The Tech Apps and Coding course is a first year computer science course that is fully aligned to the CSTA 2 standards that Pennsylvania has adopted for students in grades 6-8. This course introduces the basics of programming, web design, internet safety, and how information is represented digitally and sent over the Internet. Students learn to code with Tracy the Turtle, use the design process to create a website that addresses a community issue, and explore the impacts of internet-based innovations.
By the Numbers
|Programming with Turtle Graphics: Students learn Python commands, functions, and control structures by drawing shapes on the screen and solving puzzles with Turtle Graphics.|
|What is Computing?: Students review a history of computing and learn about the various parts that make up modern computers. Students also explore the impact computing has had on today's world, and consider the impacts computing could potentially have in the future.|
|Intro to micro:bit: Students go through the basics of the micro:bit, such as how to light up and change the brightness of LEDs, and learn how variables can be used to write more versatile programs. Students will build circuits to control external LEDs with the micro:bit and explore how pseudocode can be used to structure programs from the start.|
|Digital Citizenship and Cyber Hygiene: Students learn about Internet etiquette and how to stay safe on the world wide web. Students explore the potential effects of our digital footprints, how to protect information from online risks, and the implications of cyberbullying.|
|The ABCs of Cryptography: Students dive into the history of cryptography systems, the motivation behind using encryption systems, and basic cryptography systems. Additionally, students explore topics on how to use cryptography, cryptology, and cryptanalysis to decode a message without the use of a key.|
|Web Design: Students learn the basics of HTML, CSS, and the processes involved in viewing web pages on the internet. Students create several simple web pages using the CodeHS online editor to gain practice using the various features of HTML and CSS.|
|Project: Designing for Impact: Students go through the design process to develop a website that solves a problem in their community. Students learn what makes an engaging and accessible user interface and employ an iterative design process that includes rapid prototyping and user testing to design and develop their website.|
|Digital Information: Students learn about the various ways we represent information digitally. Topics covered include number systems, encoding data, programmatically creating pixel images, comparing data encodings, compressing and encrypting data.|
|The Internet: Students explore the structure and design of the internet, and how this design affects the reliability of network communication, the security of data, and personal privacy.|
|Project: The Effects of the Internet: In this project, students choose an innovation that was enabled by the Internet and explore the effects of this innovation.|
Here are a few examples of teacher resources and materials to use in the Pennsylvania Tech Apps and Coding course
Format of Course
The entirely web-based curriculum is made up of a series of learning modules that cover the fundamentals of programming, web design, and how information is represented digitally and sent over the internet. Each module is made up of short video tutorials, quizzes, programming examples, programming exercises, and challenge problems. The course is designed for a year long class that meets 5 days per week, although it came be divided into semesters or quarters based on school needs.
Who is it for?
The Tech Apps and Coding 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.
Intro to micro:bit Resources
Tech Apps and Coding includes a module on physical computing. For students to fully experience physical computing, they’ll need access to a few materials. These include the micro:bit device, wires, LEDs, and resistors. A complete list can be found at codehs.com/techapps_microbit_materials.
Intro to micro:bit is the first module in the quarter-long course Introduction to Physical Computing with micro:bit. Learn more about the entire course here.
Additional micro:bit Resources:
Students learn foundational progamming concepts in Python as they give Tracy commands to solve problems.
Students apply their programming knowledge to physical computing with a micro:bit.
Students learn the basics of HTML and CSS as they create their own webpages.
Students learn how data is represented visually and explore the relationships between number systems.
Students learn about internet security and strategies to engage on the Internet in an ethical and secure way.
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