If you're a curious beginner, start with the short, engaging Hour of Code tutorials. There are even unplugged (no computer needed) activities that teach coding concepts in the physical world. The Hour of Code tutorials are similar to the activities included in the CS Fundamentals curriculum. If you already have a coding curriculum but are looking to supplement it with some real-world experience, send students to the App Lab, Web Lab, and Play Lab where they can design and share apps, websites, and games, respectively. Students can also play and remix games designed by other students, which is a great option for students who need some creative inspiration.
If you're an elementary teacher looking to integrate coding into your classroom or a secondary CS teacher preparing for a new semester, take a look at Code.org’s courses. Free and comprehensive, the curriculum includes detailed lesson plans, videos, handouts, offline activities, and online tutorials. Code.org’s curriculum is a good mix of online independent practice, unplugged group activities, and discussion. Using the teacher dashboard, you can assign lesson activities, monitor progress, and set sharing permissions. Teachers can get their own training on-site, too, plus a free in-person professional learning program.
Ready to teach coding, but not sure where to start? Check out the Teaching Strategies module Get Started With Coding in Your Classroom.Continue reading Show less
Code.org is a website dedicated to K-12 computer science instruction, from coursework to advocacy. The site is geared toward increasing diversity in computer science, preparing new computer science teachers, adding computer science to school curricula, and helping to set up policies that support computer science. Code.org offers five free computer science courses from the 14-lesson Pre-reader Express to CS Principles, a year-long AP-level course. The curriculum addresses concepts both offline and online and leads students through progressively more difficult lessons. Students age 13+ can access all of the coursework independently, though the courses are designed to be facilitated by a teacher.
In addition, the site includes short tutorials to pique students' interest in programming as part of the Hour of Code initiative. Students watch video instructions delivered by famous programmers, then use blocks of code to program mini-games with some familiar characters from Minecraft, Disney, and popular game apps. Saving student progress requires an account and, due to privacy considerations, children under 13 have limited access to features unless they're participating in a teacher-led course. A project library contains millions of student-created games that anyone can play and remix.
Editor's note: In the past, Common Sense Education has partnered with Code.org. However, Common Sense Education's reviews maintain editorial integrity and independence.
Code.org is a one-stop shop for coding in schools. From a pre-reader course to an AP-level course, Code.org offers high-quality, free curricula for all grade levels. Most importantly, teachers don’t need computer science degrees to facilitate the coursework since Code.org provides excellent professional development to support teachers. Well-produced videos get kids excited about programming and help them understand its significance in the world today. Unlike some curricula that focus only on programming and algorithms, Code.org’s courses encompass many computer science topics, from understanding how the internet works to Big Data to digital citizenship and privacy. Teachers at all levels can find curriculum, online communities, and helpful resources to challenge and inspire their students on Code.org.
Key Standards Supported
Counting And Cardinality
Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities; connect counting to cardinality.
Identify whether the number of objects in one group is greater than, less than, or equal to the number of objects in another group, e.g., by using matching and counting strategies.1
Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes, and describe the relative positions of these objects using terms such as above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to.
Correctly name shapes regardless of their orientations or overall size.
Compose simple shapes to form larger shapes. For example, “Can you join these two triangles with full sides touching to make a rectangle?”
Distinguish between defining attributes (e.g., triangles are closed and three-sided) versus non-defining attributes (e.g., color, orientation, overall size); build and draw shapes to possess defining attributes.
Compose two-dimensional shapes (rectangles, squares, trapezoids, triangles, half-circles, and quarter-circles) or three-dimensional shapes (cubes, right rectangular prisms, right circular cones, and right circular cylinders) to create a composite shape, and compose new shapes from the composite shape.4
Partition circles and rectangles into two and four equal shares, describe the shares using the words halves, fourths, and quarters, and use the phrases half of, fourth of, and quarter of. Describe the whole as two of, or four of the shares. Understand for these examples that decomposing into more equal shares creates smaller shares.
Recognize and draw shapes having specified attributes, such as a given number of angles or a given number of equal faces.5 Identify triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons, and cubes.
Partition a rectangle into rows and columns of same-size squares and count to find the total number of them.
