AP Explore PT Prep

This short unit prepares students to complete the AP® Explore Performance Task (PT). Students will have learned the skills and concepts necessary to complete the task in previous units and will even have seen components of the task itself. This unit fully explains all components of the task and walks students through completing and submitting it.

Chapter 1: Explore PT Prep

Week 1

Lesson 1: Explore PT - Review the Task

  • Getting Started (15 minutes)
  • Activity (45 mins)
  • Wrap Up (5 mins)
  • (Optional) AP Digital Portfolio Setup

This lesson contains a series of activities you can use to help students familiarize themselves with Explore Performance Task, how it is scored, and some example tasks provided by the College Board.

Teacher Links: Resource | Resource | Resource Student Links: College Board Site | Resource | Resource | Resource | Resource | Resource | Resource | Resource | Resource | Resource

Lesson 2: Explore PT - Make a Plan

  • Getting Started (5 mins)
  • Activity (45-60 mins)
  • Wrap-up (10-15 Minutes)

This lesson uses the Explore PT Survival Guide - Student Guide as the backbone for a series of activities to ramp up to doing the actual Explore PT. It contains some brainstorming activities around what qualifies as a "computing innovation" for the task as well practical advice and strategies for handling some of the nuances of the task such as distinguising between a "harmful effect" and a "data security or privacy concern."

Teacher Links: KEY Student Links: High Resolution PDF | Student Guide | Resource | Resource

Week 2

Lesson 3: Explore PT - Complete the Task (8 hours)


  • Getting Started (20 mins)
  • Activity (8 hours)
  • Wrap-up
  • Optional: Review research practices and strategies

This lesson contains guidelines for teachers during administration of the Explore PT. It includes reminders about how you can interact with students while they are working on their projects, and suggestions about timeline. The Explore PT requires a minimum of 8 hours of class time. At the end, students will submit their computational artifact and written responses through their AP digital portfolio.

Teacher Links: Student Links: College Board Site | Resource | Resource | Handout

Chapter Commentary

Key Concepts and Pedagogy

Explore PT After Unit 4: Students are prepared to complete the Explore PT after Unit 4 of the course.

Highlight Ambiguities with Activities: It can be challenging to understand the expectations of the Explore PT and the way it is graded. This unit solves this problem through hands-on activities designed to bring these ambiguities to the surface. By grading sample projects or assessing potential project choices in a group setting, students are able to understand what is expected of them and ensure that their projects exceed this bar.

Survival Guides: The most significant resource in this unit are the Survival Guides created for each task. In addition to including activity guides for preparation activities, they include instructions for how students can identify good project choices and plan their allotted class time. Checklists for each task help students track their progress as they complete them.

Practice Earlier in the Curriculum: Students learn the skills and concepts necessary to complete the performance tasks through the curriculum. Each unit includes at least one practice PT or rapid research project specifically designed to prepare students for different elements of the tasks.