Units 3, 4, 5 & 6: Need to Cover in 15 weeks - Advice Needed

I have only 15 teaching weeks until the AP exam, and need to cover all these units (yes, “me bad”…)

Here would be a tentative plan:

3 weeks - Unit 6 (Explore PT)
2 weeks - Unit 3 (squeeze 3 weeks into 2, omit Practice PT)
5 weeks - Unit 5 (omit 2 Practice PT’s)
Unit 4: 3 weeks interleaved (omit Practice PT)
Misc skipped topics: 1 weeks interleaved
4 weeks - Unit 6 (Create PT)
1 week - AP Exam Review

15 weeks

Any advice or suggestions?

Hey Smadar,

I’ll kick things off by suggesting that you not entirely skip the practice PTs in Unit 3 and 5. While completing the lessons will introduce students to the programming concepts there, I think students may actually need more practice talking about their programs in the style required for the performance tasks. I’d also point out that if you were not able to make it all the way through Unit 5 students might not actually be missing that much critical content for the AP test. Of course in a perfect world you would have time for all these concepts, but I think you’d be better served to get more practice with writing skills and leaving out some of the last programming concepts, e.g. array processing.

Hopefully other teachers can weigh in with their experiences. Happy to keep talking more as well. Good luck!


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I just finished my plan for finishing semester 1 and how to get to the exam. This week was our 3rd week in Unit 3. I did Stages 1 - 6 before the break. I will use 8 classes over the next two weeks to complete unit 3 including the Digital Scene PT and a test. I did think about skipping Stage 9 and reducing the complexity of the PT. Although this PT seems trivial, I have found that it provides an opportunity for students to understand abstraction and how it reduces complexity. It is especially important for them to be able to write about how their code demonstrates abstraction. Since this is a huge part of the Create task, I have decided its is worth the time spent.

Since we no longer have semester exams, I plan to start Unit 4 before the semester break. I have 4 weeks (18 classes) including both Rapid Researches and a test. I am reluctant to do the practice PT because students cannot use any work that has been graded for their Explore task. So I plan provide the 8 hours of class time (~2 weeks - 11 class periods) right after finishing Unit 4. This will give time to use the Digital Portfolio for the first time. I think it will be better for my students to get a task out of the way.

The BIG Decision was to only plan to complete Unit 5 Chapter 1 before starting the Create task. So I have 3 weeks scheduled for that. As GT stated, the main programming topic in Unit 5 Chapter 2 is arrays. Not all of my students will sit for the exam, so preparation for the MC will probably be done mostly through study sessions.

My plan gives me 3 extra periods before April 30 because I have to account for the possibility of snow days and other fun disruptions. this definitely a work in progress.



Hi Smadar,

Students need a LOT of time for Unit 5. I started it January 3 and will not be done January 26 and I have 80 minute classes. My class is a mix of students who will and won’t be taking the AP exam. I assigned Unit 5 to the AP students to do as homework before winter break and they did some but many had questions and confusion that needed to be cleared up. So, we are in a time crunch for sure. They started the Create Task yesterday. They are confident and feel good about where they are. The remaining students are working on Unit 5 in class. And, if my estimate is correct, we will only finish up to Lesson 10 in Unit 5. Once the semester ends, I have a study hall where I can review and reinforce concepts as we prepare for the exam in May. My Spring semester students will certainly be a challenge. I will be moving Unit 5 up in the course outline that is for sure!

Having finished everything else, I will say Unit 3 can be assigned as homework since most students were able to work through that without much help from me. The concept of a function and parameter (unit 3) will be easy for them once they understand events and variables (unit 5). The unit 3 Practice PT really helped them understand abstraction and collaboration while making an app with a team, so definitely don’t skip that! Unit 4’s practice PT gives them an opportunity to work on written responses in a format that is similar to the Explore & Create tasks, so don’t skip that either. I am not doing the practice PT in unit 5 this time because I didn’t realize I would be in this situation until it was too late…

Good luck!

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I finished Unit 3 right before the semester end and am doing 4 and 5 to finish in one quarter giving us enough time to do both AP Performance Tasks. In order to make this schedule, I decided to assign Unit 4 as homework - one lesson a week. This allows plenty of time for Unit 5 in class, where I think lots of explanation of the more complicated programming concepts is required (I also have been using pair-programming exclusively for coding and it is very effective, in my opinion). I have completed the first 2 stages of unit 5 already, decided to skip stage 3 (since it seems unnecessary) and started stage 4. So far, the students are moving pretty well through Unit 5 - but I would never assign this unit as homework. All of my students are required to take the AP exam. I think even if you are just starting Unit 3 now, you could probably still make it by doing the same thing I am doing with Unit 4. But I REALLY encourage the use of pair programming for Unit 3 and 5. I randomize the pairing each level (I do not allow the students to pick their own partners - except on practice PTs). Hope this is helpful.

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