9 week middle school elective

Hello,

My school has 9 week 7/8 grade electives. I’m going to be providing a computer science class for them this year. Most students will not have been exposed to CS prior to this. Should I do the first part of Discoveries or the Express Fundementals course? Thanks everyone!

Lauren

@ljones

That’s great that they will have this opportunity. I’m in a similar situation with 7th graders. I have them for 9 weeks, but I have some CS content as well as some other things I’m supposed to teach them such as some personal finance and graphic design lessons.

I have done both and either can work. When I use CS Discoveries, I do a shortened version of unit 1 (problem solving and the first chapter of unit 3). Another option could be the “Express Course”. It’s kind of in between Fundamentals and CSD.

If you need to be more familiar with either CSD or Fundamentals, there are some self-led PD courses here that will give you more of an overview of both.

Online Self-Paced Professional Learning for Teachers | Code.org

Hopefully, some other teachers will chime in with their experience.

Mike

Mike,
I also have students for about 9 weeks. I have been doing unit 3 (games & animations with javascript) but was thinking of trying unit 2 (css & html web page design). Why do you stick with unit 3 over unit 2?
And what kinds of things do you do for graphic design?! I am always looking for things to throw in to change things up every once in a while.

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@GordonBrune,

There are a few reasons I do unit 3 instead of unit 2. Mostly, though, unit 3 is a little more engaging and offers a little more student choice. They can also choose to take a web development class with me in 9th grade and in that same 7th grade class, we do a very quick web activity where I give them a website template (in html code) and show them how to customize it… they don’t need to know how to code it, but more just how to read it and update the content.

As far as graphic design, I own several button machines that I purchased from https://www.americanbuttonmachines.com/ I don’t get anything by saying that, but their machines are the most durable I’ve found. I teach them a basic lesson on how to design buttons. It used to be in photoshop, but I moved to http://pixlr.com during the pandemic because it was fully online and for what we do, it actually works better anyway and is easier.

If you have budget to buy the machines and supplies and/or if you already have those, I have found it to be a super engaging activity. Once you have the equipment, you can buy the 2.75 inch buttons in bulk for around $.06 per button. I buy 5,000 at a time and they last me 2 or more years.

There are other things you can do, but when they get to make the buttons after designing them, they put a lot more care into their work.

Here’s a few links to my video instructions I give students on the project.

Mike

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