Computer Science Class Descriptions

Not all computer science classes are alike! Though no prerequisites are required for any of these courses, read these course descriptions before you register so that you understand what you are signing up for!

PLTW Computer Science Essentials
PLTW CSE introduces students to coding fundamentals through a block-based programming language called MIT App Inventor, where the students will create usable Android apps. As students sharpen their computational thinking skills, they will transition to programming environments that reinforce coding fundamentals by displaying block programming and text-based programming side-by-side. Finally, students will learn the power of text-based programming as they are introduced to the Python programming language.

Computer Science Essentials is primarily an introductory coding-based class, with some content on society and computing.

PLTW Computer Science Principles (Advanced Placement)
The course does not aim to teach mastery of a single programming language but aims instead to develop computational thinking, to generate excitement about the field of computing, and to introduce computational tools that foster creativity. The course also aims to build students’ awareness of the tremendous demand for computer specialists and for professionals in all fields who have computational skills. Each unit focuses on one or more computationally intensive career paths. The course also aims to engage students to consider issues raised by the present and future societal impact of computing.

This class is only about 30-50% programming (Scratch, MIT App Inventor, and Python), with the rest of the class devoted to learning about the Internet, big data, and other societal impacts of computing. Students in this course must take the AP Computer Science Principles exam.

AP Computer Science A

This course is currently NOT facilitated through PLTW. It is designed equivalent to that of an introductory college course in computer science. The course teaches programming fundamentals and object-oriented programming using the Java programming language. Though there is no formal prerequisite for AP Computer Science A, this is a challenging course for students who have not programmed before. Comfort with troubleshooting is suggested. Students in this course must take the AP Computer Science A exam.

If you are still unsure of which class would be a good fit, PLEASE email Ms. Reynolds before you register!