Can array lesson in Unit 5 be done without first doing preceding two while loop lessons?



Preparing for the possibility of being tight on time when PT deadlines and AP Exam date roll around. Can I skip straight to Lesson 13 (arrays) after completing chapter 1 of Unit 5?

  • Teacher notes indicate that Create PT can be done after chapter 1 of Unit 5 is completed (U5C1 commentary).
  • Teacher notes also state that “using a linear pass over an array (a loop that starts at the front of a list and does something to or with each element one at a time until it reaches the end) is the most sophisticated programming technique students will encounter in the course or AP exam” (U5C2 commentary - preparing for the multiple choice exam).

From reading through the lessons, it appears that I could complete chapter 1 and then do U5L13 (Intro to Arrays) on its own, and be in OK shape for PT and Exam. Am I correct on that, or does Lesson 13 depend on material from lessons 11 (while) and 12 (simulations) in ways I haven’t noticed yet?


@amctavish The array lessons (Unit 5 Lessons 13-15) introduce and use “for” loops and do not use “while” loops so the quick answer is “yes you can” - The reference language used on the AP Exam has two types of loops “REPEAT n TIMES” and “REPEAT UNTIL condition” so your students will need to understand how those work. They also have “FOR EACH item IN list” for arrays. If you look at the practice tests from the College Board you’ll see 4-5 questions on simulations so think you should at least look at those and discuss simulations with your students before the exam. What do others think?


I like @gjschmidt 's answer here. If you wanted to you could probably more efficiently cover the material needed for the AP test without doing the JavaScript lessons in App Lab. You could just cover the loops in the reference language. That does get a bit away from the “spirit” of the course, but sometimes tough decisions need to be made.

One question, do you have independent learners who would be able to learn the content in app lab independently? It might help if near the end you allow students to work at their own pace and assign some of it as optional homework for students who WANT to learn that content. I also think that there is a good chunk of time AFTER the PTs are due and before the AP test. It could be that you cover that material during that time in May.

Finally, I think if really crunched, you could skip the “simulations” level - I think that provides some good practice, but to me the real take away that it is trying to drive home is “look, computer code can help create simulations” but there are other ways to cover that idea too…

Hope that helps!