Can I skip Unit 3 Completely

I am teaching this course to 11th graders, and I work at an all-girls school so I don’t know how much fun the students would have with the games and animation. I was wondering if I could skip that unit and go straight to Unit 4? Or maybe just do a few of the lessons in unit 3?

Thanks.

Hi @slangford!

Firstly, welcome to the forum! How great to be teaching CS in an all-girls school- that’s awesome! In my classroom and from feedback I get from teachers in the workshops I’ve facilitated, the Animation and Games Unit is a favorite among boys and girls, alike. Both have enjoyed the creative aspects of creating their own animations and both have really loved learning about the fundamentals of game creation. Every student is different, but I just wanted to share that as you might find your students really enjoy it. If you decide to teach a few of the lessons, you may find your students are hooked and want to continue on with more of the unit. From my experience teaching the unit, I would do the lessons in order if you’re going to do any in Unit 3 as they do really build on one another.

While Code.org recommends the units are taught in order, from a skill/background standpoint, you could choose to skip Unit 3 and go onto Unit 4 (per the Implementation Guide from Code.org linked here). Something to think about for the future (if you do decide to skip Unit 3) is that students would need foundational skills from the first chapter of Unit 3 in order to do Unit 6 (Physical Computing), so students would need to go back to that unit or have specific lessons supplemented from that unit which are outlined in the Implementation Guide.

I hope that helps you make your decision and please reach out if you have any other questions!
Wendy

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I always find that most of my girls love unit 3. They tend to be more thorough and creative than a lot of my boys and produce some great animations and games. You may be surprised, so I would echo @wendybunker and probably start that unit and if they aren’t into it by the end of the first chapter, I would be surprised.

Since they are 11th graders, they MAY be able to move through it a little quicker than some of my 7th graders do. Something about a few extra years of maturity helps them be more focused and able to stay on task a little better. But not having taught 11th graders, that’s just an educated guess. I think as far as content goes, they would still be interested and enjoy the creativity aspect of unit 3.

Good luck!!!

Mike

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Hi @slangford,

I agree with both statements above. There are some very foundational coding skills in Unit 3 and Game Lab, the central tool in Unit 3, is very creative and versatile. Some of my favorite creations come from the girls and they seem to be as engaged as the boys in Unit 3. I always preface the final project by saying students don’t have to create a game but can create a story or interactive cards or interactive scene. I also like to focus on the creative side of Game Lab. We spend some significant time with shapes to create a scene (located U3 L4 Activity 8e). The girls can blow me away on this project like this crying eye and this cheetah.

Good luck on your decision and best wishes this year.

~Michelle

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Thanks so much for these examples and with the idea of producing an interactive card or story rather than a “game” - good idea!

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Thank you @melynn, @mwood @wendybunker, these are some great insights. I guess my worry is this: These students are in 11th grade, so they are already a year older than the recommended grades for the course. I need to look through the material more, but I’m worried that some of the examples and projects will be a bit too “kiddy” if that makes sense. This is my first year teaching and I was just kind of thrown into it so I don’t know what to expect.

Thanks again.

Might want to look in to codehs

Have you used the platform before? I have been looking into it but it’s hard to find reviews that compare the two.

I’m in middle school so I have not. Looked at it for an extensions for a few of my students. But I know a high school teacher who has used it.

You’re welcome, @slangford! I totally understand what you’re saying as I had similar concerns even with my middle school kids when I first started teaching the unit. I wondered if they’d be less interested or frustrated that they weren’t creating more complex drawings/games (especially the kids who regularly play video games), but I was totally proven wrong.

Being the first time they are creating something artistic using code, the simplicity of where they are starting never has seemed to matter- if anything, sometimes I think my students really have enjoyed that aspect of the unit. Maybe it’s because it’s taken them back a bit to their childhood and a more basic way of creating something from scratch?

Related, @melynn showed some great examples of just how ‘into it’ kids get and how they are totally motivated to create more complex drawings. The same has held true for my kids who are really into video games- they are so excited to learn HOW to create fundamentals of games that they’ve been using since they started playing, even if the sprites and graphics are simplistic. It’s fun to watch how excited they get when they learn how to do something new- and it motivates them to want to learn more in order to make more advanced creations.

I’d say give it a few lessons a go and see what happens! Also, here’s a resource that might help you compare other programs should you decide to go a different path. Keep us posted on how it goes!

Wendy

P.S. That resource came right from Code.org’s Third Party PD page linked here.