CS Discoveries appropriate for high school?

I just have a quick questions as to whether people believe it’s appropriate or beneficial to use CS Discoveries as an intro to Computer Science course for high school students. The course says it’s geared toward grades 7-9 (which I do have 9th graders but a mix of 9-12). I’m currently teaching CS Discoveries as a test run for my Intro to CS course and a transition course into my AP CS Principles course and it seems to be going well so far. I have thrown in a mix of my own material along the way. I guess if you’re a 12th grader or 7th grader, each with zero experience with CS, the course should be beneficial no matter what grade. I just haven’t had time to dive into the full curriculum yet and was worried it might get too elementary or simple for a high school student. Any thoughts?


I will be using it as my Intro CS course next year for HS. As a whole, there is very little prior knowledge so as you said - 7th or 12th with no experience is about the same level. It will be heavily advertised to rising 8th graders before registration so it will probably be mostly freshmen. My district does not offer CS in elementary or middle school. A few teachers do the Hour of Code but that’s about the extent to the CS experience in the schools unless the kid does it on their own.


CS Discoveries will be used in our intro class geared towards freshman, too. I’m thinking it will be a nice fit and hope it will help transition many more students to AP CSP.


Hey Joe,

Figured I’d offer a curriculum team perspective on this. As you mentioned our target audience is 7th-9th grades but I anticipate many of the lessons will work fine for older students without CS experience. You may need to make modifications or offer extensions in instances where lessons feel targeted towards a younger audience. This is actually an important question we’re hoping to answer with the pilot so we’d love to hear if and when lessons need to be modified for students outside our target age range. We’re also happy to keep offering ideas about specific lessons and units if you have them.


I am one of the pilot teachers for CS Discoveries and also teach AP CSP. I am currently teaching CSD to 9-12 reluctant computer science students. So far I have not had to modify anything in Unit 3 and they are loving this unit. My biggest problem so far is trying to keep them from cruising way ahead. I have received numerous texts and emails showing me their completed projects at the end of the stages. My guess is that most of the students will sign up for AP CSP next year.

Karen that’s awesome to hear! Really a win-win if kids are having fun this year AND want to sign up for CS Principles next year. If you ever do feel you need to make modifications based on age then let us know that too.

As a reminder to folks reading this, if you’re running into the same situation as Karen with kids getting way ahead of one another you can Hide Stages for each section of you class. Here’s the instructions. We’ll be interested in hearing if this is an effective tool in your class.

Thanks for the input! I am excited to get to Unit 3 with my students. I did look ahead to that one and I know they will enjoy it, along with Unit 2 which I’ll be starting in 2 weeks. I followed half of Unit 1 with a mix of CS50’s first couple of weeks (Scratch, Binary, Hardware vs Software, and Computer components). With the binary I had a lot of students excited that they too could understand a new number system and how computers “see” information. They thought of binary as a complex concept before and they were all excited it wasn’t as bad as it sounds.

Since you’re on Unit 3 already, are you doing this class as a full year? I’m just doing this as a semester, hoping to get to the end of Unit 4. So far I love this class as do my students. (Thanks code.org!)

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Hi Joe,
I am one of the pilot teachers assigned to start on Unit 3. I am teaching this only 2nd semester this year but plan on teaching all the units next year as a full year class. Unit 3 is taking longer than the lesson plans indicate. The level of engagement is very high and the students are really understanding the programming concepts and computational thinking.

I have not taught Unit 1 & 2. Would love to hear your suggestions/ideas for these two units

Hi Gt,

2 of the students who have completed the most were the most reluctant students in taking the class. I do not want to slow them down and instead have started to use them to help the other students when they are stuck/frustrated. They are feeling like Rockstars and are deepening their own understanding.

I won’t let them get too far ahead.

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Hi Karen,

I would love to share what I have done for Unit 1 with you. I’m not sure where to post my lessons or ppts I have for Unit 1 but will look into it. The best thing I used was the binary bulb board I made (picture shown, credit to Doug Lloyd at CS50). I made this to represent 1 byte using 8 bits (buttons). The kids loved it because they are push button lights I got at Walmart, so they can visualize what the byte looks like after physically touching it. We practice two versions. I wrote the value of the bit with an Expo marker (as seen). We practice this as a class for a while and then I have a “hacker” edition where I erase the Expo values and they have to tell me the correct number I give them in Binary.

