AP Annual Conference: A First Look at the Labs for AP Computer Science A

A First Look at the Labs for AP Computer Science A

Renee Ciezki

I attended this session since the AP Computer Science Case Study, Grid World, will be retied after the 2013-2014 school year. It is being “replaced” by a set of example labs, none of which will be accessed directly but present concepts that will be assessed. The case study is one of my favorite aspects of AP Computer Science A because I find it extremely authentic that students are presented with a large body of well designed and well written code that they have to understand and extend. That said, these new labs look really good and will be a fantastic resource for teachers.

  • real-world context will increase interest
  • exam questions will focus on essential concepts
  • Draft lab materials (site is currently down)
    • teacher guide, student guide, code
  • updated course description (topic outline remains the same) and lab materials available February 2014
  • new audit should not be required; maybe just a form in which you promise to have good labs that meet the hands-on time requirement and cover the necessary concepts
  • there will also be new practice exams to reflect this change
  • use of these labs are not required
  • session slides


  • Natural Language Processing (NLP)
  • String class
  • Conditionals and iteration, arrays optional
  • a chatbot
  • created by Laurie White, Mercer University, Macon, GA
  • 4-8 hours of activities? (presenter did it one 75 minute class period?)
  • use it as a first lab to introduce the IDE? (better than Hello World)

Picture Lab

  • Manipulating digital pictures (Media Computation)
  • Two-dimensional arrays
  • created by Barbara Ericson, Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA
  • 6.5 – 15 hours
  • Stenganography and chroma key in the teacher guide as extensions


  • Solitaire game, GUI supplied
  • Object-oriented design and programming
  • Michael Clancy, University of California at Berkeley
  • Judith Hromcik, School for the Talented and Gifted, Dallas, TX
  • Robert Glen Martin, School for the Talented and Gifted, Dallas, TX
  • 11 (+5 optional) hours

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