5.9. Parallel Computing

This lesson focuses on parallel and distributed computing.

Professional Development

The Student Lesson: Complete the activities for Mobile CSP Unit 5: Lesson 5.9 Parallel Computing.


5.9.1. Learning Activities

Estimated Length: 45 minutes

  • Hook/Motivation (5 minutes): Take this time to review the searching and sorting algorithms (from earlier in this unit) with students as well as review how algorithms are analyzed by their efficiency
  • Experiences and Explorations (35 minutes):
    • Part 1 - Parallel Computing: Introduce the concepts of sequential, parallel, and distributed computing. Explain how the speedup of a parallel solution is determined.
    • POGIL Activity #1 - Searching: Divide the class into groups of four. Give each group a deck of playing cards and have them complete the tasks.
    • Part 2 - Benefits and Challenges of Parallel Computing: Share and discuss some of the benefits and challenges of using parallel computing.
    • POGIL Activity #2 - Sorting: Divide the class into groups of four. Give each group a deck of playing cards and have them complete the tasks. By doing this activity students should gain an understanding that the speed is controlled by dividing and merging the deck.
    • Part 3 - Distributed Computing: Use the diagram to explain the differences between parallel and distributed computing. Then watch the distributed computing video (if you are running low on time, you may choose to show parts of the video).
  • Rethink, Reflect and/or Revise (5 minutes): Have students complete the interactive exercises and portfolio reflections.

AP Classroom

The College Board's AP Classroom provides a question bank and Topic Questions. You may create a formative assessment quiz in AP Classroom, assign the quiz (a set of questions), and then review the results in class to identify and address any student misunderstandings.The following are suggested topic questions that you could assign once students have completed this lesson.

Suggested Topic Questions:

  • Topic 4.3 - Parallel and Distributed Computing

Assessment Opportunities


Assessment Opportunities

You can examine students’ work on the interactive exercise and their reflection portfolio entries to assess their progress on the following learning objectives. If students are able to do what is listed there, they are ready to move on to the next lesson.

  • Interactive Exercises:
  • Portfolio Reflections:
    LO X.X.X - Students should be able to ...

Differentiation: More Practice

If students are struggling with lesson concepts, have them review the following resources:

Differentiation: Enrichment

Background Knowledge

Teaching Tips

5.9.2. Professional Development Reflection

Discuss the following questions with other teachers in your professional development program.

    I am confident I can teach this lesson to my students.
  • 1. Strongly Agree
  • 2. Agree
  • 3. Neutral
  • 4. Disagree
  • 5. Strongly Disagree

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