Intro to Programming with Karel the Dog

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 will learn JavaScript commands, funcions, and control structures by solving puzzles and writing creative programs for Karel to follow.


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, example programs, quizzes, 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 in Karel course is designed for complete beginners with no previous background in computer science. The course is highly visual, dynamic, and interactive making it engaging for new coders in middle or early high school.

What do you Learn?

Here is a breakdown of the important programming skills that students will develop concepts that they will learn about by working through the Karel course:

Module Description
Intro to Programming:Karel is a dog that only knows how to move, turn left, and place tennis balls in his world. You can give Karel these commands to instruct her to do certain things. We use Karel to show you what it means to program, and allow you to focus on problem solving.
Functions:Learn how to teach Karel new commands by combining existing commands and defining functions.
SuperKarel and For Loops:Learn about SuperKarel's enhanced ability and how to repeat commands with for loops.
If Statements:Students will learn how to test conditions of the Karel world and make decisions on whether to perform actions based on the results of those conditions.
While Loops:Learn how to repeat commands while a specific condition is true.
Control Structures: Practice using For Loops, While Loops, and If Statements to write complex programs.
Karel Challenges: Solve some tricky challenge puzzles with Karel that combine the concepts you have learned so far.
Final Project: Flex your creative muscles and write a creative program with Karel!


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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Sample Resources

Here are a few examples of teacher resources and materials to use in the course.