A new unit - suggestion

I was helping one of my students install Python and Pygame on their MacBook, which required them to run the terminal and “sudo”. They asked “what’s sudo”, which led to an incomplete discussion of user types and permissions. Last night I started to think about what’s missing in Computer Science Principles, which led me to start to plot out a new unit. This unit would cover operating systems and architecture. It would include topics like multi-user systems (maybe include a little history of unix/multics/VMS etc), what user access levels are and why (Active Directory, for example). It would cover the Task manager - how processes work (task switching and multi-processing in general), what priority means, and performance (memory usage, CPU load, network, etc), and what “real time” means. Maybe include some Arduino-like coding. We could get into system architecture a bit - CPU, FPU, GPU, memory, bus, I/O (hardware for gaming versus hardware for data processing?), and the history of computer architecture - Enigma/Univac to iPhone/XBox. This would be a great unit for after the AP Exam (the Data Visualization unit feels like it tries hard but doesn’t quite “get there”). I’m going to try and put something together for my class for this year, but I won’t do the excellent job that code.org could do. I’d love to see you guys add this to APCSP, or maybe even as a separate course. JR

Totally agree! I put together some lessons last year that we covered after the AP exam.

Happy to share with you if you like.

Mitch, I’d love to see what you have. I’ll share whatever I put together. Thanks! JR

You can email me at jranta@sprise.com

Mitch, thanks, your lessons will be very helpful (well-designed, too). My idea for the ATE Unit (After The Exam) is evolving. I’d like students to dig into the history and evolution of computer technology. I also want to make this a unit where students create the lessons for the class. Each student (or a pair of students, might be better as a collaborative project) will pick a topic (I’m preparing a list) and then have 1-2 weeks to research it and prepare a lesson. I’ll provide kids with a study guide template, guidelines for the structure and delivery of the lesson itself (but I want to give them leeway for creatively presenting their topic, so not too detailed) and guiding questions for research on their topic. Then each student (pair maybe) will present to the rest of us via Zoom (our video conference tool of choice) and Google Docs. I think we’ll be doing this in May (pending our final schedule for the AP Exam). I’ll post the Unit Outline here when I’ve got it more fleshed out, and make the lesson materials available via a Google Doc share for anyone interested. I would like to use some of your materials as an overview (Start Here) to kick off this unit, thanks for sharing.

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This sounds wonderful. I look forward to seeing your materials. It is something I would be very interested in doing with my students “after the exam”.

Mitch, I’d be interested too. Could you email me at bhatnagars@esuhsd.org? Thanks

Hi @jranta,

Sounds like cool content, and thanks for taking the initiative on this!

I’m guessing code.org’s CSP curriculum targets the AP CSP framework, so for logistical reasons, I’m not sure how much they can squeeze in this content. However, like others mentioned, this sounds interesting for post-exam material, and code.org has been known to put some of that “extra” material after the exam, so it’s not out of the question. :slight_smile:

Maybe CS Discoveries has a chance too?


Well, the best laid plans and all. I won’t be doing anything more to plan a post exam unit. Thanks for the input. Maybe next year…JR

Hi Mitch I would be interested in seeing what everyone that has commented about your post-ap lessons too. I have begun to assign code.org’s post-ap since my students have all completed their explore and create tasks. I still like code.org’s lessons on sheets because it’s so relevant to any career they may end up picking. carmichaelc@eastonsd.org

Mitch, I would love to see what you have. I have been thinking about adding a unit like this to my course. Can you email me at coffey_m@shaker.org?