Part I – Course Parameters
Course Title: Exploring Programming
Grade: 7 and 8
Prerequisite: Skills equal to technology skills class or teacher consent
Books & Materials: MSW Logo, Microworlds Pro Logo, Visual Basic 6-Learning
Edition (VB6), Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), and Squeak.
Course Description: This one-semester course is designed for the students
who feel comfortable with the basics of technology as taught in the MS Tech Skills
course, and who want to explore programming graphics, animation, or games. The
focus is on students using programming languages to explore projects of their
Part II – ASIJ Schoolwide Student Learning Outcomes
- Effective Communicators: Students explain and write about problem-solving
methods and explain algorithms in debugging sessions. Group projects require
communication among teams and individuals. Students will write explanations
and documentation for algorithms and programs.
- Literate Individuals: Students will use language reference manuals,
on-line help, and other reference materials in problem-solving and program-writing.
They will also learn to read and debug code.
- Critical Thinkers and Problem Solvers: The primary focus of the course
is problem-solving. Students will begin to develop their own methods for analyzing
and solving problems with the computer.
- Self-Directed, Productive Learners: Students are responsible for
proposing, planning, and executing their projects, whether it is an independent
project or a collective project. Students are also responsible for keeping track
of their own learning and evaluating how far they have come with their knowledge.
- Constructive Community Members: Group projects require collaboration.
All students are encouraged to contribute ideas in problem-solving sessions.
Students learn about abuse of technology, and articulate a personal code of
ethics. Rather than being taught as a unit, the ethical considerations are part
of the atmosphere and everyday discussions.
Part III – Critical Questions
- What is a program?
- Why do we write programs and who are they for?
- How does mathematics relate to computer programming?
- What are the responsibilities that accompany programming knowledge?
- How do you make the most of learning opportunities when you are responsible
for your own learning?
Part IV – Technology Use and Library Use
Technology is the focus of this course. Programs are MSW Logo and Microworlds
Pro Logo, Microsoft Visual Basic, and VBA, and Squeak.
Part – What Students Should Know and Be Able to
Content: (What are the key topics and concepts of the course?)
Subject Content: Using Logo, Visual Basic, Visual Basic for Applications
(VBA), or Squeak, students will explore programming fundamentals as part of their
projects. Such fundamentals include decisions, recursions, input/output, and iteration.
As students will be exploring programming, the primary purpose will be for them
to propose and work on an engaging project. Examples in particular programs are:
Logo: Basic commands, writing and running a procedure, top-down programming
design, inputs and parameters in procedures, input from the user, if-then statements,
Visual Basic: Object oriented programming, using some common objects,
procedures (modules), loops, arrays, decision statements, debugging techniques
and graphics. These will be developed through the students’ efforts to code games
of logic and chance.
VBA: Programming within the Microsoft Office environment using macros
Squeak: Animation and logic.
Student Outcomes: (What skills do we want
students to possess after successful completion of course?)
Use Logo, Visual Basic, VBA, or Squeak to:
Write a program that
- manipulates variables and formulas.
- gets input and produces output
- uses looping
- makes decisions
- uses procedures and parameter passing.
Demonstrate ethical behavior in the use of technology
Part VI – Examples of Expanded Assessment
As this is an elective and students come in with different backgrounds and
understanding, students will be assessed on how much learning they are able to
demonstrate, not on absolute knowledge. Students will periodically write reflections
and share their programs with others in the class.
Ethics: Students will be assessed on their understanding of the
ethics of programming, which will be done by giving them ethical dilemmas for
which they will need to propose solutions. These will be in group and individual
Projects: The nature of the course requires projects. Students will
develop two or more programming projects during the course. Other projects will
require teams of three to five students to jointly develop a program, with each
member responsible for coding a portion of the program.
Class participation and assistance. Students will be assessed on
their participation in class and their willingness to work with others and share
their expertise with others.
Self-Assessment: The primary assessment used in the course
will depend on the students assessing their learning, and supporting that learning
Original Syllabus: Paul Paulson,
Marguerite Arnote, Thomas Tobiason, Derrel Fincher (January 7, 1999)
Revision B: D. Fincher (May 2001)
Revision C: D. Fincher (May 2002)