Top-Down Design Programming Challenges

Hi all,

I’m noticing in my class that my students are separating quite a bit based on programming speed. Some students easily finished both top-down design programming tasks in a day, while some struggled to complete one.

I’m going to take a day to work one-on-one and in small groups with the students who need it and I’d like some compelling “programming challenges” to give to the students who are already feeling really confident about the topic. Any ideas for designs that are challenging but well suited to top-down design and the commands in Code Studio?



Hey Emily,

Something that worked well for me was challenging students to create a Digital Coloring book. Have you seen the adult coloring books that have started to become popular? The drawings in there seem to lend themselves to the types of commands we can give with the Turtle. Plus, you can print and sell the coloring books as a fundraiser, if that’s something you’re into.

Here’s the assignment I gave:

Here are some of the results I got back:


Excellent idea, thanks! My class has similar range of abilities to what ebeastlake describes.

I was just revisiting this post and my second link is dead. Here’s an updated one: the final coloring book we ended up making.


omg that’s fantastic :smile:

Maybe you can help me then: Where do students go to start projects from scratch that aren’t in the unit lessons?

From the dashboard’s horizontal menu at the top, click on ‘Projects’. Then, click the ‘Applab’ tile.
You can also get to the full Applab from any Applab curriculum activity (bubble) by clicking the ‘Remix’ button on the top left. Or, you can use the following url:

Happy computing,

1 Like

Thanks, I had forgotten about that.

This coloring book idea is this something you have them do now after this lesson or later on. Once they know parameters/loops and stuff. I feel they would need to know more then just the basic commands they know with the functions.

1 Like

I created this worksheet for Unit 3 lesson 6. I haven’t field tested it yet, but I’m trying to get my students to show “the thinking”.[]

1 Like

Hi @elaine.may,

I like this addition! It is great when students start to get top-down design, but the extra example certainly helps! I think your example is a good one! I have also done this with a “digital scene” that students have developed in the past and then had them break it down into sub-functions like the “Underwater scene” in this unit. I like the more technical(yet simple) drawing example you have here too!

Thanks for sharing!