's AP CSP meets Computer Science Textbook

Does anyone use a textbook alongside’s curriculum? If so, what does your curriculum mapping look like (chapters & lessons from the textbook w/’s units, pacing, etc.)? What textbook? Would you be willing to share this information?

I was thinking about using Computer Science Illuminated. I have a copy of this particular text and can be creative in presenting/duplicating the material to/for students and also align the book to this curriculum.

AP CSP spans three trimesters at the school I teach at, so I want to provide additional learning opportunities for students and feel a text will be a good medium, especially for an AP course.

1 Like

I would like to look into this as well. The teacher that was to teach this class left our school and I have been asked to step in because it is in my department.

1 Like

I’m currently working on aligning a text myself to’s curriculum and will forward what I gather to you when I finish. I’m not sure when, though! I’m in the middle of remodeling my kitchen!

If all else fails, I taught this course using mostly materials last school year. You could do the same! Just follow their plans and supplement slightly. Overall, I had good pass results, but felt the code’s curriculum was a little underwhelming for a course designed “AP”. I figured the textbook and supplements would increase content breadth and depth for this school year.

For the record, I’m currently aligning to the 6th edition CS Illuminated textbook since I got my hands on teacher resources for the text, including the text itself in .pdf.



1 Like

Thank you for responding! I am trying to follow the lesson plans but some students are feeling a bit bored at the speed of the content. When you are grading, that is all your information correct? Are we submitting anything elsewhere
to show progress? I appreciate any help or advice because this is completely foreign to me.

Thanks and have a great night!

1 Like

I agree! The students feel a bit bored, which is why I’m supplementing significantly more this year.

This is what I recommend, based on my experiences thus far:

  1. Use code’s curriculum and supplement where you can. If you find a topic watered down, supplement. For example, I find Code’s modular arithmetic section watered down too much. I still have students complete the activity, but I lectured to supplement and provided my own handout.

  2. Code’s lesson plans have extension exercises, readings, etc. near the bottom of their lesson plan pages. I almost always assign most of this additional “optional” content.

  3. As far as grading, don’t worry too much about it. I give participation grades for the activities completed (make sure you check student progress on code’s website to ensure they actually complete the activities correctly, or during class, or however you’d like) and classwork grades for the accompanying paperwork (which I just check for completeness).

  4. Follow code’s curriculum, but look at the CS illuminated textbook and supplement using this resource where you feel necessary. Some content, even though it may not be on the AP test, is so important to learn in a principles course. I find Code actually leaves this content out, but personally find it necessary to cover for a principles course (this also increases rigor and will please our level of student).

Let me know if you have any other questions! I have lots of resources from last school year (quizzes, handouts, tests, etc.). Please reach out!


Jordan Williams

1 Like

Hi @jwill,

For the most part I haven’t heard of teachers supplementing with a text book. Of those who do, some teachers have student do readings from “Blown to Bits”, a free PDF book ( - I believe the curriculum refers to it here and there in the “lesson extension” sections. That, or some teachers supplement with test prep books (like 5 Steps to a 5).


Thank you Jordan. I am a general business teacher for consumer and intro to business classes. Our AP teacher left and they had to cancel all classes except this one. I have never taught this class nor have any experience in this
content so I am way in over my head. I appreciate the help…more than you know. Unfortunately, I am so lost between the and the AP test and I have no idea how to even assess them to prepare for the AP test in May.

Lol…can you hear the panic in my voice:)


1 Like

No he utilizado ningún texto adicional al curriculum, será motivo para pensar en un texto. Por que en mi escuela no se enseña informática los maestros integran los recursos TIC en sus sesiones de aprendizaje.

1 Like

Yes, I saw the reference to “Blown to Bits” and it can be downloaded for free chapter by chapter. I’m new to this, so I am checking into everything1


I see this post was from about a month ago I hope things are going well. I know exactly how you feel. I taught Business for many years and started teaching CS 4 years ago. All I can say is that the curriculum is really engaging, the kids love it and it’s all pretty much mapped out for you. I took part in the training so I was lucky but you can get a lot of help through the forums and also college board. The 2 performance tasks were a lot to understand at first but just take one day at a time and get familiar with the lessons ahead of time. My scores were good and I really didn’t have any experience. Some of the lessons were kind of confusing for me the first year but got much better. Let me know if I can help! I can provide you with my email if you want. Good luck.

1 Like

Hi, I’ve been using the curriculum as my primary resource since 2017. This is the third year I am teaching AP CSP. I love the curriculum the way it is presented. My favorite unit is the Internet.
This year I added a few assignments from Khan Academy as well. My kids are engaged and enjoying the class so far. We are just finishing up with Unit 2. I would like them to do a little more practice with hexadeximal to binary conversion and we have a format showdown coming up.
I added more presentations to the research they do on the topics. My current batch of kids are mostly sophomores who like showing off what they have learned. I am cashing in on that and assigning presentations on different compression algorithms now. We have done presentations on Internet censorship, net neutrality, cybersecurity. Don’t forget to use the optional lessons on each unit. I enjoyed doing the traveling salesman and Djikstra’s algorithm with my kids. It helped them understand how routers work and what happens to Internet packets very well.

1 Like

Hello all. I have been teaching with this curriculum since its inception. My students love the activities! I currently teach in a private school but also taught in a public school. And, after 20 years of teaching CS, this is my favorite course every year in every environment. I always add in news from twitter or social media that relates to the topic as it comes up. For example, our summer assignment was to go through the Bits Book and give a 2 minute flash talk about a topic of interest. I got to learn a lot about the students’ interests and tied their presentations to our class by discussing an article that appeared in the NY Times 9/8 about antitrust laws and big tech (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, etc.) The kids always sigh when class is over…

I make a quizlet of the vocabulary for the students at the end of every unit to help put the content in a neat “school-type” package as they prepare for the tests. I give my own vocab assessments in addition to the tests and it works well to give the students the tools they need to do well on the test and have the language to handle the ap tasks…

If you need other ideas, please reach out.


1 Like