Exit ticket: Go to the front of the class and show us your favorite number (under 255) in binary. Class has to figure out what it is. For some reason, kids like show their favorite number so it worked well.

You can also make the board large enough to add another bulb (9 total). Have a group of 4 bulbs on the very left, and a group of 5 bulbs on the very right. Each day, have a different kid represent the month and day using the 9 bulbs (4 for the months and 5 for the days).


@joe_padon The lights seem like such an awesome way to help students understand binary. Thanks for sharing this!

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I love your binary bulb board. What a great idea for hands-on learning while they learn binary. I am going to make one of these for next year.

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I have been teaching CSD off-the-books, I am not one of the pilot teachers. It has been going great so far. We are in Unit 2 with mixed 7th and 8th graders and so far I really like it. The HTML/CSS unit is basically a better, updated version of the HTML/CSS I have taught in the last few years.

So far I’ve been able to teach everything without the use of Code Studio. We are doing our HTML through Thimble (mozilla.thimble.org) and I recommend that resource highly to anyone looking for a few fun HTML/CSS/Javascript projects that are somewhat self-guided, and you can also create + publish unique pages too, which I have done for the Recipes/Hobbies portion of Unit 2 up to this point.

My question is this: will Code Studio for CSD work for me and my students, even though I am not a registered teacher of CSD this semester? Are there still units where the Code Studio doesn’t work or save? Does it save student progress? Any input appreciated.

Thanks all!

Hey Jake,

You can absolutely create a section in CS Discoveries and add students to it. In fact there’s nothing particularly special about the accounts our piloters are using so you’d have identical resources. Code Studio will be saving student progress in Web Lab (the version of Thimble that we’re integrating into Code Studio) and will save student progress and work just as you’d expect in our other tools.

If you’d like to still give feedback on lessons, at the top of each Lesson Plan there’s a link to a short feedback survey. If any of your expectations for how the tools or lessons should work aren’t met you can leave them there or of course just come here to the forum. We’d also just love to hear how your students are finding them.

Hope that helps!

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Man, that is awesome. Thank you for the swift response. I will try that moving forward. I love the curriculum. You guys continue to amaze me. Great work all around! :grin:

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Another CSD question:

I’m not sure the ‘Your Progress: Lines of Code’ is accurate. Additionally, the ‘Stats’ (completed levels + lines of code) appears to be off… I have several students who are still showing up as zero lines of code written, even through dozens of code studio CSD unit 2 levels. Also, I’m having trouble accessing ‘Text Responses’ and ‘Assessments/Surveys’… nothing comes up when I access those tabs.

Please help :slight_smile:

Hi @jforste,

The tool used in Unit 2 is very new and still under development. I’m pretty sure it does not count lines of code written yet. We will log it as something for the future.

In terms of Text Responses and Assessment Surveys tabs. Nothing will come up there unless your students have answered free response questions or done assessments. CSD currently does not have a large assessments so there is nothing that would show up under the assessment tab. In addition I don’t think Unit 2 has many (if any) text responses so it makes sense your students don’t have anything there yet either.

Hope that helps!

CSD Team

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Thank you, @dani.

Another issue I am experiencing is in the HTML/CSS files for unit 2 in code studio. The far left hand column scrollbar does not work properly. This makes it hard for students to access pictures/css files/html files/ when they have more files than will show up without scrolling.

Hey @jforste I had a look at this issue. While I was able to scroll on my Chromebook, it was pretty confusing that the scrollbar was black, matching the black background. I’ve logged the issue with our engineering team so that we can work on getting that fixed. Anything else you think I missed while having a look at this?

Just curious about the above comment to Dani…

–Are there any assessments I can use under ‘Assessment Surveys’? (Same for Text Responses)… preferably of the summative variety at Unit 2 conclusion.

–‘Lines of Code’ written is not accurate, Dani mentioned this was in part to the new-ness of Unit 2… was hoping to be able to use this number as a shorthand way of seeing which kids need extra remediation

– Yesterday, Stage 5 lesson 7 was glitching on a few occasions. If the students change ‘index.html’ to a different name (mistakenly), and then re-name their file ‘index.html’, the code studio will not recognize the file as an index file. Additionally, if they accidentally delete the file and then re-create, it similarly will not recognize as an ‘index.html’.