Curious beginners can 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.
Elementary teachers looking to integrate coding into a classroom and secondary computer science (CS) teachers preparing for a new semester should focus on 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. Each lesson is clearly tied to Computer Science Standards and assignments can be shared with Google Classroom. Teachers can get their own training on-site, too, plus a free in-person professional learning program.Continue reading Show less
Code.org is a website dedicated to K-12 computer science (CS) instruction, from coursework to advocacy. The site is geared toward increasing diversity and accessibility in computer science, preparing new CS teachers, adding computer science to school curricula, and helping to set up policies that support computer science. Code.org offers five free CS courses, from the 14-lesson Pre-reader Express to CS Principles, a yearlong AP-level course. Users can employ block-based coding tools, written code, or move back and forth between the two. Emerging readers will benefit from tools that read lessons aloud, although some basic reading skills are helpful. 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. If you need translated lessons, the International Computer Science Fundamental Courses are translated into 25+ languages. And in terms of accessibility, there are Hour of Code tutorials that are accessible via screen reader, there are text-to-speech options in many lessons, videos have captions (in English), and there are options for students with limited access to devices and Wi-Fi.
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.
Full Disclosure: Code.org and Common Sense Education share a funder, and in the past, Common Sense Education has partnered with Code.org. However, that does not impact Common Sense Education's editorial independence and this learning rating.
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. Pre-readers may find the text-heavy site challenging to navigate without support, but emerging readers and beyond will find activities accessible and fun.
Many coding sites and apps address either block coding or actual programming with limited support around the actual principles and thought processes that apply to computer science. Code.org aims to be comprehensive -- and succeeds. And its commitment to give access to all students is also noteworthy: Though not every lesson is translated or accessible, the site clearly directs teachers and students to what they need with a promise that they're continuing to expand those efforts. 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
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.
Identify shapes as two-dimensional (lying in a plane, “flat”) or three- dimensional (“solid”).
Model shapes in the world by building shapes from components (e.g., sticks and clay balls) and drawing shapes.
Compose simple shapes to form larger shapes. For example, “Can you join these two triangles with full sides touching to make a rectangle?”
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
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 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.
Draw points, lines, line segments, rays, angles (right, acute, obtuse), and perpendicular and parallel lines. Identify these in two-dimensional figures.
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
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.
Key Standards Supported
Speaking & Listening
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.
Key Standards Supported
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
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.
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.