I am doing the best I can to achieve the goals of units 4 and 5 while still having enough time to allow students to begin the AP Explore task in a few weeks.

On Friday, January 5th, we completed unit 4 lessons 1 and 3 combined into one 80 minute class period last week: This went well and I would do it again. We began by watching a big data TED talk and then discussing Moore’s Law. After this I assigned pairs to investigate a website that uses big data and then each group briefly presented their site to the class, critiquing the site and its use of big data. Next, all of the students went to World’s Biggest Data Breaches Visualization and we discussed their findings regarding data breaches. Students then researched themselves online and we discussed their publicly available information. Many students did not have much of an online presence, so they also investigated me online and enjoyed trying to see what they could find out about their teacher. Class ended with a quick discussion about big data and privacy.

Monday, January 8th we reviewed the College Board – Assessment Overview and Performance Task Directions for Students, discussing the explore task and its requirements. I followed this discussion with the rapid research one pager on a innovation that uses big data from unit 4 lesson 2. We had a great discussion comparing and contrasting the requirements of this task with the requirements of the Explore PT which I think fit well in this lesson.

Wednesday, January 10th Students completed lesson 4 and had time to work on their homework for the week which was unit 5 lesson 1.

Friday, January 12th was a 40 minute period, but we had a great time with unit 4 lesson 5: Simple Encryption. I opened the class with a short message written on the whiteboard using a simple Caesar cipher and challenged the students to decode the message before they could get out their laptops. It led to productive discussion around encryption and Caesar ciphers and eventually everyone was able to figure it out. I then has students play with the classic and substitution cipher widgets, and then create their own message and post their encrypted message in google classroom. Next students had try try to decode each others messages. They had fun and were able to understand Caesar cipher and random substitution ciphers. We ended with a discussion on why encryption is an important need for everyday life on the internet and the weaknesses and security flaws of substitution ciphers.