With end of term fast approaching and the 6th class curriculum covered teachers are often at a loose end as to what to do with students during the last weeks of term. This is often when I turn to fun technology ideas to occupy the mind. One resource that I have used frequently for this purpose is Googles CS First site.
CS First is a free computer science curriculum designed specifically for classroom use. CS First offers a wide variety of video-based activities, instructional videos, lessons and several other materials that ‘makes coding easy to teach and fun to learn’. Using video tutorials and block-based coding in scratch, students will be able to learn a number of coding skills.
The way CS First works is simple and easy. You first need to set up a class online (you can find the instructions here). Once your class is ready, you can then add students and/ or co-teachers to your class by clicking on the ‘People’ icon on the left-hand side. Next you add activities. There are two types of activities:
One-hour activities teach students the basics of block-based coding and Scratch, and are great for anyone who is new to coding.
One-hour activities are short 45 – 75-minute standalone activities designed for students to start and complete a coding project in one session. Students will watch a series of videos and create one coding project in Scratch with opportunities to personalize their work using “Add-Ons.”
Multi-day activities are built around student interests and vary in complexity. They are designed to introduce students to core computer science concepts over several sessions. Each multi-day activity consists of eight activities and include roughly 10 – 12 hours of content. For each activity, students will watch a series of videos and create one coding project in Scratch with opportunities to personalize their work using “Add-Ons”.
As a teacher, you can use the dashboard in your class to track students’ progress, access students projects in Scratch, request physical materials and many more. It also enables you to stay connected with other teachers and learn more about how they and their students are using CS First.
Check out this page to learn more about CS First.