U3 App Planning Guide & Phases

I am really confused with the different phases of this Designing an App Planning Guide.

According to the Guide, the Design Phase includes Step 4 in which the students sketch their apps: they draw the different screens with the buttons, pictures etc. They also explains what happens when they click the different elements. This is the end of unit 3 lesson 3.

In the next lesson, lesson 4, students transfer their drawing into App Lab. The lesson plan for lesson 4 reads that the students just finished their “prototypes”. This means that they actually make the prototype during the Design Phase… This sounds really confusing…

The next phase is the Prototyping. Here students start programming. This is Step 5, in lesson 8.

Where do we stand in lesson 4, when the students copy / transfer their sketches into App Lab? Is this still part of the Design Phase, Step 4? Is this part of the Prototype Phase, Step 5?

Please, would you clarify for me?

I am so, so grateful for you taking the time to answer this. I am going to do as you say. I don’t want to confuse my students. I hope that Code.org changes the wording as well. Again, I really appreciate your help. :hibiscus::hibiscus::hibiscus::hibiscus:

Hello, folks. The original language we chose for the headers in the Project Planning guide comes directly from the College Board, in Big Idea 1: Creative Development. These terms are not designed to map to one specific development process (i.e. Waterfall, Agile, etc.) but instead to provide general guidelines.

That said, I’ve updated the “Prototyping Phase” header to be “Building Phase” because here students are transitioning to programming the app. It fits the narrative better. When we refer to prototype, we are talking about the paper prototype: the sketch the students laid out with the overall design and connections between elements.

Thank you so much. It works! What phase do you fit lesson 4 in which the students transfer their drawings into the App Lab. Is this part of Step 4 inside Design Phase? In this case, should we called it Step 4 part B?

Part B makes sense - the challenge in Lesson 4 is for students (and teachers!) to understand that their focus is on the screens, and not on programming. I can see how it would be confusing if you thought you should just continue to the next step in the Planning Guide. I’ll noodle on this a bit and think about how we can present this better.

Consider calling it a model instead of a prototype.

I think it would be helpful to add a header after the drawing of screens saying something like “Navigate to App Lab and complete Lesson 4 Project - Designing an App Part 2” Then as a descriptor explain how they will be designing the UI of their app using the design/sketches they completed in Step 4.

I was totally confused with this as I was going through it myself. There are “Steps” on the Project Guide and “Parts” in the lesson title. I kept getting them mixed up. Additionally, once I looked at the entire unit, it made much more sense in terms of the progression of the lessons. I usually go lesson by lesson in my planning but that approach made it difficult to understand.


Thanks for all of your feedback. I’m taking notes and we will make sure to address these concerns for the 21-22 version.