Mr. Meinzen : AP Computer Science - Principles

"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." Winston Churchill



Course Curriculum - Quarter 3
Week Due Date Topic Assignment



Big Ideas:

  1. Creativity
  2. Abstraction
  3. Data and Information
  4. Algorithms
  5. Programming
  6. The Internet
  7. Global Impact

Computational Thinking Practices (P1-P6):

  1. Connecting Computing
  2. Creating Computational Artifacts
  3. Abstracting
  4. Analysing Problems and Artifacts
  5. Communicating
  6. Collaboration

Project 0 - Planning for APCS-P Assessments


Introduction to Course Expectations & AP Assessment Requirements


Learning Objectives & Essential Knowledge Statements (LO's & EK's)


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Assessment: Create Performance Task - Application from Ideas
    • Create a Computational Artifact, online submission, due 15Apr
    • 12 classroom hours = 4 hours for Part I (design) + 8 hours for Part II (implementation)
  2. Assessment: Explore Performance Task - Implications of Innovations
    • 8 classroom hours, online submission, due 15Apr
  3. Assessment: Exam
    • Written Summary Exam, in-school



Mon-Fri, :

5 hours for Performance Tasks


Practice Create Task: Fri,

Focus on Big Idea #5 - Programming

Through-Course Assessment: Create Task [Part I]

Illustration - Intro to APCS-Principles Curriculum Framework

Discussion - Software Development Cycle - Individual and/or Team Application

Classroom time to complete Create Performance Task Part I - Design [can be completed concurrently with Project 1 but Create Artifact must be different than Project 1].


Project 1 - Software Development Cycle & Designing a Computational Artifact : Sample Create Task

  • - Identify LO's and Software Development Cycle

    - Select, Design & Plan a Computational Artifact [application or visualization]



Focus on Big Ideas #3 and #4 - Data & Information and Abstraction

Lecture 1 - Numerals & Digits

Lecture 2 - Numbers & Number Systems

Lecture 3 - Numeral Bases

Lecture 4 - Operations & Properties

Project 2 - Numeric Systems, Arithmetic, and Math Theory using Binary, Octal, Decimal, & Hexadecimal.

  • - Practice converting between different Number Systems and Bases

    - Creating assessment questions based on the lectures.

    - Selecting, exploring, and communicating (via writting) two topics that extend beyond the information from the lectures.


Fri, - Exploration I


Wed, - Exploration II


Fri, - 9Feb Exploration III

Focus on Big Idea #3 and #6 -Data & Information and Internet

Lecture 1 - Encoding Numbers using IEEE754

Lecture 2 - Encoding Colors and Characters [ASCII & Unicode]

Lecture 3 - Encoding and Abstractions on the Internet

Project 3 - Data Representation & Encodings using Binary, Decimal, and HexaDecimal Systems.

  • - Practice encoding numbers using bits & bytes, magnitudes of numbers (metric prefixes), human precision, accuracy and sources of encoding errors

    - Practice converting between colors (RGBA) encodings and characters (ASCII and UniCode) encodings.

    - Write a program to convert between addressing schema on the internet (IPv4, IPv6, Ethernet MAC, TCP/IP).

    - Write a program to encoding and/or decoding various abstraction levels on the Internet (OSI Layers)




Focus on Big Idea #5 and #6 - Programming & Internet

Demonstration 1 - http & HTML

Demonstration 2 - HTML & Document Object Model (DOM)

Demonstration 3 - DOM & ECMAscript (JavaScript)

Project 4 - Internet Protocols: http, HTML, DOM, and JavaScript

  • - Design & Create interactive webpages on a topic of social interest using HTML, DOM, & JavaScript

  • - Explain the process of how the webpage would be hosted and transmitted between a server & client.


1st Image:


2nd Image:


3rd Image:




Focus on Big Idea #1 and #5 - Creativity and Programming

Illustration 1 - Hall-of-Fame Examples

Demonstration 1- Scene Description Language

Illustration 2 - Advanced modeling & visualization techniques

Project 5 - Three Dimensional Modeling and Visualizations using a RayTracer (Pov-Ray)

  • - Design & Create visualizations (images and animations) via a scene description programming language and ray-tracer.

    - Design & Create a visualization model using a mathematical abstraction of a physics/physical entity (example: a ball rolling down a parabolic path)

    - Explore how a graphic program will display a visualizaton by extracting large amounts of binary data from file(i.e. png, jpeg, or other graphic format) including use of the meta-data stored in the file and file extension.

