Introduction to Teacher Guide

Teacher Guide home

Welcome to the Teacher Guide (first version) for the Beauty and Joy of Computing (BJC) AP Computer Science Principles (CSP) course. This guide is designed to support high school CSP teachers with timing and activities for the BJC student materials to teach important ideas of programming and the social implications of computing and to prepare students for the AP CSP Exam that launches Spring 2017. Please offer feedback on these teacher and student materials; your feedback is vital to their improvement.

Equity and Inclusion

A primary goal of this course is to attract new students, especially those traditionally underrepresented in CS, to the joys and life opportunities that come with programming and computer science, and to make rigorous computer science accessible and enjoyable. Please note any ways this curriculum does not meet your students' needs and any ideas you have for meeting them better, and tell the research team by using the blue feedback button and/or research participant surveys.

AP CSP "Big Ideas":
1 Creativity
2 Abstraction
3 Data and Information
4 Algorithms
5 Programming
6 The Internet
7 Global Impact
AP CSP "Computational Thinking Practices":
P1 Connecting Computing
P2 Creating Computational Artifacts
P3 Abstracting
P4 Analyzing Problems and Artifacts
P5 Communicating
P6 Collaborating

AP Computer Science Principles

Several curricula satisfy the framework for the new (starting 2016-17) AP CS Principles exam. BJC is one. Most AP courses have specific curricula, taught in similar ways at every high school where they are offered. CS Principles is different because it is equivalent to a college breadth course rather than a first course for CS majors, and there is no uniformity in how colleges teach such a course. In particular, the exam is meant to be "language agnostic," meaning that any programming language can be used in the course.

CSP's specific goal is to attract students in groups that are historically underrepresented in computer science. It's an AP course for tactical reasons: it's much easier to get high schools across the country to introduce an AP course than a non-AP course for which there is no national high school standard curriculum. But keep in mind that the goal is to attract students who don't see themselves as "computer geeks" and may not view themselves as "AP kids."

The College Board framework sets minimum standards for each of the "Big Ideas" and "Computational Thinking Practices" listed to the right, but each curriculum has its own emphasis. BJC puts a heavy emphasis on Programming and Global Impact. See also the College Board AP Computer Science Principles Curriculum Framework.

Resources for Recruiting Female and Underrepresented Minority Students from the College Board
Do we still need these? They're outdated now... -MF

Student Materials:

Design Elements

The BJC student materials have several design elements that are visually distinguished by color, each to serve a specific purpose:

Yellow boxes contain additional information for optional reading.
  1. Students should Work with a Partner
  2. As much as possible, every pair should complete all For You To Do problems.
    • If some problems are too much for your students, please provide feedback to the developers using the blue feedback button in the lower right corner of every lab page.
    • The teacher guide suggests places where, if time is tight, you can skip problems.
Alphie: These are scripts for short skits that model some aspect of computational thinking.
Betsy: They are designed for students to read aloud in class.
Students should act out the italic stage directions instead of reading them out loud. (Or an audience member can narrate as they act it out.)
Gamal: Mix it up! Students can read these dialogues in small groups or in front of the class (maybe even have two groups read in turn to increase retention), or teachers can assign them as a homework assignment and have students record a video or podcast of their reading.
Encourage participation, of course, but also be sensitive to students who, for one reason or another, are too anxious at first to present in front of others.
These orange boxes highlight important information and ways of thinking.
  1. These problems are valuable and encouraged, but students can proceed to next lessons without doing these. In that sense, they are optional.
  2. You can use them as differentiation for students who move faster.
  3. Or assign them for homework.
  4. Some of them can also become the basis for student projects.

Related Resources from External Sources: