I'm teaching this course to 6th graderss (around 22 of them) in a suburban school with a 70% minority population and an 80%+ free and reduced lunch population.
This post will be a blend of U1L01 and U1L02.
We did U1L01 lesson the day before break. I know that sounds crazy but it actually worked out great. I used it as part of an "Hour of Code" day we planned and I did it in a block of time after lunch and before an assembly. It took about an hour to complete.
When I started to introduce the lesson I heard several students say that they had already done this in 4th grade. I told them that it was no big deal and that they should pair up with other kids in the group who hadn't done it before. What I found, though, during the lesson is that their past experience didn't really give them an advantage. The group that "won" had never done the challenge.
I saw a correlation between the groups who really used the planning sheet and the groups who were the most successful in building a design that could hold 30-40 pennies. Some groups just wanted to put down the minimum and get to the "try" stage. Some also rushed through the "reflect" stage and ended up with a second design that only held a few more pennies than the first (however, this is still a successful redesign).
All of these observations were helpful to refer back to when we went on the the second lesson and talked about the design process. It helped that we had a shared experience to use as a reference when talking about each step of the design cycle and when they were trying to brainstorm strategies for the posters. They were also more thoughtful about the process when they filled out the sheet for U1L02. I thought that at some point a student would comment on how we were doing these lessons in a computer science class but we weren't using computers, but so far no one has said a thing about that.
I compiled the 4 posters from Lesson 2 into one, took a picture of it and posted it in our Google Classroom as a reference.
What really surprised me about doing the posters was that the students came up with the most strategies for "Reflect" (and they are great strategies!). This will be a very helpful reference moving forward.