Engineering Notebook : 3rd Quarter Check-In

Course Curriculum - Quarter 4
Week Due Date Topic Assignment
MOCK Exams should be scheduled during IL State Testing (SAT)


Selection of Topic and corresponding LO's & EK's :


Due: pre-Quiz & post-Quiz :


Administer: pre-Quiz to peers:


Due : Computational Artifact :


Presentation of Explore Project (i.e Written Response) :


Administer: post-quiz to peers :


Completed Project and Rubric :


Focus on Big Idea #3 and #7 - Data & Information and Global Impact


Discussion - researching and teaching a Computational Topic through presentation & assessments

Illustration - relevant Learning Objectives and Essential Knowledge statements with regards to a specific innovative computational phone personal privacy and security.

Classroom time to complete Explore Performance Task ...can be completed concurrently with Project 6 but Explore Artifact must be different than Project 6].


Project 6 - Technical Presentation and Evaluation of Learning including Legal & Ethical Considerations

  • - Identify a computational topic that has global impact in society and addresses the identified corresponding Learning Objectives labeled above.

    - Investigate legal and ethical implications of the topic with regard to impact on society.

    - Present and Explain (both orally and written) an Artifact to peers.

    - Assess peer learning and understanding of topic using pre- and post-Quizzes.

    - Self-assessment of teaching/peer-learning success.


Mon-Fri, : Spring Break


Th-Fri, : Project 7 AP Reference Language Practice


Mon-Wed, : 3 hours Performance Task

Focus on Big Idea #2 and #4 - Abstraction and Algorithms


Demonstration - review of a previous program assignment (algorithm & data structures: bubblesort an array in Java)

Lecture - comparison of various computer languages and AP Exam Reference sheets for pseudo-languages

Discussion - Correctness, Efficiency, Solvable, Undecided problems

Project 7 - Learn Three Languages (introduction)

  • - Given an algorithm, translate the same algorithm to other computer languages.

    - Given data structures (literals, variables, arrays of objects) in one language (Java), translate (write) equivalent data structures in 3 other languages.

    - Given a program (construction, searching, sorting) in one language (Java), create (write) equivalent algorithms in 3 languages.

    - Analyze the correctness of peer solutions

    - Identify and explain reasonable running time; solvable, unsolvable, and undecidable problems; and efficiency, correctness, and clarity.


Mon-Fri, : 4 hours Performance Task [SAT & PSAT one day]


Classroom time to complete Explore Performance Task


15Apr : DRAFT online submission of Performance Tasks: Explore & Create


Mon-Fri, Apr : 5 hours Performance Tasks


Classroom time to complete Create Performance Task Part II - Implementation [can be completed concurrently with Project 7 but Create Artifact must be different than Project 7].

  • - Select, Design & Plan a Computational Artifact of their choice[application]

    - Create a Computational Artifact

    - Collaborate with another student on a Computational Artifact

    - Complete and submit their Create Performance Task as part of their Through-course Assesment


Mon-Fri, Apr : 4 hours Performance Tasks


2019Apr 10:45am-2:00pm 4th-6th hours) : Mock Exam at JDWC


27Apr : FINAL online submission of Performance Tasks: Explore & Create

Mock Exam at JDWC (eat "A" lunch)

- 65 multiple choice (single answer)

- 8 multiple choice (two answers)

AP Tasks & Exam Preparation - Debrief after Mock Exam


Due: : Project 7 (completion)



Fri, 4May: Yearbook Signing Day

Focus on Big Idea #2 and #5 - Abstraction and Programming


2-D Real-Time Simulation using Cartesian Coordinates & Polar Coordinates - Java


Objective A: Create a simple robot that has a moveTo(int x, int y) method


Objective B: Create a simple robot to defeat Corners and/or Walls sample robots


Objective C: Create simple team robots to defeat Corners and/or Walls sample robots


Objective D: Create complex team robots


Objective E may be implemented after senior's last day


Alternate Project: Digital Audio Representation & Filtering Effects using Earsketch - JavaScript

Project 7 - Learn Three Languages (completion)


Project 8 - RoboCode in Java Competition - example Create Performance Task

  • - Select, Design & Plan a Computational Artifact [Robotic Tank in Java]

    - Create a Computational Artifact [effective Robotic Tank in Java]

    - Collaborate with another student on a Computational Artifact [example: team of Robotic tanks in Java]

    - Explain why some algorithms may take too long to run [example: robotic scan data that is sorted by O(n^2) algorithm may disable other robotic features]


AP Tasks & Exam Preparation - Debrief after Mock Exam


Mon-Tue, 7-8May : In-class Practice Exam


Fri, 10May2019 , noon-2pm - AP CSP
Written Exam



In-class Practice Exam -

Day 1: #1-45 multiple choice (single answer)

Day 2: #46-73 multiple choice [final 8 problems have two answers]


Focus on Big Idea #2 and #5 - Abstraction and Programming


Assembly-language coding using CoreWars and RedCode


Project 9 - CoreWars Programming

  • - Select, Design & Plan a Computational Artifact [application]

    - Create a Computational Artifact

    - Collaborate with another student on a Computational Artifact

2019 AP Exams (Week 1):

  • Fri, 10May : PM: AP Computer Science Principles Exam

2019 AP Exams (Week 2):

  • Tue, 14May : AM: AP Calculus Exams (AB and BC)

    Thu, 16May : PM: AP Statistics Exam

    Fri, 17May : PM: AP Computer Science A Exam


non-seniors only

Student Programming Selection or Categorize and define a list of technology-related terms.

