Writing strategies: how to describe a program in writing

Hi everyone,

At the Spokane PD I shared a “formula” I invented to help me structure my response to the App Lab 30-minute challenge where we were asked to write about a CS concept used in our app. I wanted to create something like the “5-paragraph essay” that could be reused for future responses that expected to see demonstration of understanding of a CS concept and its implementation in a program. And while the prompt from PD is not the specific prompt for the Create PT, I think it can be easily adapted.

The general formula is:

  1. What does my program do? Provide context to the reader
  2. What CS concept? Identify the CS concept I’m going to talk about, with a brief definition of the concept, tying it to my program.
  3. How does my program specifically use that CS concept? Using detailed, almost pseudocode language, describe how my program uses that CS concept.

Here’s my specific writeup:

The app I built is a simple app that gives you 20 seconds to click a picture that moves around the screen every time you click it. The app keeps score of how many times you were able to click the image so that it can reveal it to you at the end and entice you to try again to beat your previous score.

This app uses the CS concept of variables, specifically the variable used to keep score. A variable is a way to manipulate the computer’s memory and store data to be retrieved later. Since I wanted the score to be tracked throughout the whole game, it was important to create this variable as a global variable. Global variables are declared only once and can be accessed from any function in the program.


  • My score variable is declared and set to 0 at the beginning of the program.
  • Each time the picture is successfully clicked, I retrieve the current score stored in the variable, add 1 to it, and update the variable to that new score.
  • At the end of the game (triggered by when 20 seconds is up) I again retrieve the final value stored in the variable so I can display to the screen the last value stored in the variable.
  • If the Play again button is clicked, then among other things, I update the variable’s value to be 0 so the game can start again!

Hope this is helpful!

What writing strategies are you thinking of introducing in your classroom to help your students structure their thinking for writing tasks?


1 Like

Thanks Sara,
this is what I was searching for.
Got it