Designing an 8-week course
This is Part 3 of the 4-part blog series "Bring coding into the classroom using Scratch."
At Coding Kids, we run 8-week courses every school term. Australian school terms are between 9 and 11 weeks long. An 8-week course gives students one week to settle into the new school term before starting their extra-curricular activities. Experience shows that 8 1-hour classes is a good amount of time to discover, explore and consolidate a handful of fundamental concepts. This blog post shows you how we design our 8-week course. You can tailor the course according to programming language, age level, course level, class duration etc.
Prior to designing the course we need to identify the following:
- target year levels (Years 2-3 or Years 4-6)
- course level
- class duration
Introductory Level for Years 2-3
Let’s look at an example for an Introductory Level Scratch course targeted to Years 2-3. This 8-week course focuses on discovery and exploration of the Introductory Level competencies.
- By the end of the 8 weeks the students will become familiar with and will be able to apply knowledge of Cartesian coordinates, including positive and negative numbers.
- They will also be able to navigate the Scratch interface to build their own projects and will be able to write short, simple scripts.
Every class will require revision of positive and negative numbers, x-y coordinates, and basic sequencing. After the 8 weeks they will have a pretty good understanding of these concepts which actually puts them ahead of their peers who are often not exposed to x-y coordinates until Year 4, and in that case it is only in the positive numbers.
Below is the breakdown of the competencies covered each week using a game or a project.
Download pdfs for the Introductory Level for Years 2-3 Scratch course:
Introductory Level for Years 4-6
In an 8-week course, Years 4-6 students are capable of completing the Introductory Level and the Junior Coder Level 1.
Regardless of the course level, I would design an 8-week course to achieve the competencies in these first two levels by focusing each 1-hour class on building a game together. The game chosen for each week will be based on the competencies to be discovered and explored for that class.
Download pdfs for the Introductory Level for Years 4-6 Scratch course:
Advanced Level for Years 4-6
Let’s look at an example of an Advanced Level course. This 8-week course does not cover all competencies when compared to the list of competencies for the Advanced Level; only half the competencies have been covered. The concepts in the advanced level are a bit more complex so it is probably best to consolidate a few key advanced level concepts before exploring the remaining concepts.
This 8-week course starts with the class building a game that checks and consolidates skills from previous course levels. The next five classes focus on the competencies of broadcast and cloning. The final class allows the students to apply their learnings to their own project which could be a game, animation or any other program.