Instructor: Tamara O'Malley
Computers and code influence almost every aspect of our lives today, including shopping, sports, and entertainment; healthcare, science, and research; and transportation, manufacturing, banking and investments. Having some knowledge about coding will be an advantage in your daily life as well as any career you might choose.
In the first two classes in the Computer Science pathway, you can enter knowing nothing about code and quickly learn how to write programs using the basic building blocks of code that all programmers use. And if the beauty, logic, and usefulness of code speaks to you, there are plenty of classes in the pathway to help you continue to learn even more.
Not sure if you will prefer engineering or computer science, or enjoy hands-on classes? Start by taking Exploring STEM.
If you are looking for an interesting AP class on the easier end of the spectrum or know you are interested in coding, start with AP CS Principles. to learn Python along with lots of topics like how information is stored digitally, how the internet works, how to get the computer to look through data for us, cyber security, and the global impacts of technology on how we live our daily lives.
If you are interested in learning more about coding after AP CS Principles, there are a few options. Feel free to take more than one class at a time!
If you are thinking you might want to code as part or all of your career, take AP CS A to learn Java. This is a pure coding class with lots of practice and projects. It is a more difficult AP test than AP CS Principles, but by taking AP CS Principles first you will be well prepared.
If you have a project in mind, try Art, Games, and Making where you will design your own learning with the goal of creating completed programs or physical objects.
Or if you want something more hands on that also uses code, try any of these in any order:
Computer Integrated Manufacturing / CIM (a manufacturing/maker class where you will learn how to use the 3D printer, CNC machine, laser cutter, and a robotic arm)
Flying Quadcopters and Drones*
*these classes are in the Engineering pathway so check there for descriptions
Your senior year, if you have taken at least 2 CS or 2 Engineering classes, you can take the CS/Engineering Senior Capstone class where you will use what you have learned to do a year-long project.PATHWAY COURSES
This new course replaces CS 1-2 and Intro to Engineering Design (IED). Engage in the engineering design process and learn the basics of coding. Work individually and in teams to create 2D art and 3D models, 3D print an object, design a game, and build and code a robot.
AP CS Principles:
Everyone should learn some coding because 1) computational problem solving is a fundamental 21st century skill, and 2) REPRESENTATION MATTERS -- let's break down stereotypes about what it looks like to be a coder. NO PRIOR CODING EXPERIENCE is necessary to be successful in this course. It is perfect as your first AP class, your first coding experience, or an addition to your coding knowledge. In this course, you will learn how to code in Python and use a Raspberry Pi or micro:bit to bring code off the screen and into the real world. Passing AP test scores are accepted for college elective credit. This course replaces CS 3-4 and will prepare you for AP Computer Science A.
AP Computer Science A:
In this rigorous, fast-paced course, you will learn how to code in Java, one of the top languages sought after by employers. Topics include object-oriented design, data structures, algorithms, problem solving, and the ethical and social implications of computing. The AP test offers the potential for earning college credit and consists of multiple choice and free-response pencil-and-paper coding. Homework is required, and may include both reading (textbook) and coding.
CS/Engineering Senior Capstone:
Bring together knowledge and skills acquired throughout your chosen STEM pathway. Identify a problem, then follow the design process to develop a solution, ultimately presenting your solution to a panel of professionals. Learning is self-directed, with guidance from the teacher and/or industry professionals on design, goal setting, and industry standard documentation. Projects may be independent or students may choose to work in pairs with a student from the same or a different program.
Computer Integrated Manufacturing:
This new course is for makers! Learn about the automated manufacturing process with a focus on product design and how to use computers to bring an idea to life. Use a CNC machine, robotic arm, laser cutter, 3D printer, and more, and take the opportunity to earn a virtual manufacturing badge recognized by the National Manufacturing Badge system.
Art, Games, and Making:
If you have an idea for a project, this class will help you bring it to life. Maybe it's a game (2D, 3D, VR), art project (3D photorealistic renders, 3d prints, laser cutting, machine embroidery), or something with more of an engineering focus (Portland Winter Light Festival entry, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, micro:bit). Your job is to create a plan with checkpoints building to a final product such as an animated movie, game, art piece(s), or electronic prototype. You will work independently or in small groups to learn the skills you need to complete the project.