Existing curricula we recommend
Google CS First
CS First helps kids learn the basics of coding and computer science through creative endeavors (especially games and media.) Google has done a very nice job of wrapping MIT’s Scratch platform with tutorial videos, curriculum outlines, school club organization and metrics, etc. (grades 4-8)
Code.org may have done more for the promotion of computer science at the K-12 level than any other single effort in history.
Hour of Code
Since 2013, Code.org has run an awareness event called “Hour of Code” that promotes computer science through short interactive tutorials themed in many different ways. This campaign has touched the lives of millions of people around the world, including very high profile companies and organizations to everyday students and teachers. Many of their activities are very easy to get up and running in a short period of time, and provide a great intro to computer science and programming. (grades 2-12)
AP Computer Science Principles
College Board offers AP curriculum for at least two courses on computer science. Code.org has partnered with them to provide a version of Computer Science Principles. We are always happy and willing to mentor kids on these topics. (grades 5-12)
Code.org Unplugged Activities
The name says it all. We have used several of these activities as an introduction to CS topics, and the kids love them! They also work great when computer access is not possible for the day. (grades K-6)
Pencil Code, originally created by a Googler and used in many Google-sponsored programs, helps students transition from block-based to text-based programming. The project has been extended by Cacti Council members and university students to support more programming languages and curricula. (grades 5-12)
Resources for older students (~grades 7-adult)
Cacti Council videos on YouTube
Presentations / Documents
- Coding Explained
- Programming: Some Context
- Functions & Procedures
- Installing Java SE JDK and an IDE
- Student resources document
Opensource code on our GitHub page
Amphibian, block-Java-block plugin
PencilCode Python variant, forked from the original PencilCode
Mistletoe, a MOSS GUI (Python)
Console Games (C#)
Buddy Bots, Doom 3 bot coding (C++, Python)
Adventures of Ana and Sebastian (C#, Unity)
Wiki Pics Trivia (Java, Android)
Android app examples (Java)
Data structure exercises (HashMap, LinkedList, TreeTraversal, etc.) (C++)
Resources for younger students (~grades 1-6)
As mentioned above, there are many fun and educational coding activities on Code.org’s Hour of Code event database. A crowd favorite is their Dance Party activity, in addition to the popular media themed activities like Star Wars, Minecraft, etc. In recent years, Microsoft has moved the Minecraft activities onto Minecraft Education.
W3C Code Game
A directional coding game that involves leading a lynx to pinecones and treasures. We’ve found that elementary school kids as young as grade K enjoy it.
An older, clean and easy to understand program for controlling a cute virtual robot, very similar to the W3C Code Game listed above. It used to be available on all platforms, including a Flash web version, but now only seems to be supported on iOS or as a Windows app. Recommended by students since 2016.
A collection of coding themed games put together by Nominus. Recommended by Girl Scout Ava.
More Coding Games
A collection of coding themed games put together by HP. Recommended by Sarah of Lyndhurst STEM Club for Girls.
Emoji Coding Games
A collection of coding themed games put together by HP. Recommended by Margaret’s daughter at Faith Maps.
Always looking for more!
Interested in seeing a particular topic or want to help us create new material? Please contact us!
We are always looking for more ideas and volunteers. Let’s promote critical and creative thinking and STEM together!