Project 10 - Student Choice



2020 AP Exams (Week 1):

  • : PM: AP Computer Science Principles Exam

2020 AP Exams (Week 2):

  • : AM: AP Calculus Exams (AB and BC)

    : PM: AP Statistics Exam

    : PM: AP Computer Science A Exam




Classroom Policy

General Course Information

  • This course is designed to fulfill the requirements of the College Board's Advance Placement Computer Science - Principles course and assessments. Included in the requirements are:
    • Student daily access to a computer lab.
    • A minimum of 12 hours of classroom time to work on the Create - Applications from Ideas Performance Task
    • A minimum of 8 hours of classroom time to work on the Explore - Impact of Computing Innovations Performance Task
    • Preparation for the Written Exam for the APCS-Principles Assessment


  • No single textbook is assigned to this Project-Based course.
  • Critical Skills:
    • While book(s) may be assigned, excellent note-taking is expected.
    • The ability to ask "clarifying" questions is a critical skill in this class. The teacher's "answer" depends greatly on how you phrase your question. Two students who ask similar questions may receive completely different responses due to the precise nature of computer languages.
    • Another critical skill is the ability to work and communicate ideas/concepts with other students and your teacher. Many assignments will require teamwork in order to accomplish an assignment.


  • Grades will be calculated on a total point basis.
    Grades will primarily be based on individual ability, understanding, and accomplishment.

    Percentage Scale Grade Letter
    100% - 90% A
    89.99% - 80% B
    79.99% - 70% C
    69.99% - 60% D
    59.99% - 1% F
    0.99% - 0% Incomplete
  • This is a Projects-based course.
  • There are approximately 10 projects that are due throughout the semester.
  • Each project will have a defined topic, assignment or list of objectives, and a scheduled due date.
  • Grading will vary depending on the topic and difficulty of project and will be discussed before the project is assigned.
  • Each project's grade "weight" is approximately the length of time it takes to complete the project. For example, if a project takes 1 week in a 9 week quarter, the project will count approximately1/9th of the quarter grade.
  • Failure to turn in a project on time or meet an objective will result in loss of points/grade.
  • Due to the nature of the course, not all students can be expected to have "equal" assignments on every project. For example, as one of the final projects, students are allowed the academic freedom to select their own project topic (subject to teacher approval and within specific guidelines). If one student chooses a project that takes 4 weeks to complete and another chooses a 2 week project, the scoring and grading will differ significantly.
  • The only test will be the Final Exam and will count 20% of the Semester Grade.

BYOD Policy :

  • A computer lab is available for students for this course. The computers in the lab run the following software (see Resources tab for details):
    • Microsoft Windows 7 (Pro)
    • Java SDK (any version above 6.0)
    • several other
  • While students may bring in their own computer to complete classroom assignments, there are specific devices that may not be compatible with the course software.
    • A general rule of thumb is to see if the device comes with a keyboard and mouse...if not, then usually the device cannot be used in the course. For example: MacBooks will work but iPads may not. Please see your teacher if you have specific questions about your device.
  • Phones and/or uncovered cameras are NOT allowed in the classroom.
    • Students who intentionally or unintentionally compromise the privacy of any other student or compromise academic integrity or validity of a test or quiz by their behavior will receive a zero and, possibly, a referal for further consequences. This includes having a camera (i.e. smartphone/BYOD device) out while ANY assessment is in the classroom.
    • For example, a student who turns in their test and then takes out their smartphone (i.e. camera) to listen to music while other students are still working on their tests will receive a zero on their test. As well, a student taking pictures of teacher's notes on the board will not retain/learn of concepts and may be invading the privacy of other students (white boards are highly reflective). Generally, if the teacher is taking the time to hand-write notes on the board, then students should put in the effort to copy the notes.

Student Responsibilities:

Advice from 2017-18 students to 2018-19 students

  • Answers to: If you could start AP Computer Science Principles over again, what advice would you give yourself?

    • "Study the EK's and LO's a lot more!"

    • "Start Projects earlier"

    • "Don't be afraid to ask questions"

    • "Take Notes!"

  • Answers to: What was your favorite part of the course?

    • "Learning new Things"

    • "Mr M's humor"

  • Answers to: What was the hardest/least favorite part of the course?

