Exploring Programming Syllabus



Spring 2003 Assignments

Collaborative Web

Tri-Class Reflection

Course Information

Course Overview

Course Syllabus



Common Logo Commands

Logo Programs

Squeak Resources

Visual Basic© Resources

Other Languages



Exploring Programming | Academics | Middle School | The American School in Japan

Exploring Programming

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 own choosing.

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 Do

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, and animation.

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 and VBA.

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.

1. 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 settings.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Self-Assessment:  The primary assessment used in the course will depend on the students assessing their learning, and supporting that learning with evidence.


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)


Last maintained 04/09/03


This site best viewed with 2001 or later versions of Netscape, Internet Explorer, Mozilla, or Opera.

Original Content ©2001-2003 by Derrel Fincher (dfincher@asij.ac.jp)

Other rights reserved by individual authors