AP Computer Science Principles (Sem 1)

Enrollment Message:

ATTENTION: If the student will be enrolling into the Sem 2 of this course, please proceed with enrolling the student for the Sem 2 offering with the same section number (Example: AP Computer Science Principles (Sem 1) Sec 3 and AP Computer Science Principles (Sem 2) Sec 3). Due to the rigor and the testing requirements, we highly recommend that a student enrolls with the same instructor throughout the year long course. The best way to accomplish this is to enroll in both terms at once. There is always the opportunity to drop once 2nd semester begins. This course includes REQUIRED due dates. All due dates in AP courses offered in Semester 2 occur prior to the national AP exam date published by the College Board.

This course covers the central ideas of computer science using visualization and application. Students will learn the ideas and practices of computational thinking with a focus on fostering student creativity. They will develop a range of skills by using computational tools to analyze and study data, work individually and collaboratively to solve problems, and discuss the importance of problems and the impacts to their community, society and the world.

This course is designed to be far more than a traditional introduction to programming. It is a rigorous, engaging, and approachable course that explores many of the big, foundational ideas of computing so that all students understand how these concepts are transforming the world we live in. This is the first semester of a year-long course and continues with AP® Computer Science Principles B. Prerequisites: Algebra I

Course Objectives:By the end of AP Computer Science Principles, students will be able to demonstrate the following Computational Thinking Practices:

P1: Connecting Computing

Students are expected to:

  • Identify impacts of computing.
  • Describe connections between people and computing.
  • Explain connections between computing concepts.

P2: Creating Computational Artifacts

Students are expected to:

  • Create a computational artifact with a practical, personal, or societal intent.
  • Select appropriate techniques to develop a computational artifact.
  • Use appropriate algorithmic and information management principles.

P3: Abstracting

Students are expected to:

  • Explain how data, information, or knowledge is represented for computational use.
  • Explain how abstractions are used in computing or modeling.
  • Describe modeling in a computational context.

P4: Analyzing Problems and Artifacts

Students are expected to:

  • Evaluate a proposed solution to a problem.
  • Locate and correct errors.
  • Explain how an artifact functions.
  • Justify appropriateness and correctness of a solution, model, or artifact.

P5: Communicating

Students are expected to:

  • Explain the meaning of a result in context.
  • Describe computation with accurate and precise language, notations, or visualizations.
  • Summarize the purpose of a computational artifact.

P6: Collaborating

Students are expected to:

  • Collaborate with another student in solving a computational problem,
  • Collaborate with another student in producing an artifact.
  • Share the workload by providing individual contributions to an overall collaborative effort.
  • Foster a constructive, collaborative climate by resolving conflicts and facilitation the contributions of a partner or team.
  • Review and revise their work as needed to create a high-quality artifact.

Course Outline:

Unit 1: Computer Science, Programming Languages, and Algorithms

Unit 2: JavaScript Functions

Unit 3: The Internet

Unit 4: Algorithms and Abstraction on the Internet

Unit 5: Encoding and Compressing Complex Information

Unit 6: Visualization and Learning from Data

Unit 7: Big Data and Privacy

Unit 8: AP Performance Task and Test Prep

Resources Included: Online lesson instruction and activities, opportunities to engage with a certified, online instructor and classmates, when appropriate, and online assessments to measure student performance of course objectives and readiness for subsequent academic pursuits.

Additional Costs: None. Optional eTextbook: Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion 1st Edition by Hal Abelson, Ken Ledeen, Harry Lewis – (Purchase hard copy or download free digital version).

Scoring System: Michigan Virtual does not assign letter grades, grant credit for courses, nor issue transcripts or diplomas. A final score reported as a percentage of total points earned will be sent to students upon completion of a course. Your school mentor is also able to access this score within the Student Learning Portal. Schools may use this score for conversion to their own letter grading system.

Time Commitment: Semester sessions are 18-weeks long: Students must be able to spend 1 or more hours per day in the course to be successful. Summer sessions are 10 weeks long: Students must be able to spend a minimum of 2 or more hours per day, or about 90 hours during the summer, for the student to be successful in any course. Trimester sessions are 12-weeks long: Students must be able to spend 1.5 or more hours per day in the course to be successful.

Technology Requirements: Students will require a computer device with headphones, a microphone, webcam, and up-to-date Chrome Web Browser, and access to YouTube.

Please review the Michigan Virtual Technology Requirements: https://michiganvirtual.org/about/support/knowledge-base/technical-requirements/ 

This course is Chromebook compatible.

Instructor Support System: For technical issues within your course, contact the Customer Care Center by email at CustomerCare@mivu.org or by phone at (888) 889-2840.

Instructor Contact Expectations: Students can use email or the private message system within the Student Learning Portal to access highly qualified teachers when they need instructor assistance. Students will also receive feedback on their work inside the learning management system. The Instructor Info area of their course may describe additional communication options.

Academic Support Available: In addition to access to a highly qualified, Michigan certified teacher, students have access to academic videos and outside resources verified by Michigan Virtual. For technical issues within the course, students can contact the Michigan Virtual Customer Care by email at customercare@michiganvirtual.org or by phone at (888) 889-2840.

Required Assessment: Online assessments consist of formative and summative assessments represented by computer-graded multiple choice, instructor-graded writing assignments including hands-on projects, model building and other forms of authentic assessments.

Technical Skills Needed: No special skills are required beyond being able to operate a computer and use word processing software.

Additional Information: The official course descriptions for Advanced Placement courses and information about their exams are located on the College Board site at a http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/courses/descriptions/index.html

Michigan Virtual prepares students in AP courses for the AP exam, but does not offer the exam test itself.  It is the responsibility of the school or parent to register for a local administration of the AP exam.  

There are required due dates in AP courses. The pacing of due dates in AP courses aligns to the completion of all lessons and required assignments and assessments prior to the national AP exam date related to this course title. The calendar of AP exam dates is published by the College Board (Exam Calendar).


School Level: High School
Standards: College Board: AP Course Topics and Objectives
NCAA Approved: Yes
Alignment Document: Document
Course Location:
NCES Code: 10157
MDE Endorsement Code: NR - Computer Science
MMC Minimum Requirements: Math - 4th Year Elective

When Offered: _Internal Use Only

Content Provider: Michigan Virtual
Instructor Provider: Michigan Virtual

Course Type: Advanced Placement