CS300 New Activity Types

Learning web development not only introduces 3 new languages to students, it also allows for some exciting new activity types that are not part of the previous TechSmart curricula. These new activities are: Essential Extras Explorations, Tech Spikes, User Stories, and Hackathons.


Essential Extras Exploration

During the HTML and CSS portion of the course, there are many different elements and style properties that we don’t spend time covering in depth. This activity will have students pick from a list of elements and properties, research the chosen items and build a program utilizing them. This activity type will conclude with a presentation where students will showcase their program, and teach the rest of the class what they have learned about the items they have chosen. This activity includes time to research and plan a program, code the program, and present topics.


Tech Spike

One of the things that makes writing JavaScript so versatile is the vast expanse of libraries that can be used in code. This activity will give students the opportunity to explore an animation library called P5.JS. Students will research the library and its documentation on their own. Given what they have learned from their research, students will create a program to showcase the utility and features of the library. The activity includes time to research and plan a project, code a program, and present.


User Stories

As a programmer in real life, the projects you work on will often be centered around a format called User Stories. This format is a blueprint for different features and behaviors that a program should have, but it does not include exact instructions on how to achieve them. Students will initially be taught what the format looks like and how to interpret a user story. Then students will be given a program that is partially completed, and a list of user stories describing features to add to the program. Students will plan one feature at a time, only moving on to the next feature when the previous one is completed. The goal of the activity is not to complete every feature, but to complete as many working features as possible in the time allotted at the individual students' pace. As a result, students will often be working on different features than other peers at the end of each day. The activity includes an intro to the program they will be building features for, multiple days of coding, and a retrospective on the final day. Instead of presentations, the teacher will do a walk through of each completed feature and be able answer questions students may have, followed by a retrospective worksheet for students to fill out. 



A hackathon is an event where programmers, designers, and other tech enthusiasts collaborate intensively over a short period, typically 24-48 hours, to create innovative solutions for software projects. Participants work in teams to brainstorm ideas, develop prototypes, and present their solutions, often competing for prizes. While we can’t execute this exactly in a classroom setting, this activity is designed to simulate the experience of working with different people and ideas under a tight timeline to achieve a goal. Students will be given a program with a desired feature that needs to be implemented. They will have to plan out how they think the feature can be best added to the program, and spend time coding together to achieve it. There are also additional features to strive for if they complete the initial goal. The final day will be presentations in the form of a product pitch, making a case for why their solution is the best. While this activity can be done by a single student, it is highly encouraged to work in groups with each student playing a different team role to best simulate the real life experience. 

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