CSS 290 – Teaching Computing to Middle School Students

Fall 2013

Room UW1 361, W 1:15 pm – 3:15 pm

University of Washington Bothell





Peter Gruenbaum


Office Hours:

By appointment





We will be learning:

·         Scratch, which is a drag-and-drop programming language, developed by MIT. You can find it at the Scratch website.

·         Designing a curriculum for teaching programming at a middle school level

·         Classroom management


You will work with Redmond middle school students to:

·         Lead a 15 minute activity at their Halloween party to create an interactive Halloween eCard

·         Lead three 2-hour afterschool classes where students will build one or more games in Scratch


There is no textbook. Reading material may be handed out in class.




The class is pass/fail. Students who participate in the Redmond afterschool classes will pass.


Tentative Schedule:






Location: UWB

Getting Started

·         Introduction

·         Paperwork

·         Scratch overview

Sep 25


Location: UWB

Learning Scratch

·         Breakout/pong game

·         Maze game

·         Spaceship driving

·         Your own game

Oct 2


Location: UWB

Curriculum Design

·         Designing curriculum

·         Classroom tools

·         Practice pacing and giving out directions

Oct 9


Location: UWB

Designing Scratch for Teaching

·         Presentation of curriculum

·         Group feedback

Oct 16


Location: UWB

Classroom Management

·         Working with middle school students

·         Pitfalls to avoid when teaching Scratch

Oct 23


Location: Redmond Middle School. Start time is 1:00.

Halloween Party

·         15 minute station

·         Talk to kids about the program

·         Do a short reflection with kids

Oct 30


Location: Redmond Middle School. Start time is 1:00.

Scratch Program Day 1

·         Overview, ground rules

·         Ice breaker

·         Implement curriculum

Nov 6


Location: Redmond Middle School. Start time is 1:00.

Scratch Program Day 2

·         Implement curriculum

Nov 13


Location: Redmond Middle School. Start time is 1:00.

Scratch Program Day 3

·         Implement curriculum

Nov 20


Day before Thanksgiving. No class.

Nov 27



General Policies:

Assignment Deadlines: Class time is spent on projects or teaching. Assignments are preparation for classes. It is therefore critical that assignments are completed on time so that class time can be used effectively.


Lateness to classes: Coming to class on time and coming to all classes are important. Late arrivals interrupt our in-progress projects and discussions. If you must miss a class session, let the instructor know as soon as possible so that you can make up the work that you miss.


Technology in the Classroom: This class is project-based, meaning that we will use computers in the classroom. However, this means that personal technology (laptops, cell phones, iPods, etc) must be turned off during class so that they do not act as a distraction.



Academic Conduct


Student Code of Conduct: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=478-120:


The university is a public institution having special responsibility for providing instruction in higher education, for advancing knowledge through scholarship and research, and for providing related services to the community. As a center of learning, the university also has the obligation to maintain conditions conducive to freedom of inquiry and expression to the maximum degree compatible with the orderly conduct of its functions. For these purposes, the university is governed by the rules, regulations, procedures, policies, and standards of conduct that safeguard its functions and protect the rights and freedoms of all members of the academic community.

An instructor has the authority to exclude a student from any class session in which the student is disorderly or disruptive. If the student persists in the disorderly or disruptive conduct, the instructor should report the matter to the dean of the school or college, or, at the University of Washington Bothell and Tacoma campuses, to the dean or director of the program in which the student is enrolled.



Academic Integrity and Plagiarism: See http://www.uwb.edu/studentservices/academicconduct

for crucial information regarding academic integrity.  The library also has an extremely useful website with resources at http://libguides.uwb.edu/ai.  You are responsible for knowing what constitutes a violation of the University of Washington Student Code, and you will be held responsible for any such violations whether they were intentional or not.  Plagiarism is one of the most common violations of academic integrity, so please pay attention to both the web information and when your instructor explains all of this in class. In short, do your own work, and clearly cite all your sources. If you are unsure, ask for help!


Privacy: The opinion you expressed (in class discussion, in written assignments, on our course discussion board), are yours. None of this information will be shared with anyone, not even your parents.


Special Needs

If you believe that you have a disability and would like academic accommodations, please contact Disability Resources for Students (UW1-175) at 425.352.5307 or at drs@uwb.edu. In most cases, you will need to provide documentation of your disability as part of the review process. I will coordinate with the University to ensure that the appropriate accommodations are made in this class.


Other potentially useful/important information

H1N1 and Other Communicable Diseases Action Steps:

As part of the campus community’s shared responsibility for minimizing the possible spread of H1N1 virus and other diseases this year, it is critical that all students are familiar with the symptoms of H1N1 Flu described on the UW Bothell website at http://www.uwb.edu/flu. Any student or instructor with flu-like symptoms is encouraged to stay at home until at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications. If you are sick and have an extended absence, please speak with me regarding alternative ways to maintain your progress in your courses. If I am sick and need to cancel class, I will post an announcement on Blackboard.


Inclement Weather:

Please check if the campus may be closed due to weather. Information about

suspension of operations will be made public and available through the media. Students can learn of campus operations status from the website or by calling the Campus Information Hotline 425.352.3333. You may also sign up with an alert system that will contact you via email or text message if classes are canceled. For more information on the alert process, please see http://www.uwb.edu/alert. Class activities will be rescheduled as needed.


Student Support Services:

IT Helpdesk: IT@uwb.edu  , 425-352-3456

Library: http://library.uwb.edu/ 425-352-5340

Writing Center: www.uwb.edu/WritingCenter/ 425-352-5253

Quantitative Skills Center: http://www.uwb.edu/qsc     425-352-3170

Student Success Services:  http://www.uwb.edu/cusp/studentsuccess 425-352-3776

Career Services:  http://www.uwb.edu/careers 425-352-3706

Student Counseling Services: http://www.uwb.edu/studentservices/counseling    425-352-3183