Computer Science Principles introduces students to the foundational concepts of computer science and challenges them to explore how computing and technology can impact the world. More than a traditional introduction to programming, it is a rigorous, engaging, and approachable course that explores many of the foundational ideas of computing so all students understand how these concepts are transforming the world we live in.
This year-long course can be taught as an AP or non-AP course - no prerequisites required for students or for teachers new to computer science! In addition, our curriculum is available at no cost for anyone, anywhere to teach. For more information about our goals and approach to our courses, please see our curriculum values and our professional learning values.
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Computer Science Principles
Recommended for Grades 9-12
Computer Science Principles is a course designed to prepare students (and teachers) who are new to computer science for the AP CS Principles exam. The course covers many topics including the Internet, Big Data and Privacy, and Programming and Algorithms.
Code.org offers hands-on workshops and online support. Over 80,000 teachers have been through our professional development workshops and thousands more attend every month. Whether you’re brand new to computer science or an experienced tech teacher looking for the best way to use the Code.org curriculum, our Professional Learning Program is a great way to get started. And teachers love it! Over 90% rank it the best professional development ever.
Code.org's AP CS Principles Curriculum
Code.org is recognized by the College Board as an endorsed provider of curriculum and professional development for AP® Computer Science Principles. This endorsement affirms that all components of Code.org CS Principles’s offerings are aligned to the AP Curriculum Framework standards and the AP CS Principles assessment. Using an endorsed provider affords schools access to resources including an AP CS Principles syllabus pre-approved by the College Board’s AP Course Audit, and officially recognized professional development that prepares teachers to teach this course.
Students learn how the multi-layered systems of the Internet function as they collaboratively solve problems and puzzles about encoding and transmitting data, both 'unplugged' and using Code.org's Internet Simulator.
Students learn how complex information like text and images is stored in a computer and the way compression helps reduce the size of those files.
Algorithms and Programming
Big Data and Privacy
Students research current events around the complex questions related to public policy, law, ethics, and societal impact. Students are also introduced to the basics of how and why modern encryption works.
AP Explore Performance Task
Explore - Impact of Computing Innovations
This unit provides activities and resources for students to prepare for and complete the AP Explore Performance Task, which requires students to identify a computing innovation, explore its impact, and create a related digital artifact.
AP Create Performance Task
Create - Applications from Ideas
This unit provides activities and resources for students to prepare for and complete the AP Create Performance Task, which asks students to develop a program on a topic that interests them or one that solves a problem.
Making Data-backed Apps
After the AP Test, students learn how to analyze data using spreadsheets and use App Lab's database capabilities to create apps that store data in the cloud.
Use, share, and customize the resources, as they are distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commerical ShareAlike License see our Terms of Service. If you are interested in licensing Code.org materials for commercial purposes, contact us.
Keep up with CS Principles
Let us know how we're doing
We are always looking for ways to improve our courses. If something's not quite working, or you have ideas about features that you'd like to see, we'd love to hear from you!
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Chat about CS Principles in the forum
We have forums for educators to discuss and trade ideas about CS Principles and talk about the curriculum. Code.org forums are used for all of our courses, K-12.
Spread the word about CS Principles
Hand out these fliers around your school and consider sending home to parents.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What materials do I need for this course?
This course requires students have access to computers with a modern web browser. For more details, check out Code.org's technology requirements, here.
Many lessons have handouts that are designed to guide students through activities. While these handouts are not required, we highly recommend their use. In addition to handouts, you will need the following:
Unit 1 Lesson 2 requires some craft materials for constructing physical devices. The lesson recommends items like cups, string/yarn, construction paper, flashlights, slinkies, noise makers, markers, and glue.
The following items are called for in lessons, but alternatives are offered below:
(Unit 3, Lesson 1) A handful of legos per 2-3 students. Alternatives: post-it notes, construction paper
(Unit 3, Lesson 2 - 3) Playing cards (1 deck per 6 students). Alternatives: write numbers of post-it notes.
(Unit 4, Lesson 8) Clear dixie cups with beans. Alternatives: Any clear container (ziplock bag, empty water bottle, etc) with any small item (beads, raisins, coffee beans, etc)
The following supplies are completely optional but will be useful to have on hand for various lessons:
How can I access answer keys?
With an approved teacher account you can find answer keys in a blue "Teacher Only" panel that shows in the online lessons and activities.
Teachers in our professional learning program will automatically be approved to view answer keys. If you need an approved teacher account, any teacher can apply for Code Studio access to protected teacher-only materials (answer keys, etc) through this form.
How can I communicate with other teachers who are using the curriculum?
Check out our forum at http://forum.code.org. There you'll find a space for general CS Principles discussion as well as unit- and lesson-specific threads.
Can I give feedback on the lessons?
Yes, please! Our desire is that the curriculum will be a living document and not something set in stone. We are open to changes or alternatives to lessons so please send us your feedback by using the CS Principles forum.
How/Where can I get professional development for this course?
Our middle and high school programs offer year-round support. The program kicks off with a 5-day summer workshop where you'll have an opportunity to work hands-on with the curriculum and meet other teachers from your area. Throughout the year, we offer online support for upcoming units, forum support, and 1-day quarterly workshops. You don't need any prior computer science experience to get started. And teachers love it! 90% rank it the best professional development ever. Click here to learn more.