By Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki
Curriki’s AP Computer Science Principles course introduces students to the creative aspects of programming, abstractions, algorithms and large data sets.
The course should ignite students’ passion for technology. Not only will they learn how the Internet really works, but they will have the opportunity to delve into cybersecurity and examine how computing affects society.
The AP Computer Science Principles course seeks to engage students, no matter what their background or familiarity with computers, as it focuses on basic concepts that have influenced the evolution of computer science and its effect on our world. The course teaches computational thinking skills and prepares students for the AP Exam.
Project-Based and Collaborative Learning Approach
Using engaging projects and materials, students will develop computational thinking skills through:
• Collaborative problem solving
• Creative design of unique solutions
• Data representation through modeling and simulations
• Algorithmic reasoning
The course is divided into two semesters of curriculum: an introduction to programming, and how computers and the Internet work. You can use them in any order.
Introduction to Programming
The introductory programming curriculum uses the Python language in a development environment called Processing, although instructors can substitute any programming curriculum they are comfortable with. The culmination of the programming unit is a 12-hour “Create Performance Task,” where students create and document a program in the language of their choosing.
Students will explore computer architecture and data storage, design their own PC, take a computer apart and put it back together, play the “binary game” to learn about computer numbers, and more.
How Computers and the Internet Work
The other half of the course is comprised of two units: “How computers work” and “How the Internet works.” The course winds up with “Explore Performance Task,” a research project where students dedicate eight hours of class time to documenting an important computing innovation with four paragraphs of writing, citations and a “computational artifact.”
One of the most exciting aspects of this course is the introduction of the Internet, exploration of how it has changed the way we connect to one another. Exciting, hands-on lab activities – such as hacking their own password and examining the 2013 “Toaster Wars” hacking competition – lead students through the crucial concepts of networks and security.
This curriculum also shows students how to create an infographic for the computational artifact using Canva.com, but there are many other possibilities students can also explore.
Kim Jones is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Curriki. Kim is active in driving policy initiatives and is regularly featured as an honorary speaker on the impact of technology in education at influential meetings around the world. Learn more at Curriki.org.