    • "PovRay"

    • "Mr M's humor"

  • In Seat & Ready to Go when bell stops (i.e. books, sharpened pencils, paper)
  • Respectful of Teacher and Each Other (i.e. raise your hand, don't talk while teacher is talking, no rudeness or bad language, etc.)
  • The two most important ingredients for success in this class are practice and attendance.
  • No eating or drinking in class, 2 bathroom/drinking trips per Semester.
  • Maintain at least 3 backup copies of all work. A "lost" or "destroyed" program will receive zero credit.
  • Remember that, for every hour spent in class, 2 hours of outside class work (homework/projects) are typical for an AP course (i.e. 5 hours in class per week + 10 hours at home)

Responsibilities while absent:

Notes and Homework

Test and Quizzes

  • Get notes from a peer.

  • Read the section and look at examples.

  • Get the assignment from the calendar, web page or a peer in class.

  • Do the assignment, even if you need help come in before or after school for assistance!

  • As per school policy you have the same amount of days as you were absent to make up missing test/quizzes.

  • Any project / test /quiz not made up in the appropriate amount of time will be a zero.

  • You may need to schedule time with Mr. Meinzen either before or after school to meet or receive appropriate help on a timely basis...plan accordingly!


    • I expect students to be respectful to each other and their teacher. Refer to the student handbook if you have questions.
    • Students are expected to take notes, ask questions, and work consistently and continuously the entire class period.
    • If problems occur in the class the discipline plan, in general, is:
      • Verbal warning (may include "1 minute after class delayed dismissal" or "15 minute after school mini-detention")
      • After school detention
      • Referral to the dean
      • Parents called or e-mailed
      • any student caught downloading and installing a program on the computers without Mr. Meinzen's consent will receive a referral to the dean and possible 5-day suspension

    Tardies and Absences:

    • Attendance is the responsibility of the student and their parents.
    • Parents/ Guardians may be contacted the next day via phone or email to inform them of any absences or student issues.
    • First two tardies result in warnings, 3rd tardy is after school detention, 4th is Saturday detention, subsequent are suspensions.
    • If you have an excused absence, you will be allowed to make up your work for full credit by the same number of days you were consecutively absent.
    • Unexcused absences follow the same procedure as excused absence; however, you will only receive 50% of the grade you earn.
    • Refer to the school attendance policy for complete details on excused and unexcused absences and make-up work.
    • There will be ONE in-school field trip in April to complete an AP "Mock Exam" in preparation for the actual AP Exam as well as the 2nd Semester Final Exam. This field trip is required and the "Mock Exam" will be scored as part of the course grade regardless of the student actually taking the AP Exam or not.


    • Use mechanical pencils (have at least 2).
    • Keep an organized notebook and a folder with all your assignments. Get two classmates’ phone numbers in case you need help.
    • You will need to purchase a flash drive or other storage device for this class.
    • Students must keep multiple backup copies of all work. It is the student's responsibility to be aware that technology is NOT perfect.
    • If purchasing a disk/flashdrive is a problem, let me know
    • WEBSITE for Assignments is
    • This class is a COLLEGE-LEVEL COURSE, it requires a great deal of self-discipline. It is easy to be social and not get work done. This is especially true in the first quarter when things seem easiest WARNING! If you do not keep up, you will fall behind and NEVER catch up.

    What can I expect from the teacher ?

    • You can expect the teacher to maintain a classroom atmosphere that is safe and conducive to the education of ALL students. Any student or group of students prevent or disrupt this will be discipline as outlined above.
    • I will try to be available before and after school either in the classroom or in my office in Room 310 for extra help [unless a meeting is scheduled].
    • I can be reached at EHS: 656-7100 (voicemail 20311) or
    • As well, I strongly encourage students and parents to contact me as soon as possible if there are any questions or difficulties.
    • In general, I provide daily information on this website and I contact parents/guardians/students via the email address that is registered with the district. However, please let me know if you wish to be contacted by other means on this form. After you have read over this classroom policy, please sign below, and return to me to be put on file. This is your first assignment.

    Survey Assignment

    • What is your best learning environment (given the classroom we have)?
    • What do you not want your teacher to do that would make you not want to learn this material?
    • What learning/teaching style do you think is most effective for you?
    • What resources do you use to best understand the concepts? (examples: textbook, teacher, family, after-school tutoring, specific website, etc.)?
    • If you could start a realistic classroom tradition, what would it be? (example: every odd-numbered Friday is popcorn-during-lecture day)


    • I prefer to be contacted via (circle preference): EMAIL, or PHONE, or OTHER (specify)
      Print Parent/Guardian Name   Print Student Name  
      Parent / Guardian Signature Date Student Signature Date
      email address home phone work/cell phone