Unit 5: Building Apps

While working through unit 4, I assigned unit 5 as homework – one lesson per week. The class completed unit lessons 1 and 2, then I made time in class for students to discuss and peer evaluate lesson 3 where they make a multi-screen app.

This week students are working on unit 5 lesson 4 as homework while they being to work on their AP Explore task during class time.

Here are a few of the apps students created:





Unit 4: lessons 1 through 5

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.


So much for 180 daily posts!

Whelp. It looks like my last post was just before Thanksgiving break, so here is how we used the time between Thanksgiving break and the semester break, which was only a few weeks since our holiday break began 12/15 this year:

I assigned unit 3, lessons 1 through 8 as homework assignments while we worked through unit 2 in class. After Thanksgiving break, we spent a few days finishing up unit 3 lessons 8 and 9. Then I assigned groups on two or three students, and students completed lesson 10: a practice performance task as their final projects.

Here is an example of a program one team created. The task was just to create an image where they collaborate to make a plan and each team member contributes something. This team decided to use random number generators and a nested for-loop to locate the stars, so each time the program loads, the stars are in different locations.

I am now planning the pacing for next semester. I am in awe of how much time is required for students to spend on the AP Create and Explore tasks. When I calculated the minutes required as dictated by the College Board, the Explore task requires about 3 weeks and the create task requires about 4 weeks. I doubt my students will use all of this time in class to complete these tasks. I was considering assigning unit 5 as homework during the period that students are working on these tasks in class so that they continue to learn.

Here is a calendar that I created to help me think through the pacing of the second semester – I will keep revising and updating this as I think through the remaining units in the curriculum:

Unit 2 chapter 2: Data visualizations

Today I completely used all of Daniel Schneider’s Data science Part 1 lesson. We had a lot of fun and critiqued bad data visualizations, then downloaded a data set and manipulated spreadsheets in excel. As per Daniel’s recommendation, I decided to try using padlet with this class for them to share their data visualizations.

Students completed the task of creating a data visualization from a spreadsheet of data and they had to interpret the data. I told them they could also add (appropriate) fun content. CaptureCapture

quick catch up post

My last post consisted of a pacing plan that I did not follow. Here is what we did:

In the past two weeks, We finished unit 2, chapter 1 and the students had about a week to complete their first mock AP task (while I had a substitute).

I have not finished digging into scoring their work, but from a first glance, I need to help them understand in-text citations, possible keywords to include, and have a discussion on computational artifacts. Capture

Hexter 3 pacing: Wrapping up units 2 & 3

We have been bouncing between code.org’s AP CSP curriculum units 2 and 3. I feel a little unorganized and need to think about how to wrap up the semester.

I have a lot of days with subs coming up due to presenting at conferences and other commitments.

It’s early on a Sunday morning and I just made awesome pumpkin spice latte’s with real pumpkins (grown in my yard) and spices. As my mind was running, I sketched out this plan. I don’t want to loose it, so I am putting it here:

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Unit 3 Lesson 8: Creating functions with Parameters

This was the last day of hexter 2, and we only had a 40 minute period. I considered working on Unit 2, lesson 4 (Encoding color images) but the lesson looked like it would be better during a longer class period. Instead I decided to check in with their progress in unit 3, which has been assigned as homework. We worked as a class on lesson 8, watching the video and working to ensure everyone understands how functions and parameters work. There was not enough time to complete all of the programs in the lesson.

Unit 2 lesson 3: Compressing B&W

This was fun! I had them work on this lesson individually. Many students decided to google binary code to create and edit advanced images, which I allowed as it served the same purpose as creating an image from scratch and they were very engaged in the lesson. This lesson only took about an hour. Since I am assigning unit 3 tasks as homework assignments, I used the remaining time to answer student questions and allow them to continue to progress on the unit 3 lessons.

Unit 3: Programming!

It is Friday, the 13th! We have a wacky schedule for the next few weeks, with conferences on Thursday and Friday next week and the end of the hexter (no regular classes) Thursday and Friday the following week.

Since we have 40 min periods on Fridays, I decided to have the students begin programming, but my plan is that they will do most of the programming as homework assignments and we will go back to working on unit 2 in class. I may make our Friday shorter periods homework (unit 3) help time if they struggle with their programs. My goal is to be through unit 4 by the end of the semester, allowing plenty of time to work on the AP exam preparation next semester.

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