RePublic's Computer Science curriculum equips students with the technical and creative skills needed to lead the technical revolution of tomorrow. Aligned from day 1 to the AP Computer Science Principles framework and designed around a series of collaborative projects, units have been masterfully crafted to incorporate foundations of the essential knowledge objects of AP Computer Science Principles, while also building experiences that mimic the tech industry.
Each RePublic Computer Science Course is made up of 4 units, lasting 24 instructional days. This correlates to a school that runs computer science 3 times a week. Additional semester capstones composed of extra projects have also been developed for schools that run the curriculum 4-5 times a week. Middle School 1 and High School 1 courses are described below. Subsequent courses are available; please reach out to us for more information.
MIDDLE SCHOOL 1 (MS1)
In Unit 1: Programming & Animation, RePublic’s computer science curriculum opens by teaching the fundamental skills behind many multimedia formats. Using block coding in Scratch, scholars engage with lessons that teach programming basics (loops, user interaction, conditional reasoning); animation & design basics (frames, vectors, pixels); and audio manipulation (recording, editing, and effects). The final project is an autobiographical short that students later present to the class. This unit also introduces two important skills that are used across our curriculum: our problem solving framework and our creative design cycle.
In Unit 2: Game Design, students remain in Scratch and dive into game design. This unit begins by focusing on mathematics as students explore the coordinate plane and x and y coordinates. Scholars continue to incorporate user input and conditional statements. They set and manipulate variables to control different elements of their programs, from timers to points to levels and lives. During the midpoint project, scholars work independently to create their game but rely heavily on teamwork and partnership in the planning process. Scholars provide feedback to one another on their narrative and pseudo code, which mirrors the design process in the real-world as the RePublic curriculum purposefully weaves in the development of soft skills throughout each unit. In the final unit project, students work in teams of 2-3. This final project emphasizes team work, the creation of a clear and cohesive vision, and collaboration throughout the entire creative process.
In Unit 3: Website Design, scholars explore the structure of the Internet. Scholars learn HTML and CSS which empowers them to build out two full websites in this unit. Scholars learn how to integrate basic tags, lists, images and links into a website and manipulate the color, background color and alignment of their content through CSS. Students build a "How to" website in Thimble, where they showcase knowledge that they have learned in a different content area. This allows them to crosscut across content areas, review a key academic topic, and share this information by utilizing their new coding skills. In the second project, students build a website that provides information about a current social issue and advocates for a specific solution.
Algorithmic thinking is a fundamental skill for computer scientists to create meaningful artifacts successfully. In Unit 4: Algorithms and Logic, scholars return to Scratch to build interactive applications that focus on algorithmic thinking, creativity, and programming. Scholars integrate skills covered in previous units and build artifacts that solve problems by applying a specific set of logical steps. The first project, midway through the unit, focuses on scholars building a memory matching game. Students build a number of boxes on the screen, hiding objects behind them. The user has to uncover pairs of boxes to find matching objects. Students design the algorithmic process through which boxes disappear and reappear, and program the method in which the game recognizes a successful match. In the second project, students build a Buzzfeed style quiz.
HIGH SCHOOL 1 (HS1)
It is important to note that there is significant overlap in the following units because they assume the participants have not been involved with our curriculum before starting this track.
The year opens with Unit 1: Programming and Game Design, which teaches the fundamental skills behind many multimedia formats through the creation of a programmed animated autobiographical short. Students engage with lessons that teach programming basics, animation & design basics, and audio manipulation. From there, scholars set and manipulate variables to control different elements of their programs, from timers and points to levels and lives. Scholars build functions, incorporate randomness, and build clones. Students are also introduced to two important skills that are infused into our curriculum: our problem solving framework and our creative design cycle. During this unit, scholars create an animated autobiography project that incorporates programming basics with conditionals, functions, and user interaction. Scholars conclude by building a maze game that incorporates randomness, variables, and sensing.
From taking assessments in computer science class to researching history projects and from watching videos on YouTube to posting on Instagram, scholars interact with browsers and the internet on a daily basis. The Internet allows us to almost instantaneously access an enormous amount of information and communicate with millions of people around the world. While we live in a society that actively engages with browsers on a daily basis, very few people truly know how the Internet works. In Unit 2: Internet Fundamentals and Website Design, students dive into the structure of the Internet. From there, scholars begin building out their own websites using HTML and CSS. Scholars learn how to integrate basic tags, lists, images, and links into a website and manipulate the color, background color, and alignment of their content through CSS. By the end of this unit, scholars will have built out two full websites, including an advocacy website on a topic chosen by the scholar and a collaboratively-designed argumentative website that answers the question “Can innovations in technology effectively close the access gap to education and financial stability around the world?”
In Unit 3: Mobile App Design, students are introduced to code.org's App Lab. Scholars spend the first half of the unit learning how to create and design elements. They then develop code that interacts with these design elements, build and manipulate databases, and connect multiple tables and databases using unique identifiers. Scholars build a social media platform through App Lab. The social media platform can have a range of target audiences, but it must enable users to to post information and see information posted by others based on a network. The final project is be graded on its design, functionality, and plausible impact. This is an important transition in the curriculum because it’s the first major assessment where a scholar’s grade is impacted by the market plausibility of their product, and will include a presentation pitch that is heavily weighted.
Algorithmic thinking is a fundamental skill necessary for computer scientists to successfully create meaningful artifacts. Successful programming requires a developer to build a distinct set of steps that allow for a defined range of possible outcomes. In Unit 4: Databases and Mobile Applications, scholars return to the block language Scratch to build interactive applications that focus on algorithmic thinking, creativity, and programming. Students integrate skills covered in previous units, such as the clock function, variables, and loops, and incorporate skills necessary to building an effective algorithm. Scholars build artifacts that solve problems by applying a specific set of steps.