Lesson Summary


Students will define, design and implement a programming project: a miniature version of the Create Performance Task. They will create presentations and share with groups the projects they developed and how their project used abstractions.


  • Students will complete a miniature version of the Create Performance Task.


Session 1:

  1. Presentation  (5 min) Students are introduced to the Create Task.

  2. Activity (15 min) Students select a small programming project to model the Create Task.

  3. Activity (10 min) Students identify an algorithm to use in their program and share within tabe groups.

  4. Activity (10 min) Students identify an an abstraction to use in their program.

  5. Wrap Up (5 min) Students share the algorithms and abstractions they will use with the class.


Session 2:

1. Journal (2 min) - What is your plan for today for the development of your project? What abstractions do you plan on using in your project?

2. Activity (43 min) - Students complete implementing their projects.

3. Journal (5 min) - Reflection. What abstractions did you use in your project?

Session 3:

1. Getting Started (5 min) - Students individually respond to three prompts about their projects.

2. Activity (20 min) - Students prepare one minute presentations of their projects.

3. Presentations (15 min) - Students present their project to table groups.

4. Wrap Up (5 min) - Students create exit slips with any questions about the Create Task.

Learning Objectives

Key Concepts

Students working in pairs 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 that uses a user created function and makes use of a list or other data strucutre.  Since this is a practice task, teachers may provide help with algorithms, functions, data abstraction or other programming concepts. Remind students that during the actual task teachers may not provide this kind of support so as much as possible studtns should rly on the collaborative partners for assistance when needed.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 suggested 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 abstraction.


Report: Written responses  (response to all prompts combined must not exceed 750 words, exclusive of the Program Code.):

a. Provide a written response or audio narration in your video that:  Identifies the programming language and identifies the purpose of your program.   

b. Describe the incremental and iterative development process of your program

c. Describe how a selected algorithm functions.

d. Explain how an abstraction you developed helped manage complexity


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.


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

a.  Identify the programming language and the purpose of your program.   

b. Describe the incremental and iterative development process of your program

c. Describe how a selected algorithm functions.

d. Explain how an abstraction you developed  helped manage complexity

The presentation must address at least points a and b of the above and c or d.

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 identify an algorithm and an abstraction to use in their projects.  The algorithm should be written as pseudocode and then shared with their partners.

Students should discuss in groups what abstraction they chose and how they think it would be helpful.


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 presentation 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 pseudocode 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 June 2016) is in the lesson folder.