Advice on order of units


This is my second year teaching AP CSP and although the course went great last year, I felt a little rushed to get done with the tasks in time. During training, I heard a lot of teachers say they do the lessons in this order…1, 2, 4, Explore Task, 3, 5 and Create Task.

I know that it is a personal decision but would really like to better understand the pros and cons of going out of order. I really hesitate to stray from how it was written, knowing how much thought was put into this curriculum. Advice?


This is my second year as well and I plan on the same sequence as stated above


The first version of the curriculum had units 3 and 5 combined into one unit. Unit 5 takes a very long time to complete. Being combined with unit 3 made it too long. With a long unit on programming, the students were bored and it felt very monotonous. I also had a hard time keeping the slow students focused and motivated since they would start getting overwhelmed when their peers were too far ahead or were finishing them without much difficulty. I like the unit being split up into 2 and taught with a break in the middle. It cut the monotony and helped me have more control on how much time was being spend on each lesson, keep the slow students a little more motivated than the prior year. I think this was the feedback they got from a lot of the teachers who piloted this version of the curriculum and hence decided to split it up. I have taught 1, 2, 3, 4, Explore, 5, Create sequence for 2 years now and I liked the flow. This is also the reason, I decided to split up the Performance Tasks and have the students do them at different times in the year.


Thank you for your response. Since last year went so well ordering it like you suggest, I will do the same this year. Perhaps, I will eliminate a few lessons in Unit 4 if I feel we are pushed for time. I noticed also that rearranged the lessons and this should help with timing too. I feel confident now that this is the best plan for me and my students.


This is my second year–last year, I taught the course basically as published (I did the actual explore before finishing 5, but we had started it), while this year I am doing 1.1, 2, 1.2, 3, 4, explore, 5, create.

Here is why I don’t put all of the coding together: Some of my students are very anxious to get to the coding part, so I felt that moving it all to the second half was not a good plan. Also, like bhatnagars, having too long of a block of straight coding meant that there was a very wide discrepancy between my faster and slower coders and I could see it leading to many of the same issues. Finally, putting the real explore off for a little longer (we did it during the end of Jan/early Feb) meant that I had a little time to have them do an additional explore for their semester final (that’s Dec for us) that I could grade and give feedback on.


Also, if you look at the revised lessons for this year, you’ll notice that about half of unit 2 has been removed to “post AP”–so you may have some additional time compared to last year!

edit: oops, I meant unit 2, not unit 4!


Just my 2 cents – With the reduction in Units 2 and 4 I think this will fit much better in the school year. I plan on Units 1, 2, 3, 4, Explore, 5 (chapter 1), Create, 5 (chapter 2), Exam. I find the students like to get a little programming (unit 3) earlier in the year.


@biermanl quick correction here that we moved about half of Unit 2 to Post AP. As you noted, however, this was done to help improve the pacing of the course. For all full description of what changed and why I highly recommend checking out Appendix C of the Curriculum Guide [link].


I second what George said here too. I had done when it had all the programming at the end - students needed something different than the “” structure toward the end - some saw it as a system to game and others wanted more freedom. I like having 3 and 5 separate and am hoping to throw in some mini-units throughout chapter 5 (like the stuff from the post-AP unit) BUT I do move pretty fast through the curriculum. I am on Unit 3 right now and we started school in September. Your schedule/pace might look different.