Teach ArrayLists for the AP CS A exam by having students uncover interesting information from your past students’ grades.

  • Students get really excited to when they know they are working with historical, real grades!
    • It becomes personal because the data belongs to students like them.
  • First you’ll need to strip all of the identifying information from your past grades.
  • Start simple, Ask students to use the database and make an ArrayList where each element is a whole year’s worth of grades.
    • Students will have to do basic manipulations to provide standard information:
      • What is the mean?
      • What is the mean for each year, and the highest scoring student for each year?
      • Over the years, how many people have failed?
  • After they’ve all had a chance to answer these questions, have an open discussion about the data.
  • Challenge students to find something interesting you didn’t know about your students from over the years.
    • Students who are currently in or have already taken a statistics class can use this opportunity to branch off and do some interesting statistical analyses.
  • Students are always a bit curious about this data, it is much more interesting than a bunch of made-up numbers, and they enjoy the opportunity for data mining.

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Interview with Joon Kim

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