvantages of each form of energy, not getting too bogged down in their exact mechanics. Make a point to emphasize how common the “heat → steam → turbine → generator” model of electricity generation is, since it’s common to so many forms of energy. For wind and hydro, just replace steam with “kinetic energy of wind/falling water.”
    • If you want to quickly deliver lots of the basics of energy generation, use these short, 2-3 minute student energy videos and these accompanying notes sheets: Fossil FuelsRenewables
    • Also consider the very popular “Energy Dating Profile” assignment. Each student could pick one form, do an in-depth, 1-2 hour profile and then share that info with classmates via, “speed dating” (search for this in the Facebook group for instructions.)
  • Topic triage: If trying to move more quickly through unit 6, I would spend less class time on 6.1, 6.2, 6.4, 6.10, 6.11 and more class time on 6.5, 6.6, 6.7, 6.9, 6.13.

  • Unit 7: If unit 6 can be distilled down to “where does this energy source come from and what are its advantages and disadvantages?”, then unit 7 can be distilled down to “where does this air pollutant come from, what environmental & human health impacts does it cause, and what can we do to reduce it?”

      • If students learn nothing else from unit 7, it should be that it’s never acceptable to write “pollution” on an FRQ and that there is a laundry list of specific “pollutants” that they need to reference on FRQs.
      • I have students make flash cards for the 6 criteria air pollutants in 7.1 and then quiz themselves by trying to fill out this blank table.
      • Do table/notecard drawings for 7.2 and 7.7 since these processes have a bit of chemistry that’s helpful to visualize. I like Kristi’s table drawing activity.
      • I also do quick table drawings + captions for 7.6 since it can be helpful to visualize these pollution reduction devices. You could do a gallery walk and have peers quickly sketch or take pictures of other table’s drawings.
      • For 7.5, you could have groups of 6-7 students each make an air pollutant villain or PSA and then “speed date” to teach their peers about it. Have them try and fill out this table from memory afterward, or while they’re speed dating.


  • Topic triage: If trying to move more quickly through unit 7, I would spend less class time on 7.3, 7.4, 7.8 and more class time on 7.1, 7.2, 7.7.


    Hopefully this has been helpful as you think about how to prioritize time for unit 9 and some exam review at the end of the year. As always, don't hesitate to reach out if you have questions about pacing or exam review!

    Newer Post