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What is a course of study to prepare to later take AP Computer Science?

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My children's only knowledge base for tech so far is children's things like:


- the most basic computer knowledge - Word, typing papers

- Lego Mindstorms


That's it! I herar things mentioned on the boards - Alice, Scratch etc. Can you lay out a plan for me that will get them able to take Ap Computer Science in 4-6 years? In order?


I was an English/History major who made my only C in college in an intro computers class. :) I need help!

Edited by LNC
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Timely question, because I was going to post something similar. Ds15 is also interested in this option, so it will be good to hear what suggestions you get.


I am considering one of the Teen Coder bundles that is on sale through the HS Buyer's Co-op until July 16. There are two different bundles that you can see at the link below. One of them claims to prepare the student for the AP exam. I would love to hear reviews from people who have experience with this program.





I have recently been made aware of a site called SingPath which is set up like a game format that allows the "player" to practice coding in a variety of computer languages. I searched the files here and found no reference to it, but did find favorable reviews online. Ds15 will probably start playing around with it next week.


I have not looked at SingPath extensively, but the student pastor at church was able to complete quite a few levels of Python with no prior knowledge. The co-founder/developer of the site is his sister and the company is based in Singapore. I get to meet her on Sunday when she is in town for a visit :)


I would love to hear if anyone has experience with SingPath.


Hope this helps!


ETA: Notice also that one of the consultants acknowledged is Nick Parlante, the Stanford professor who teaches the Coursera class CS101.

Edited by PameLA in VA
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  • 2 weeks later...

Many schools go straight into AP CS from an introductory computer class (Word, etc.) So you really could do that.


If you want to smooth the way, though, choose one of the Java-family programs for the year before. I like Greenfoot, because it gets them up into real Java code immediately. It can be a middle step between something else (the NXT, for example) and Java, too.


The best foundation for computer programming isn't actually in computer skills: it's math and logic. You have to be able to fix an end goal in your mind (for example, a program to calculate interest) and then determine what the steps are to get there (get input of numbers, perform calculations, display result,) and then break each of those into the specific tasks that are required by the program (import a class for the input device, create the input device, name a variable to hold the interest rate, print the prompt to the screen, capture the user input, etc.) That's a very simple example, and a beginning Java project in many classes. From there, you need to be able to think through loops and branching, for example, which are very basic logic concepts. If I need my program to repeat something, how do I tell it when to stop? If I need it to "decide" between two options, how do I program the choice? Do I need it to look for this AND that situation, or this OR that situation?


Anway, a solid logic course, a math program that encourages problem solving (or a supplement to do so,) basic computer skills (saving a file, etc.,) and perhaps some experience in programming concepts (the NXT would even provide that) are the best foundation, imho.

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