Looking for ideas for a new middle school class that is being offered. This year we added an exploratory type class (along with several other classes) where they are shorter, only 6 weeks long, for 8 graders to try out different things. It is not enough time for CS Discoveries and CS Fundamentals seems to low, so what could I do for a CS class?
CS Discoveries can be broken into smaller chunks. So you could do Unit 1 Problem Solving and part of Unit 2 Web Development. Or just chapter 1 in Unit 3 Animations and Games. Unit 4 The Design Process can also stand alone. I would suggest that you look through the curriculum and then decide which units would be most interesting to your students.
If you have 6 weeks, you could do the majority of Unit 1 and the first chapter of Unit 2. With CS Discoveries, the units build on each other and are intended to be taught in order. I would suggest starting at the beginning and seeing how far you get for the first time through. 6 weeks is unfortunately not a ton of time for this. You mentioned that you had also checked out CS Fundamentals. I wanted to be sure you were aware of the Express Course. This course has been designed to compress the key learnings of Courses C-F into a shorter period by going at a more accelerated pace.
I will be using Code.org for my year 7 and 8 students. They have little to no experience with coding. Do you recommend the Express Course to start them off before moving onto Discoveries? I was thinking of dedicating Term 1 to the Express Course and Term 2 for Web Development
Thank you in advance
Actually the Computer Science Discoveries is made for student with no coding experience. You start with Unit 1 - Problem Solving - and then jump into Unit 2 Web Development using those problem solving strategies. The first 3 units are great for a years worth of middle school curriculum (depending on how often you see them) and then the next year could be Units 4,5,6. I know a lot of schools are approaching it that way and thats why the Circuit Playground subsidy has changed.
I would suggest doing Units 1/2/3 at the same time for Grades 7/8 (so you get the practice and see the curriculum and how multiple students view it) and then the next year doing Units 4/5/6 with 8th Grade (that had CSD 1/2/3 the previous year) and doing Units 1/2/3 with the incoming 7th Graders.
Hope that helps!