U1L1 - Alternative ideas for distance learning?

I am currently in a cohort training for CS discoveries and was wondering about unit 1 lesson 1. All of the problem solving projects seem great, but they are projects that need to be done in the classroom physically. My district will be distance learning in the fall, so I was wondering if anyone had any ideas or resources about “digital/online” problem solving projects to get the students started on the curriculum? Thanks in advance!


Same boat…same problem. I’ve been looking at CodeHS too, pricing for Pro is outrageous. Need something to hit the ground running without too much mental overhead…I have 4 separate CS courses to teach, with 4 separate mental loads…ugh.

This is the reason I came here to find out what ideas for complete online learning from the beginning.

I am going to start with a few of the lessons in Unit 1 that can be done from home and hold off on the ones until we are all face to face. I am going to move most of the making an app to Unit 5. I’m going to do a quick lesson on the problem solving process and use it for Unit 2, which can be done virtually.


I used the Tower Challenge last year. This year I am increasing the time to 15 seconds and the height to 2" from the surface because many groups were easily able to hold up at least 2 textbooks for well over 5 seconds. Each group (or each student depending if the individual has printer paper at home) will need only 2 sheets of printer paper. Since I will be teaching virtually, I also want to be sure my students will go through each iteration fully so I split the document into 2 parts- will not release part 2 until after everyone finishes part 1 and discusses their answers to “Evaluate and Improve.”
U1L01 Activity Guide - Paper Tower Challenge.docx (17.9 KB)
Two Books


Hmm…i think this is a great idea. So you are basically starting with Unit 2?

Do you mind sharing your quick lesson on Problem Solving as an intro for Unit 2?
Thanks so much!

The main goal behind this lesson is to get students involved in hands-on problem solving. Resources like https://www.teachengineering.org/ and https://www.howtosmile.org/ have lots of free lesson plans for engineering design challenges that satisfy this goal. Most lessons are written for groups but can be adjusted for students working individually or in pairs.

Personally I’d go with something like building a paper glider to fly as far as possible in order to keep the materials list down, but that’s up to individual teachers to decide.

–Michael K.

1 Like