Lesson Summary


In this lesson, students will complete a miniature version of the Create Performance Task.



Session 1: Students define, design and start to implement a programming project.

Session 2: Students complete implementing the project.

Session 3: Students create presentations and share with groups the projects they developed and how their project used abstractions.

Learning Objectives

CSP Objectives

Key Concepts

Students practice choosing a project and planning how to implement it in a fixed time frame. 

Students have just two days to plan and implement a project.  Since these will be small projects, students may need help using algorithms and data abstraction. Since an algorithm is a list of steps that comes to a conclusion, if students develop pseudocode for their projects they can refer to the pseudocode as their algorithm. 

Students may receive most of the credit from an incomplete project if the project demonstrates the required components.

For this practice task, teachers may want to provide program stubs.  Stubs could include suggested functions. 


Essential Questions

  • How are algorithms implemented and executed on computers and computational devices?
  • How do computer programs implement algorithms?
  • How does abstraction make the development of computer programs possible?

Teacher Resources

Lesson Plan

Session 1:  Planning Day

Present an overview of the Create Task.

Explain that students will have 12 hours to complete the Create Task later in the course and they will three 50-minute sessions for this practice.  The actual Create Task will have a formal collaborative component and be larger in scope.

Discuss the following guidelines for the full project and the practice project we will be doing.

Full Create Task Guidelines

Three components to create:

  • Program
  • Report
  • Video


One project - individual with collaboration in stages

12 hours of classroom time

Project must use functional and data bastraction.


Report: Written responses must (maximum of 300 words each):

a.    name the programming language used

b.    describe the purpose, how your program code works and the most important features and algorithms

c.    explain the video

d.    describe the development process

e.    explain an abstraction and how it helped manage complexity

f .   explain two points of collaboration


Practice Create Task Guidelines

For this practice task, students will complete simpler project and  a one-minute presentation about it, rather than a video and a report.

Students work individually to select projects, then in pairs to review project selection and pseudocode.

After completing the project, students will create a one-minute presentation about it.

The presentation must address at least points b, d, and e above.

Projects are chosen by the student.  If they wish, their projects may be based on the following labs from How to Think Like a Computer Scientist.



Students select a project and share their ideas with partners. 

After collaborating with partners, students submit to their teacher a brief description of the project describing its most important features and how it will work.

Students develop pseudocode for their project and then share their pseudocode with their partners.


Session 2: Implementation Day

Warm up (2 min)

Students complete a brief journal entry describing:

  • Their plan for today in the development of the project.
  • What abstractions they will be using in the project.

Work Time (43 min)

Students work to implement and test projects. Teachers may evaluate student performance based on student journal entries and their observations of their effort in implementing the project.


Closing (5 min)

Students reflect on their project and making journal entry of how they used abstraction in the project.


Day 3: Presentation Day

Warmup (5 min)

Students begin by individually responding to these prompts about their project:

b.    describe the purpose, how your program code works and the most important features and algorithms

d.    describe the development process

e.    explain an abstraction and how it helped manage complexity


Presentation Preparation (20 min)

Students prepare one-minute presentaion about their projects including their responses to prompts b, d and e. 


Presentations (15 min)

Students present their project to table groups. Time the presentations so that they do not exceed 1 minute. Students share with table groups what they like about the project, what they learned and any questions they have.


Closing (5 min)

Students create exit slips with any questions they have about the Create Task after viewing and discussing the presentations.



Evidence of Learning

Formative Assessment

For the practice task, project descriptions and pseudocde for each proposed project should be assessed.  Assessment can be done by collaborative partners first.  If partners have concerns, they should be brought to the teacher.  If student projects are too big or too small in scope, teachers should provide feedback.

Summative Assessment

The project should be scored using the latest rubric provided by the College Board. 

The latest rubric (updated as of April 2015) is in the lesson folder.  Only the individual part of this rubric should be used.