Partition circles and rectangles into two, three, or four equal shares, describe the shares using the words halves, thirds, half of, a third of, etc., and describe the whole as two halves, three thirds, four fourths. Recognize that equal shares of identical wholes need not have the same shape.
Partition shapes into parts with equal areas. Express the area of each part as a unit fraction of the whole. For example, partition a shape into 4 parts with equal area, and describe the area of each part as 1/4 of the area of the shape.
Draw points, lines, line segments, rays, angles (right, acute, obtuse), and perpendicular and parallel lines. Identify these in two-dimensional figures.
Classify two-dimensional figures based on the presence or absence of parallel or perpendicular lines, or the presence or absence of angles of a specified size. Recognize right triangles as a category, and identify right triangles.
Recognize a line of symmetry for a two-dimensional figure as a line across the figure such that the figure can be folded along the line into matching parts. Identify line-symmetric figures and draw lines of symmetry.
Represent real world and mathematical problems by graphing points in the first quadrant of the coordinate plane, and interpret coordinate values of points in the context of the situation.
Measurement And Data
Describe measurable attributes of objects, such as length or weight. Describe several measurable attributes of a single object.
Directly compare two objects with a measurable attribute in common, to see which object has “more of”/“less of” the attribute, and describe the difference. For example, directly compare the heights of two children and describe one child as taller/shorter.
Classify objects into given categories; count the numbers of objects in each category and sort the categories by count.3
Organize, represent, and interpret data with up to three categories; ask and answer questions about the total number of data points, how many in each category, and how many more or less are in one category than in another.
Use addition and subtraction within 100 to solve word problems involving lengths that are given in the same units, e.g., by using drawings (such as drawings of rulers) and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.
Apply the area and perimeter formulas for rectangles in real world and mathematical problems. For example, find the width of a rectangular room given the area of the flooring and the length, by viewing the area formula as a multiplication equation with an unknown factor.
Recognize angles as geometric shapes that are formed wherever two rays share a common endpoint, and understand concepts of angle measurement:
Recognize angle measure as additive. When an angle is decomposed into non-overlapping parts, the angle measure of the whole is the sum of the angle measures of the parts. Solve addition and subtraction problems to find unknown angles on a diagram in real world and mathematical problems, e.g., by using an equation with a symbol for the unknown angle measure.
Number And Operations In Base Ten
Compare two three-digit numbers based on meanings of the hundreds, tens, and ones digits, using >, =, and < symbols to record the results of comparisons.
Fluently add and subtract multi-digit whole numbers using the standard algorithm.
Fluently multiply multi-digit whole numbers using the standard algorithm.
Operations And Algebraic Thinking
Decompose numbers less than or equal to 10 into pairs in more than one way, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record each decomposition by a drawing or equation (e.g., 5 = 2 + 3 and 5 = 4 + 1).
Fluently add and subtract within 5.
Use addition and subtraction within 20 to solve word problems involving situations of adding to, taking from, putting together, taking apart, and comparing, with unknowns in all positions, e.g., by using objects, drawings, and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.2
Use addition and subtraction within 100 to solve one- and two-step word problems involving situations of adding to, taking from, putting together, taking apart, and comparing, with unknowns in all positions, e.g., by using drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.1
Use multiplication and division within 100 to solve word problems in situations involving equal groups, arrays, and measurement quantities, e.g., by using drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.1
Key Standards Supported
Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal contrast, addition, and other logical relationships (e.g., however, although, nevertheless, similarly, moreover, in addition).
Speaking & Listening
Confirm understanding of a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media by asking and answering questions about key details and requesting clarification if something is not understood.
Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions as desired to provide additional detail.
Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
Create audio recordings of stories or poems; add drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
Ask and answer questions about information from a speaker, offering appropriate elaboration and detail.
Differentiate between contexts that call for formal English (e.g., presenting ideas) and situations where informal discourse is appropriate (e.g., small-group discussion); use formal English when appropriate to task and situation.
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, using formal English when appropriate to task and situation.
With guidance and support from adults, use technology to produce and publish writing (using keyboarding skills) as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
Key Standards Supported
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.
Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.
Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs.
Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.