Re-ordering some of the chapters


So, this is my second year teaching CSP and I have made a change to the order that I deliver the lessons. I am starting with Unit 1 Chapter 1 and then Unit 2 Chapter 1. The scaffolding works great and really enforces what binary is and why it is needed and the transition to Hex is really strong. So, I’m really happy with this part so far.

I will do Unit 1 Chapter 2 next - the Internet. It is a really strong Chapter and my students really liked it last year so I think it stands alone really well.

I am then doing Unit 3 and 5 back to back for a programming extravaganza which will be broken up by the holiday breaks. Last year I didn’t get to the lists and other data structures and this will let me provide a bit more differentiation I think. I will do the Create task after that.

Then I will do a Data unit with Unit 2 Chapter 2 then Unit 4. and the Explore Task after that. I am hoping to add a relational database lesson or two.

Whadda people think? Stupid? Brilliant?


Ha ha. Guess what the order used to be :slight_smile: ?

…v1 of the curriculum:

  • U2 Ch. 1 was part of what is currently U1 Ch 1 – Check out: (check out:
  • “unit 3” was current unit 3 + unit 5 all together. Check out:
  • Note: these old versions are out of date in more ways than one and are going away soon, but proof I’m not making it up.
  • U2 Ch2 and Unit 4 used to be one unit as well.

We broke it up for a number of reasons which, back in 2015-16 we outlined here

And guess what we’re considering making the order now?

Great minds…something something.


When I piloted’s CSP, I followed the sequence Baker outline (and as he mentioned, pretty much what you are outlining :slight_smile:) I believe changes were made due to feedback from teachers, but of course it’s worth trying and your students may respond differently from others’ experiences.

I found lumping the programming into one unit was too much programming for my students - they seemed to “burn out” or kinda “go numb” from it after a few weeks. I appreciated the newer sequence where they get a break and then get to dive in with renewed enthusiasm.

I also found it’s a bit tough following programming with data. In general, my students have found the data unit not quite as “exciting” as programming.

I do agree though that U2Ch1 naturally follows U1Ch1 and would be a pretty seamless flow.

Overall, I’d say give it a shot, and you may have a better chance especially knowing the experience of other people who took that path.


Yeah, we need to find ways to make data exciting without requiring too many skills to get there - that goes for both technology and math. At this point for AP CSP what are the skills needed around data really? I think it’s more social/global impact stuff. Since the bar is so low on “making a computational artifact” (as in - doesn’t require a deliberate computational act on the part of the student) the Explore PT seems to be more about beneficial/harmful effects debate. Which is really important. (historical note: the computational artifact is the last vestige of the old Data Performance Task – there used to be 3! – and it’s never been a good fit in the Explore – or rather how to assess a computational artifact was never really solved).

I have some ideas though.


Thanks for this topic and conversation! I appreciate learning the evolution of the curriculum. It’s always great to hear other teachers’ experiences with it. Thanks to all of the staff for the excellent materials and support. This is my second year teaching AP CSP as well.


I agree re: Unit 3 and 5 back-to-back, for both the reasons that you mention. :slight_smile:


I agree with the order being presented here. This is also my 2nd year teaching CSP. Last year I put the programming units together and plan to do that again this year. I also plan to cut down the Data Unit. I am going to try and present only the main topics and spend less time on that unit. Not sure exactly what that will look like right now. I am also going to try and have the Explore PT completed before we leave for Christmas Break. At the pace I am going right now I may or may not make that!


I have my students write a reflection after every unit they do. They tell me what lessons they learned the most from and which ones they did not do so well. I was really surprised they actually got a lot out of Unit 4. Which made me think that Unit 2 was okay with parts of it, but they did not get much out of the data part. (I did the first few lessons on data there, then skipped lessons 11-14). I really think this information will be especially helpful in planning for next year what order I go in. I did like completing Unit 3 before 4 only because it gave them something they really wanted to do and that was programming. It broke up the research part and gave them a chance to experience that and learning as a group. I really think I may do that next year depending on how we end up and their thoughts at the end.


