Course Description

Pre-requisite: Computer Science Principles

AP Computer Science A is a course designed for high school students to learn the principles of computer science and object-oriented programming. The course primarily uses Java as the programming language and covers fundamental topics like data structures, algorithms, control structures, and class design.

Students will engage in coding projects and problem-solving exercises to build and strengthen their programming skills. They will learn to write, test, and debug code while applying concepts such as inheritance, polymorphism, recursion, and abstraction. The course also covers algorithm analysis and encourages students to think critically about efficient coding practices.

By the end of the course, students will be well-prepared for the AP Computer Science A exam and will have a solid foundation for further studies in computer science, software engineering, or related fields. This course is ideal for students with a strong interest in technology and problem-solving, and it requires a basic understanding of mathematical concepts.

Course Details

AP Computer Science A

Tenth Grade Eleventh Grade Twelfth Grade

  1. Course Objectives

    • Understand and apply key concepts of object-oriented programming in Java.
    • Implement various data structures and use them to solve problems.
    • Explore algorithms and their efficiency.
    • Develop skills in problem-solving and debugging.
    • Prepare for the AP Computer Science A exam.
    • Foster collaboration, communication, and teamwork in software development.

    Course Outline

    Unit 1: Introduction to Java and Basic Programming Concepts

    • Overview of Computer Science and Java Programming
      • Course expectations and requirements.
      • Setting up a development environment (e.g., IDEs, compilers).
    • Basic Programming Constructs
      • Variables, data types, and expressions.
      • Input/output operations in Java.
    • Control Structures
      • Conditional statements (if-else, switch).
      • Loops (for, while, do-while).

    Unit 2: Object-Oriented Programming (OOP)

    • Introduction to Objects and Classes
      • Defining classes, objects, and methods.
      • Encapsulation and access modifiers.
    • Constructors and Method Overloading
      • Creating and using constructors.
      • Understanding method overloading.
    • Inheritance and Polymorphism
      • Creating class hierarchies and extending classes.
      • Implementing polymorphism through method overriding.
    • Interfaces and Abstract Classes
      • Using interfaces to define contracts.
      • Implementing abstract classes and understanding their role.

    Unit 3: Data Structures and Algorithms

    • Arrays and ArrayLists
      • Basic array operations (creating, accessing, iterating).
      • Using ArrayLists for dynamic data handling.
    • Strings and String Manipulation
      • Working with strings and string methods.
      • Implementing basic algorithms with strings.
    • Searching and Sorting Algorithms
      • Common searching algorithms (linear search, binary search).
      • Sorting algorithms (selection sort, insertion sort, etc.).
    • Introduction to Collections Framework
      • Exploring collections like sets and maps.
      • Using HashMaps and other common data structures.

    Unit 4: Problem-Solving and Software Development

    • Problem-Solving Techniques
      • Breaking down problems and planning solutions.
      • Developing algorithms and pseudocode.
    • Software Development Practices
      • Understanding code quality and software design principles.
      • Learning about code documentation and commenting.
    • Debugging and Error Handling
      • Identifying and fixing common programming errors.
      • Using debugging tools and exception handling in Java.

    Unit 5: AP Exam Preparation and Projects

    • Review for the AP Computer Science A Exam
      • Reviewing key concepts and practice questions.
      • Tips for taking the AP exam.
    • Final Project and Group Collaboration
      • Developing a final project that incorporates key course concepts.
      • Group collaboration and peer code review.
    • Course Reflection and Preparation for Further Study
      • Reflecting on the course experience and lessons learned.
      • Preparing for further studies in computer science or related fields.

    Teaching Methods and Assessment

    • Teaching methods include lectures, coding exercises, group projects, and class discussions.
    • Assessment methods consist of quizzes, coding assignments, projects, and practice AP exams.

    Expected Outcomes

    By the end of the course, students will have a thorough understanding of the concepts and practices of computer science, with the skills to develop and implement programs in Java. They will be well-prepared to take the AP Computer Science A exam and will have gained experience in software development, problem-solving, and collaboration. This course aims to foster a deeper interest in computer science and equip students with foundational knowledge for future studies or careers in technology.

Coming soon. 

Coming soon.

Tayson Holzer

Tayson Holzer completed Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering and has worked as an engineer developing and programming electrical systems, including gas and oil pipeline inspection technologies, missile launch systems, microfabrication of a novel chemical process called micro circulatory gas chromatography, and a 3D laser scanner. He believes that all students, including those not pursuing a technical career, can be inspired by and greatly benefit from learning the patterns of searching for truth that science provides. He also believes that technically minded students who do plan to pursue scientific or engineering careers should be strongly encouraged to keep their roots firmly planted in faith, history, literature, and law. These priorities are reflected in his other interests, which include reading great literature; researching his family history and writing the stories of his ancestors; and studying European and American history to learn from the repeating patterns of history. He enjoys reading with his three young children, baking and talking with his wife, and going on early-morning jogs in the quiet of pre-dawn. His principle loves are the Gospel of Jesus Christ, his family, and teaching in a way that invites others to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and powerfully engage in the compelling work of the last days.