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AP Computer Science A (Nitro)

Units

Unit Description
Primitive Types: This unit introduces students to the Java programming language and the use of classes, providing students with a firm foundation of concepts that will be leveraged and built upon in all future units. Students will focus on writing the main method and will start to call preexisting methods to produce output. Students will start to learn about three built-in data types and learn how to create variables, store values, and interact with those variables using basic operations.
Using Objects: This unit introduces a new type of data: reference data. Reference data allows real-world objects to be represented in varying degrees specific to a programmer’s purpose. This unit builds on students’ ability to write expressions by introducing them to Math class methods to write expressions for generating random numbers and other more complex operations. In addition, strings and the existing methods within the String class are an important topic within this unit.
Boolean Expressions and if Statements: This unit focuses on selection, which is represented in a program by using conditional statements. Conditional statements give the program the ability to decide and respond appropriately and are a critical aspect of any nontrivial computer program. In addition to learning the syntax and proper use of conditional statements, students will build on the introduction of Boolean variables by writing Boolean expressions with relational and logical operators.
Iteration: This unit focuses on iteration using while and for loops. This unit introduces several standard algorithms that use iteration. Knowledge of standard algorithms makes solving similar problems easier, as algorithms can be modified or combined to suit new situations.
Writing Classes: This unit will pull together information from all previous units to create new, user-defined reference data types in the form of classes. The ability to accurately model real-world entities in a computer program is a large part of what makes computer science so powerful. This unit focuses on identifying appropriate behaviors and attributes of real-world entities and organizing these into classes. Students will build on what they learn in this unit to represent relationships between classes through hierarchies.
Array: This unit focuses on data structures, which are used to represent collections of related data using a single variable rather than multiple variables. Just as there are useful standard algorithms when dealing with primitive data, there are standard algorithms to use with data structures. In this unit, students apply standard algorithms to arrays.
ArrayList: In this unit, students learn about the limitations of arrays, and are introduced to a new data structure - ArrayLists. Students are asked to compare the two data structures, and implement programs that utilize each.
2D Array: In this unit, students learn how to store data in increasingly complex ways by introducing them to the 2D arrays. Students will learn standard algorithms to utilize and search 2D arrays, as well as ways to use them effectively in their programs.
Inheritance: In this unit, students will learn how to recognize common attributes and behaviors that can be used in a superclass and will then create a hierarchy by writing subclasses to extend a superclass. Recognizing and utilizing existing hierarchies will help students create more readable and maintainable programs.
Recursion: In this unit, students will learn how to write simple recursive methods and determine the purpose or output of a recursive method by tracing.

Unit Description
Introduction to Programming in Java with Karel the Dog: Intro to Java with Karel the Dog. Learn the basics of java commands, control structures, and problem solving by solving puzzles with Karel. This is recommended as Summer Work for students entering AP CS A, or for students who are taking AP CS A as their first programming class.
AP Test Practice: In this module students will get a practice exam in the same format as the AP Computer Science in Java test.
Additional Exercises:
Elevens: In the Elevens lab, you will use Object Oriented design to create a solitaire card game. At the end of the lab, you'll use a Graphical User Interface to play the game you create! Students can complete this assignment after finishing Unit 6: Data Structures in AP CS A (Mocha). This assignment does not align with College Board Standards, as abstract classes are not covered in AP CS A (Nitro).
Magpie: In the Magpie lab, you will use String methods and pattern matching to create a chat bot that you can have a conversation with. Students can complete this assignment after finishing Unit 5: Writing Classes in AP CS A (Nitro), or Unit 4: Classes and Objects in AP CS A (Mocha).
Picture Lab: In this lab, you will write methods to modify pictures. You'll explore the way pictures are stored in memory, nested loops, interfaces, and inheritance. Students can complete this assignment after finishing Unit 9: Inheritance in AP CS A (Nitro), or Unit 5: Data Structures in AP CS A (Mocha). This assignment does not align with College Board Standards, as it uses Interfaces.
Consumer Review Lab: The persuasive power of words can be seen in a variety of places such as entertainment, news, social media, and even reviews and comments. Students learn about sentiment value and how this can be used to construct or modify a review to be more positive or negative using String manipulation. This lab can be used after Unit 4: Iteration in Nitro, and Unit 3 Methods in Mocha
Celebrity Lab: Students will discuss class design as it relates to the game Celebrity, where a person or team tries to guess the name of a celebrity from a given clue or set of clues. This lab includes inheritance as the basis for one of the activities, and also includes a Graphical User Interface. This lab can be completed after Unit 9 Inheritance in Nitro, and Unit 5 Data Structures in Mocha.
Steganography Lab: Steganography is the practice of concealing messages or information within other non-secret text or data. Students will use the same code from Picture Lab to explore the concepts of steganography and 2D arrays, hiding images or text inside of other images. This lab can be completed after Unit 8 2D Arrays in AP CS A Nitro, and after unit Unit 5 Data Structures in AP CS A Mocha.