I am just finishing my first year with AP CSP and followed the order: U1, U2, ExplorePT, U3, U5 L1-10, CreatePT, giving full attention to U1, U2, and U3. Going to see what we can get through on U4 and the balance of U5 through the end of the school year, mainly the hands-on activities since there is way more Code Studio time needed than can be given in class time.

I found the full attention to U1, U2, and U3 necessary to carry the students that were completely new to these materials. Students with prior experience not so much but they still remained fully engaged and assimilated much more than they already knew.

With coding through U5L10, there are a couple of Code Studio activities (open design) that I think ended up taking students longer than should have because of project mis-management working alone; this slowed progress. E.G. the Mad Lib challenge (things got to look real strange in the block programming mode building the output string which seemed to be a mountain to grasp in itself).

I look forward to going through U4 as the subject matter is just as important as that in U1 and U2, IMHO.

Looking forward to next year, I realize that there has to be things that are merely summarized in class that also require at-home time to fullfill the Code Studio sequence.


Hi @steve1,

I was just switching the order of my units being my 3rd year teaching this course and came across this post. I’m curious how it went for you last year. I’m starting off with Unit 3 then on to Unit 5, Create Task, then doing Units 1, 2, 4, Explore. I want my students to have the material from 1, 2, and 4 fresh in their minds as they enter the AP test in May. I have also found my students are very eager to code right off the bat and my seniors kind of hit a wall in March and April when they were doing their Create task (wasn’t their best work). This is why I’m saving the Explore Task for Spring because I find it to be very easy and it’s something my soon-to-graduate seniors can even push through.


Here is what I am doing this year. I am actually moving the programming stuff to second semester and building out a strong Data unit for the first semester. I think it is a big mistake to weaken the data stuff. In our world of “fake news” it is an essential Computer Science skill that students be able to discern fact from fiction, analyze data and build insight. It is far more important than the cryptography stuff that the AP loves.

First Semester

[Unit 1: Digital Information] Unit 1.1 and 2

  • 5 Weeks: Aug 13 th- Sept 14th

[Unit 2: The Internet] unit 1.2

  • 4 weeks: Sept 17th - Oct 12th

[Unit 3: Data] Unit 4 Big Data stuff, the Spreadsheet stuff that got deleted and some stuff of my own

  • 2 weeks: Oct 15 - Oct 26

[Unit 4: Privacy and Security] Unit 4

  • 2 weeks: Oct 29 - Nov 9

[Unit 5: AP Explore Performance Task]

  • 2 weeks (excluding Thanksgiving break): Nov 12 - Dec 7

[Semester One Final]

  • 2 weeks: Dec 10 - Dec 21

Second Semester

[Unit 6: Intro to Programming] Unit 3

  • 4 weeks: Jan 7 - Feb 1

[Unit 7: Building Apps] Unit 5

  • 5 weeks: Feb 4 - March 15

[Unit 8: AP Create Performance Task]

  • 3+ weeks: March 18 - April 19

[Unit 9: AP “Bubble-in” Test (May 9)]

  • 2 weeks including review: April 22 - May 9

[Unit 10: Final Projects]


First year teaching AP CSP. I teach a 90 minute, 5 days a week class and I’m having a really hard time keeping pace. I believe I should be at lesson 1.14 as of today (9/4), but am only at lesson 1.10. I feel myself falling further and further behind. I am not teaching this class as a full AP course, although I am using the curriculum as if I am. If push comes to shove, which unit can I skip and come back to if I have time? Thanks for the anticipated replies to this complete noob!


It’s pretty typical for teachers to “fall behind” their first year teaching the curriculum. It takes time to get a feel for the curriculum as well as get a feel for where your students are and what pace they may be comfortable with. You’re definitely not alone.

With experience, you get a better idea of what you want to target, what you feel can be de-emphasized. My guess is you should be able to buy back a little bit of time since half of unit 2 was gutted since last year. Also, Unit 5 was designed so students only need the first half in order to do the Create PT. If you choose to forego the second half of Unit 5, that might be a couple questions on the multiple choice section of the exam. But since it seems you’re not taking the AP exam, you likely have an extra 1+ month of instruction after the AP exam that some teachers don’t have.