Course Description

Computer Science Principles is a course for all 9th graders at American Heritage School – Salt Lake City. This hands-on, project-based, introductory course is designed to help you learn the fundamentals of computer programming, regardless of whether you have had previous programming experience. If you can tell the difference between a computer and a toaster, you have all the prior experience needed to succeed in this course.

Computers are powerful tools — arguably some of the most powerful that our race has ever invented. The purpose of this course is to put the full power of the computer firmly within your grasp. By learning how to program a computer, you will gain the ability to wield the computer as a tool to accomplish whatever your life work entails, including blessing yourself, your family, and the world. Contrary to popular assumption, computer programming is a fairly straightforward skill to learn and is well within the grasp of every student at American Heritage. Further, whether or not you become a professional computer programmer, this class is for you, because computer programming skills can be applied to every field of work in which you will be engaged. For these reasons, we believe that everyone should learn computer science and thereby master the use of the computer as the powerful tool that it is — to bless yourself, your family, and others, and to build the kingdom of God on the earth.

For those students who want to learn more computer science, this course serves as a preparation for and prerequisite to AP Computer Science A.

Course Details

Computer Science

Ninth Grade

Programming Units

Unit 1: Basic Python Programs
Unit 2: Computer Architecture and Decision-Making
Unit 3: Iteration and Algorithms
Unit 4: Abstraction, Modularity, and Clean Coding
Unit 5: Inputs and Outputs
Unit 6: Final Project

Readings and Class Discussions

Topic 1: The Broad Impact of Computing
Topic 2: Privacy and Safe Computing
Topic 3: Legal and Ethical Concerns
Topic 4: Computer Systems and Networks
Topic 5: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Topic 6: Using Computer Science for Good

All learning materials will be provided in class. No specific textbooks or subscriptions will be needed.

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.