Middle School Computer Programming

Course Overview

Our middle school coding course focuses on developing student computational thinking and coding skills using two "block based" programming environments. We start interactive programming using Scratch, an innovative graphical programming language developed at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Students also use Minecraft MakeCode for Minecraft Education, by Microsoft. Students learn to create animations, build interactive narratives, program interactive games using conditionals and variables, and accomplish multiple tasks with the Minecraft "Agent" or robot. Scratch and Minecraft MakeCode for Minecraft Education are designed to teach logical thinking, critical thinking, and computational thinking skills, the fundamental principles of computer programming. Both environments provide a "low bar and high ceiling" for learning coding and creating a wide variety of engaging projects which align to student interests. Our culminating projects involve creating animations related to space exploration and the establishment of human outposts on both our moon and Mars. Students work in collaborative teams to use CODE to build habitats and other structures on other worlds, through the power of Minecraft's virtual environment and MakeCode interface. In our course, students develop and demonstrate their coding and computational thinking skills in engaging, scenario-based environments designed to empower them as computer programmers and motive them to continue pursuing additional courses and learning opportunities in computer science in the future.

Play our Scratch Games!

Link to our Scratch Profiles from:

Spring 2024 - Fall 2023 - Spring 2023 - Fall 2022

Minecraft Mars Outpost - Building like NASA with Minecraft MakeCode

Student Scratch Projects and "Code Talks"

In addition to coding projects, I ask my computer programming and robotics students to create CODE TALKS, which are screencast videos. Students show their projects "in action," and then discuss the code they wrote and explain how it works. Some exemplary past student "Code Talk" projects and Maze projects are available.

These are Scratch profile links / Scratch projects for middle school students I am currently teaching and have taught in the past.

Scratch Resources