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Intro to Programming with Karel the Dog (Ace)

The CodeHS Introduction to Programming with Karel the Dog course teaches students the basics of programming by giving commands to a computer just like you give commands to a dog. Karel is a dog that lives in a grid world and can be instructed to move around and pick up and put down tennis balls. Students learn JavaScript commands, functions, and control structures by solving puzzles and writing creative programs for Karel to follow.


Units: 8
Timeframe: Quarter
Contact Hours: 30

By the Numbers

Contact Hours 30
Lessons 48
Videos 38
Exercises 67
Challenges 30
Offline Handouts 32


Unit Description
Introduction to Programming: Students meet Karel and learn the fundamentals of writing a program by giving Karel commands to complete simple tasks.
Functions: Students learn how to teach Karel new commands by combining existing commands and defining functions.
Super Karel and For Loops: Students meet SuperKarel, who can turn right. Students learn how to repeat commands with for loops.
If Statements: Students learn how to use if statements when solving problems. By having Karel check for specific conditions, students can write programs that can be executed successfully in multiple scenarios.
While Loops: Students build on their understanding of for loops as they learn how to use while loops to repeat commands while a specific condition is true.
Control Structures: Students practice using all of the control structures together to write more complex problems.
Karel Challenges: Students solve some tricky challenge puzzles with Karel that combine the concepts they learned throughout thee entire course.
Final Project: Students complete a culminating project where they create their own Karel program!

Format of Course

The entirely web-based curriculum is made up of a series of learning modules that cover the fundamentals of programming. Each module is made up of short video tutorials, quizzes, programming examples, programming exercises, and challenge problems. The course is designed for a quarter long class that meets 5 days per week, though schools implement it in a variety of ways.

Who is it for?

The Intro to Programming with Karel the Dog course is designed for complete beginners with no previous background in computer science. The course is highly visual, dynamic, and interactive. There are no prerequisites for this course, and the course is recommended for middle school students.


Students start off by solving problems with four basic commads: move, putBall, takeBall, and turnLeft. Students can use either blocks or text.
Pyramid Karel Exercise

Students learn about functions and use them to avoid repeated code. Two Towers Exercise

Students build complex programs as they add control structures and loops to their programming tool box.
Lots of Hurdles Exercise


Interested in teaching the Intro to Programming with Karel the Dog course with CodeHS? Get in touch, so we can help you bring CodeHS to your school!

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