Units 2 and 3 Supplements




I love CSD and am teaching it for the 2nd year now to 7th and 8th graders as a semester-long course.

We spend by FAR the most amount of time on Unit 3 (as most of you know, it is the kids’ favorite).

I supplement unit 3 by having the kids spend spare time/free time/enrichment on https://codecombat.com/
Code Combat is one of the best, free resources out there and the kids find it to be really fun and engaging.

I supplement Web Design (Unit 2) with a few guided projects from https://dash.generalassemb.ly/
… Projects 1 and 2 are excellent supplements to the Web Design curriculum that kids can work on when they finish a lesson ahead of the pack.

Anyhow, wondering if anyone else has some other fun and engaging supplements to these two units?




Do you mind sharing how you teach the Unit 3 course? I haven’t taught any of the units yet and I think I’ll be starting it next week. Do you mainly let them work on their own and give them deadlines of how many lessons they should have done by a certain date? Are you giving them vocabulary terms? Any info you can share would be great!


@kmoore1 Sure. Unit 3 is an awesome unit. The biggest problem I have encountered is some students lag severely behind while others can knock out a lesson rather quickly. From what I’ve read, lots of teachers have encountered this phenomenon (because students work at different paces). For me, what I’ve found to work best is basically the following format (46-50 minute period):

Begin each day with a bell ringer activity, 5-7 minutes (sometimes I link tech articles and ask them a question, sometimes we watch a short video, sometimes I ask a reflection lesson about the previous day’s activity).

Introduce the day’s lesson, 5-10 minutes (or re-teach a few concepts if it is a ‘continuation’ day)

Independent learning time, 25-30 minutes. During this time, students work through the stages of whichever lesson we are on. All of my students have their own computer, but I STRONGLY encourage them to work through lessons with a shoulder partner to make it easier for an ‘ask three then me’ situation, which is harder to do if one of them is way ahead or way behind.

If students finish a lesson early, I send them to https://codecombat.com/ for enrichment (can’t say it enough, CodeCombat is awesome).

Monday through Thursday, we work pretty hard. On Fridays, I allow for 20 minutes of free time for those students who are caught up. Students who are behind can spend the whole hour playing catch up. Those who are caught all the way up, I send to Code Combat for 20 minutes and then allow free time. I have found that this method keeps kids more ‘on the same page’ so some students aren’t constantly 4-5 lessons behind.

Hope this helps! If you have other tips & tricks, let me know. If you still have questions, I’m happy to try and assist :grinning:


Thank you for sharing. I have used Codecademy web design for my 10th grade students who want to do more Web Design. I don’t know if the reading level would be too high for 7th and 8th graders. https://codehs.com/, Scratch and https://www.alice.org/ are also some free resources for supplementing Unit 3.


Greetings! Here is something I put together that some of you might find helpful.



A Sample Framework for CSD in the High School Setting (w/ resources)


Love the post, Joe. My email is jforste@cassville.k12.mo.us … would love to swap success stories and needs for improvement with you some time.


Sounds good. I appreciated your post as well – and yeah, CodeCombat rocks for balancing things out when some students finish up before others.


@jpauley I’ve been reading up on your website/course guide. Love all of the resources you’ve incorporated. Something you may be interested in learning more about… check out construct.net. Pretty awesome game design software. We have completed the PLTW App Creators curriculum in my other CS course, so I’ve made a few projects for the class using Construct. So far the kids love it. There is a free version that accomplishes everything we need so far. If you have some kids that are interested in learning more about Game Design, check it out.


That sounds great – I will definitely give it a trial run before the semester’s out and see if I can’t figure out a way to bring it into the curriculum. Based on your experience, does the JS syntax construct.net uses map over to CSD’s Unit 3 curriculum? It would be great to know if it reinforced that learning, or if CSD’s Unit 3 did a fair job of scaffolding them to “next level” w/ concepts/syntax covered in the construct.net curriculum…


@jpauley Your framework looks great. I just finished my first year of CSD. It is called Intro to Coding at our school and is required for all freshman. It is a one semester course. I made a few changes from the first semester to the second, and will definitely make more for next year. I spend about 4 weeks on Problem Solving and how a computer works (Input, Output, Processing Storage). Then the kids do an App Proposal Project and present it to the class. Then we start on Unit 3 and spend the rest of the semester on that, ending with them designing and coding their own game in GameLab (Unit 3, Lesson 22). I skip Unit 2 because we already teach a web design class at our school. I do find that kids move at VERY different paces and I will look at CodeCombat for next year to keep those kids busy. Since I teach 9th graders, I found that they don’t like a whole lot of the unplugged activities. They want to get right to coding. The second semester I cut down on the unplugged lessons, and spent more time on coding. I also use coding groups and partners and have found a lot of success with that. I personally was a software engineer for 15 years, and am passionate about coding, and my goal is that each student will feel successful and have fun learning to code.


@jforste Have you taught both PLTW App Creators AND code.org CSD? I’m curious as to how you would compare them? And what grade levels your students were? Our school has decided to teach PLTW App Creators as a semester long elective to 7th and 8th graders. I am currently using code.org CSD as a freshman required course in HS. I have modified the curriculum somewhat for high schoolers, and I believe that App Creators will be a good stepping stone to CSD. It will introduce them to development environments and logic and loops and functions, and will allow them to move quicker through the CSD curriculum. I also think App Creators is all block-based, whereas CSD gamelab blocks are closer to actual javascript code (but in block form) and allows students to switch from block to text mode easily.

I would love hear your opinions on both. Thank you!


I’d be curious to hear how you set up the App Proposal Project, particularly with your background as a software engineer (which I don’t have). First semester I focused almost solely on Units 2 & 3, but this semester I decided to give Unit 4 a 3-week trial run…we just started it today. That said, I did not find Lessons 1-11 in Code.org to be at level for my 9th-10th graders, so I am using other materials to supplement the curriculum until we hit Lesson 12. My first two slideshows are here and here. I will be creating one more that focuses on analyzing the competition (market research), but then we’ll jump right into prototyping using https://www.lucidchart.com and http://www.fluidui.com. Once teams get feedback on their prototypes, they’ll start building their app in Code.org’s IDE (starting with Lesson 12). If there’s anything you think I should add to my presentations, or other material you’d like to share that I could bring into my lessons (since my kids are putting together an app proposal of sorts as well), that would be awesome. If only I could “borrow” from your background – getting myself up to speed w/ my own coding expectations has been the greatest challenge of all. It is getting easier though. :slight_smile: