High Level Changes to CS Fundamentals for 2019-20

This post explains the high-level changes to the CS Fundamentals 2019 - 2020 curriculum. You can find a detailed list of every change to the curriculum in this document.

New concepts and lessons

Improved coverage of CSTA Standards

New lessons and updates have been made to increase our coverage of the CSTA standards particularly the concepts of computing systems, data & analysis, and impacts of computing.

New lessons with Sprite Lab

New lessons let students create an interactive poster and learn to code their own custom sprite behaviors. Existing Sprite Lab lessons have also been all be updated to work with the improvements that have been made to the tool.

Tools changes

Sprite Lab Improvements

We have introduced the costume tab, which expands the gallery of sprite images available to students and also provides them the opportunity to draw their own. One major change to the tool is that students can now refer to sprites by costume rather than only by name. It is now easier than before to program a group of sprites to perform the same actions and behaviors. A sound library and a block for adding backgrounds have also been added.

Improvements to course organization and clarity

Concept chunking

CS Fundamentals lessons are often designed to build on each other. A concept introduced in one lesson may be reinforced in the following lessons or students may get an opportunity to apply a concept they are learning in a creative way. While these connections have always existed, we sometimes hear that it hasn’t been easy to see how these lessons are organized. We have added clarity to the course overview pages to show where lessons are intentionally grouped because they reinforce the same concepts.

Reorganizing some lessons to be more age appropriate

Based on feedback from teachers, we have made some adjustments to some lessons to make them more accessible to students. For example, we have provided a more gradual sequence at the beginning of Course A to better support the needs of the youngest students. We have also shifted some lessons to better align with other content area standards.

Targeted Updates in Courses E-F

To ensure that each CS Fundamentals course is an ideal entry point for students, the later courses contain Ramp Up sections, designed to quickly cover concepts taught in previous courses. We have shorted the ramp up sections to only cover the concepts most essential for starting each course’s main new content. We received feedback that some classrooms didn’t have enough time to complete the later lessons in Course E and F due to the length of the ramp up.

Updates to the Express Course

CS Fundamentals has two “Express” courses that are most often used by students working through lessons at their own pace, rather than as part of a teacher-led experience. To better support this implementation style, we have removed unplugged lessons and streamlined the puzzles to support independent discovery and learning by students.

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