Field of Study
AP Computer Science A focuses on the computing skills required to program in Java. The course introduces students to computer science through various topics that include problem solving, design strategies and methodologies, organization of data (data structures), approaches to processing data (algorithms), analysis of potential solutions, and the ethical and social implications of computing.
The course is meant to be the equivalent of a college-level introductory course in computer science and includes the study of object-oriented design, encapsulation, and abstraction. The course also emphasizes the design issues that make programs understandable, adaptable, and reusable. An understanding of the basic hardware and software components of computer systems and the responsible use of computer systems are integral parts of the course.
Students will spend two to three days a week studying the course materials and textbook, and the rest of the week working on labs (i.e., programming assignments). Student work will be required outside of class time.
Students will complete long-term coding projects, including a digital clock simulation, a dice game, an investigation using historical data, an interactive art application, and an investigation using literary works in the public domain.
The course will prepare students to take the College Board’s official AP Computer Science A Exam, which is expected of students but not required.
- Required: Algebra II or Trigonometry
- Recommended: Computer Mathematics or an introductory computer science course
Course Texts and Materials
- BlueJ, a Java IDE application available as a free download
- Java SDK, available as a free download
- Objects First with Java: A Practical Introduction Using BlueJ (6th ed.)
- Barron’s AP Computer Science A (latest edition)
Publisher: Barron’s Educational Series