My students are having a difficult time with Unit 4. They are incredibly bored. I think it is because they are coming off of Unit 3, which they LOVED!! It is hard for them to understand why we are not on the computer anymore and why we have to plan so much. We are just on Lesson 5! When I look at the unit overview there are many unplugged lessons. I wonder what others are doing to address the boredom (if others are facing it!)? I feel like I am going to lose my students and it will be hard to get them back after all of the unplugged activities.
I found the same thing with Unit 1. Next semester I am just picking two unplugged activities to do and moving on. It also took up too much time to do the entire unit and I only have semester classes. I would do the same if I were you to hold the students interest.
Hi! I did Chapter 1 of Unit 4 right after we finished Unit 2 because I needed more unplugged activities until our computers were imaged. After reading your comment, I am glad that I did because my students should be ready to go straight into Chapter 2 in Unit 4 when we finish unit 3. Maybe consider that for next year.
I teach CSD to 7th and 8th graders as a semester-long course. I, too, only do one or two activities from Unit 1. Unit 4, I skip entirely. 90% of what we do is units 2 and 3. My students enjoy lesson 2 and LOVE unit 3.
@jforste Could you clarify what you skipped? So unit one, you only did two lessons? Thanks
@carmichaelc I have done Unit 1 Lesson 1 as a first-day activity/ice breaker. It’s kind of a fun lesson that introduces students to problem-solving. They always ask what it has to do with computers though, hah. Unit 1 Activity 2 I always try and do, as the problem-solving process is mentioned throughout the CSD curriculum. After that, we pretty much jump into Web Design… and I’ve never had any issues with that unit as the semester’s starting point. Personally, i think units 1 and 4 could be eliminated or re-worked to be more engaging… and to have fewer ‘offline’ activities… although I understand the plight of many districts without computers.
@jforste Thanks Jake! Do you mean activities or lessons 1 - 4 could be eliminated or reworked? Unit 2 and 3 are Web and Animations. I teach high school and I have a mixed group of grades including 6 seniors and I am afraid 9 lessons in Problem Solving may be too much. I am one day ahead going over the lessons so I will decide as I go. I waited to try out the curriculum this semester after I saw the entire course would be ready. One last question - How many days did Web and Animations take for your classes to do? I tried Animations at the end of last semester and thought I would get them through in about a month and didn’t finish.
@carmichaelc Aw. I mean Units 1 and 4 are completely skippable for me with the exception of Unit 1 Lesson 1 and Unit 1 Lesson 2. Web Design typically takes me about a month (that is teaching to 7th and 8th graders).
I also include the first two Dash projects with my Web Design unit:
^^^ Check that out, you’ll love it…
Unit three takes me 13ish weeks. I don’t hurry through it and supplement the curriculum in a few areas. It is by far the kids’ favorite so I try to maximize it to the best of my abilities.
Your feedback helps a lot. Thanks so much!
The unplugged activities on Unit 4 can be customized for your classroom. But I think they are essential tools for the students to understand the different aspects of design and planning. I had them make the paper prototypes and then test them out with a different team. This exercise helped them see how they could improve their design. Most of my groups added new screens and UI elements to their paper prototypes. One group thought the exercise was really lame. Going into the digital screens, this group suffered the most. They did not have a plan that the entire team agreed upon. They spent more time on resolving the issues that came up at the phase when they were required to import their team screens to make their versions of the app. Teaching moment They understand the value of these unplugged activities now.
Having said that, I did combine a couple unplugged activities to speed the pace and keep the discussions going. Overall, I am happy they had the chance to work on these activities. My gifted learners were definitely bored. I need to find a twist for them. WIP.
I am not teaching the AP course and didn’t have a lot of time and skipped this unit entirely. I agree that it is strange in between unit 3 and 5 which are so hands on. I know the info is important but I wanted to keep the momentum going.
I have taught this to high school students and they absolutely loved this unit. It took some adjustment getting off of the computers but we had some amazing discussions and it got them thinking about other people and how their ideas may impact them. Looking back on these moments, I find them incredibly valuable because I was able to better understand how my students were thinking and it got them to think about others and begin to develop some empathy.
Having to unplug is a challenge for some of them but finding a way to make it personal was the key, and lesson 3 is when I saw them really get excited. I teach in an area that has a lot of military families, and the students started thinking about how the smart clothing could help their parents, siblings, or other friends and family when they are deployed. Once they made that connection they just took off with the activity and it carried over for the rest of the chapter and into the final project.
Another reason I value the unplugged activities was for my students who that enjoyed but struggled with Unit 3. These lessons helped to build back their confidence and engagement. As a result, I used it as an opportunity to make them group leaders and it helped strengthen our classroom community.
Here are a few ideas I put together that you might take a look at:
Thanks for this information. We should be in unit 4 next week. I was worried about all the unplugged activities there, but this will be a big help.
I agree. My students really lost focus during this unit and it was pulling teeth to get them to focus. It could be the time of the year (January is always rough) but I do think that in contrast to the programming unit, it lacked luster. Not that there isn’t good material here. Next year I might do this after unit 1 and 2 and then work on programming for the remainder of the year.
“I have taught this to high school students and they absolutely loved this unit. It took some adjustment getting off of the computers but we had some amazing discussions and it got them thinking about other people and how their ideas may impact them. Looking back on these moments, I find them incredibly valuable because I was able to better understand how my students were thinking and it got them to think about others and begin to develop some empathy.”
Thanks for sharing this…I will remember the empathy aspect, even if students roll their eyes at me for unplugged activities. After what happened yesterday in our school district, our students definitely need more lessons that make them walk in another person’s shoes and feel empathy towards others!!! Thank you so much for sharing this and reminding me to take a beat and have these conversations! My heart goes out to those impacted yesterday!!!
That’s exactly what I have done. I just pick a couple of the activities and move on. Students do get bored with a lot of paper work and need more hands on activities exploring. I have semester classes also.
I piloted this Unit last year and my students really got into it. Getting ready to start this year and I am excited to see what they come up with this year. One question they had last year is “Why did we use teapots and other items instead of things we were interested in?” I really emphasized that this unit is about User centered design and we needed to design something for a “client”.
I immediately went from Unit 1 to Unit 4 chapter 1. Because my students were not yet introduced to the computer assignments, it was seamless. After finishing Unit 4 chapter 1, I went to units 2 & 3 then to Unit 4 chapter 2. By then, my students had a good foundation on the expectation for group assignments and coding. Looking over the curriculum beforehand, I was surprised that there were so many unplugged activities so this worked really well for my students.
2nd semester I will be teaching units 4-6 for the first time to one of my classes as a semester. I am concerned about starting off with Unit 4. Would it be possible to do Unit 5 and then go back to Unit 4? Or do they need Unit 4 to do Unit 5?